Sexual assault at music events has, unfortunately, become all too real. Women and men are violated by people who think if you dress a certain way, or participate in a certain lifestyle, it’s okay to take advantage of someone. Let me shut down this mindset right now. The outfits people wear to events are meant to express the person wearing them, they are not invitations to be taken advantage of. When someone says no, it means no. Clothes do not equate consent, “yes” equates consent.
Raving is about self-expression. It’s about being your true authentic self, and being a part of a community that accepts your that. This, however, is threatened every day by those who fail to understand the importance of this community of which we are a part of. Some of us need this outlet because we don’t fit in anywhere else, and to jeopardize inclusion for one person’s pleasure is not okay. We need to come together now to end sexual assault at these events, or we’ll run the risk of losing this wonderful family that we have created together.
If you’re asking yourself what you can do to prevent this, the obvious answer is to always ask for consent. It sounds juvenile, but in actuality there is nothing more mature than asking permission. If the person is incapacitated to the point where they are in no position to give consent, then walk away (or better yet, find them help if they need it). Beyond consent, if you personally see a situation that does not appear ordinary, step in and make sure everything is okay, or get someone involved who can make sure that everything is copacetic. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. If you do all of this, are not successful, and someone is still assaulted, there’s still so much you could do for that person. The best solution: Giving them your undivided support.
As a sexual assault survivor, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of support in the aftermath of violence. This vile act of submission is so degrading that it changes a person’s life forever. Every victim needs people who will not judge them when they talk about what went down, and who will support them wholeheartedly throughout their healing process. It took me a long time to understand how important it was to accept the support of others. As victims, we don’t always see things positively. I thought that I could handle everything on my own, and ended up bottling up all those emotions deep down. Not only was that incredibly unhealthy, but it was also unproductive. In the end, all I truly wanted was someone to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. The best advice I can give to people, both victims and supporters of victims, is accept that you may need help, and to offer it up willingly in return. You’ll both be thankful in the long run.
Music and music events really helped me heal. I threw all of my emotions into raving, the support I received from my rave family changed how I viewed myself, and ultimately it all helped me recover in a healthy and productive way. I felt as though what happened to me simply melted away into a sea of lasers and bass. It deeply saddens me to know that the very place I find solace is being tarnished by a thick black cloud of poor decisions and sexual violence. We need to be celebrating all the joyous moments in life together, not tearing each other down.
I know how tough this conversation can be, but all the necessary ones are. The sooner we come together to stop this, the sooner we can all get back to the music because, let’s admit it, that’s why we’re all here in the first place. Remember folks, consent is incredibly sexy!