If you’re interested in music and follow bands like Slaves, Declan McKenna and Peace among many, many more, you’ve most likely heard of Girls Against. In case you haven’t, it’s an organisation run by three teenage girls that has essentially kickstarted the battle against sexual assault at gigs. Girls Against is something I have wanted to write about for a long long time (I’ve actually had variations of this in my drafts for months) but I haven’t been able to express how passionate I am about it and how important it is in quite the right way. It deserves a post though (and more) so I’m persisting and attempting to articulate how vital it is as well as I possibly can.
Gigs are supposed to be a safe, happy place, where you can be yourself and enjoy music you love with people you love without having to worry about anyone tarnishing that happiness. Unfortunately, there are still people that can’t quite comprehend that notion, and there continues to be gig-goers of all genders bravely coming forward and sharing the fact they have been assaulted at gigs. Just the other day, I saw a girl share her experience with a man being overfriendly at Dot 2 Dot festival, whom she reported only to find the security spoke to and took his details yet nevertheless, allowed him back into the venue. The bands themselves are completely disgusted by the fact these things are happening at gigs still, as The Night Café, Sundara Karma’s and Black Honey’s tweets from this weekend showcase. This just solidifies that it’s important for venues too to be made aware of this happening and do something about it- taking their details is all well and good but if they are let back into the venues, what is stopping them from doing it to someone else? An integral part of the fight to end this is ensuring that the people doing this are not allowed to easily do it again- if they are reported to security, they should be immediately removed to prevent any further damage and harassment. If security at gigs are more than happy to threaten you for being on someone’s shoulders or throwing a drink, surely they should be more than willing to throw out someone that is making people in the venue feel understandably anxious and uncomfortable?
Girls Against, despite only having been running for around a year and a half, have contributed significantly to changing this for the better. By raising awareness for the issue, it ensures more venues policies are adapted to deal with this should it happen. They’re also doing an amazing job at making more bands aware of the issue- they’ve gained support from tons and tons of bands that are being super vocal about condemning sexual assault at gigs. Because of the crowded nature of gigs, a lot of people accept it as part of what you expect from going in a pit or just being at a gig in general, which of course is totally wrong. Bands like Circa Waves, Jaws and Dream Wife, as well as the various others that support Hann, Anna and Bea’s campaign, using their platform to address this issue highlights to their audience that it is NOT okay and definitely helps to destruct the idea that it is. So many people respect and look up to these bands and if they support Girls Against, their fans most likely will discover it and get involved with the fight to end sexual assault at gigs too.
Girls Against also act as a support system for those who have unfortunately experienced this at gigs, so if you have, I encourage you to get in touch with them especially if you don’t want to broadcast it to all your Twitter followers and would rather privately reach out. If you have, please remember you’re not alone, there are many others that will have experienced similar (something that really angers me to have to say as there shouldn’t be many others) and can help you.
To end, I’d just like to comment on how wonderful it is what three teenage girls have shown they are capable of through this campaign. Hann, Anna and Bea are seriously inspiring, and I can only hope that this will eventually no longer be a problem. Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable in such a usually happy environment and nobody’s experiences of music should be tainted by some ignorant idiots that think sexual assault is acceptable. Newsflash- it isn’t and never will be. It’s so so extremely important that this ends, and the presence of Girls Against has undoubtedly helped to make major progress in doing so. However, it is still occurring, so I will continue to wholeheartedly support Girls Against and similar organisations until it stops; I urge you to also. Why are Girls Against so important? They are playing a lead role in fighting sexual assault at gigs and promoting intersectional feminism simultaneously- if you want to help end this, please show them all the support you can.
If you want some more inspiration from bad-ass women in the music industry, I have a playlist that I’m currently adding to on my Spotify that will definitely fulfil that. Please give me any suggestions to other amazing female fronted bands that can be added also! You can find the playlist here:
You can follow Girls Against on Twitter @girlsagainst; their DM’s are open if you need help/advice, and they are also on tumblr: girlsagainst.tumblr.com from there you can find all their other contact details!