Chances are you’ve seen your friends, coworkers, family, and acquaintances post a message similar to this. Some went into detail, explaining that this was a movement for the women in our lives to come forward and admit to their abuse. Some detailed graphic stories of sexual assault, others spoke of brazen gropes in bars or public places, but one thing unites them all.
They fucking suck.
Now, I’m not sure what compels a person to be so entitled to think someone owes them. It’s absolutely unthinkable, but unfortunately it is the case today, with admissions of sexual assault at an all time high, while courts continue to deny survivors and throw out cases. It’s time to stop.
In the EDM and festival worlds, we get a different, yet just as terrifying view of it. On the outside we are a society that encourages respect and love above all. Unfortunately, especially at large events and with the involvement of substances, a staggering amount of sexual assaults are coming to light within our scene, and it’s been happening for way longer than you think.
So, what can we do? What can we as a society do to drive the point home that is no longer acceptable and not tolerable? We have artists like Gaslamp Killer under fire for the allegations that he assaulted two women in 2013, and even with his vehement denial of the events, the waters are still choppy for him, as they should be. This is not something people lie about, sexual assault is not a fun thing to talk about, and I’ll be honest, in my own opinion, it’s time to start believing survivors until proven otherwise.
Festival culture surrounds positivity, happiness, freedom, and love. Nowhere in those corner stones falls taking advantage of someone in any form, and we as a culture need to find ways to make this a non-issue. There are a few ways we can do this:
1. Holding our people accountable.
The differences between our lives and celebrities seem endless, and watching these gross accusations come forward, we all seem to think that this could never happen to us at home? Well, chances are, 1 in 5 women you know have had experiences with assault, and half of them by someone they considered a friend. Which means, there’s a pretty solid guarantee you have an abuser or two in your friends list, and chances are you’re already aware of this. It’s natural not to want to believe someone that we care about and trust could be capable of this, but believe you me, it’s possible and it’s happening.
The most important thing is to not keep blinders on. If you find out irrefutable evidence that one of your friends abused someone, there shouldn’t be a second thought in your mind. Hold them accountable for their actions. Do whatever you see fit, but as we remain complacent in this, we create more issues. It doesn’t matter if they’re a huge DJ, promoter, or one of your rave fam, if you find out this is happening it’s important to stop it in it’s tracks, no matter what.
2. Creating (and enforcing!) safe spaces at events and festivals
I get it. The idea seems exclusionary and reductive and exactly the thing we’re fighting against, right? Wrong. Whether you choose to admit it or not, there’s a power balance at work here. Especially at festivals, while people are under the influence, sometimes you just want to go somewhere to not be stared at.
Women- and femme-only safe spaces do not divide further, instead they protect those who feel the need to separate, whether it’s due to trauma, nerves, or just the need to not be around dudes for a while. Respect that, and realize that these spaces are totally necessary, and will go a long way in preventing these types of things from happening.
When your friend, loved one, or even a stranger comes to you with an admission that something happened to them, no matter what degree it is, if your first inclination is to question their story, you need to check yourself. These are not the types of things that people haphazardly throw around, and when someone comes to you with something like this, if they see a glint of apprehension they’re likely going to not trust you again, and that’s something no one wants.
Comfort them, let them know you’re here, bring them somewhere if they want to tell their story, or stay with them. Whatever they need. If you’re at an event, try and convince them to contact security or the promoter, if they feel comfortable. Just make sure their needs are met.
4. Hands to yourself!
Yes! Those rave outfits are gorgeous. Yes! Those human beings wearing them, also gorgeous. Yes! You might have the inclination to touch said-person based on their outfit. DON’T. No matter how short, tiny, skin showing, or tight fitting it may be, I can assure you that the person wearing it is not wearing it for you.
Stop infringing on a person’s right to express themselves based on physical desires because the end game is never you getting laid, it’s always someone feeling hurt and vulnerable. Whether they’re a go go dancer, a raver, or literally anyone else, just let them be. If they’re interested, they’ll show ya.
5. Plain old looking out for each other.
Rave fam, activate! Leave no one behind (unless they wanna rock solo!). Especially if your pal is a bit knackered, just make sure to keep everyone together. Let’s keep everyone safe and make sure everyone’s happy and healthy!
Any tips for enforcing consent in the EDM scene, and beyond? Let us know in the comments!