UK Artists Back Call To End Sexual Harassment

The Safe Spaces Now project responds to research that reveals that 40% of women under the age of 40 have become victims of sexual harassment at music events.

Credit: Dazed

The music industry will soon be able to rejoice, once festivals and live events reopen to the public. We’ve all been waiting for that moment. In such a divided world, music has the unique ability to unify, regardless of the harsher realities we collectively face.

There is one fact that the entertainment industry has long ignored, however. This is that music venues, festivals, studios, and workplaces have become increasingly unsafe settings for women, girls, and marginalised genders. Going forward, it’s important for the industry to take action so that public places can be free of harassment and violence.

According to new data, just 3% of 18 to 24-year-old women have not been harassed in a public space. Claire Barnett, the executive director of UN Women UK, says,

“We had a lot of messages from people in that age group saying they were surprised it was as high as 3%. With young people it feels like a constant experience.”

Credit: The Guardian

A Widespread Issue

Safe Places Now, a music industry campaign, asks corporations, events, and venues to commit to safety. This is by way of safeguards and calling out abusive behaviour within these spaces.

Credit: The Guardian

In the United Kingdom alone, more than 7 in 10 women have experienced sexual harassment. Over 40% of women under the age of 40 have been subject to it during a live music event. Over 60% of workers in the music industry have been the victim of sexual harassment. The great majority of cases go unreported, with more than 95% of women failing to report these types of crimes. Almost half of UK musicians have experienced sexual harassment at work; with workplace culture regarded as the most significant impediment to reporting. As venues start to reopen this summer, it’s important to ensure that women are not being sexually harassed. Whether as an artist, a professional, or a spectator.

Widespread Reform

Mabel, MNEK, Rudimental, and Beverley Knight are amongst UK musicians who have signed an open letter advocating for widespread reform. Glastonbury Festival, The Eden Project, and event firm DICE have also signed on for the initiative. The Strawberries & Creem event in Cambridge, which takes place next month, is to be the first to sign the commitment, which pledges to a new safety-focused policy.

Barnett explains,

“As live events return following the Covid pandemic, women and marginalised people everywhere are not only thinking about staying safe from the virus. They want to be able to enjoy their right to music, arts and culture without constant fears of violence and harassment.

“We have a unique opportunity as we return from lockdown to reconsider the way we construct and use our public spaces to be safer for the long term.

“UN Women UK is pleased to partner with Strawberries & Creem on this first ‘Safe Spaces Now’ live event… We hope many more representatives from the music industry will follow suit and commit to helping us build a more equitable future.”

Source: The Guardian

Sign the open letter, which demands that the return to live music post-pandemic is safe and inclusive for everyone, here.

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