The people making gigs a safer place for women
Following reports of harassment at gigs, activists are inviting fans and venues to help make a change
Safe Gigs For Women – who have worked closely with Architects, Frank Carter and Enter Shikari – campaign for safer spaces at UK gigs and advise gig-goers how to stay safe and look out for others. Meanwhile, Girls Against – a group of women with close links to SGFW – was set up to tackle sexual assault and raise awareness of how prolific it is within musical environments, confronting the issue with music communities, including male gig-goers and musicians.
“Our main aim overall is to ultimately end sexual harassment at shows,” says GA member Sophia Simon-Bashall. “Unfortunately we don’t expect to achieve it any time soon. So it’s about bringing awareness that it happens and talking to people about how they can prevent it or call people out on that – particularly bands.”
There are, she says, many ways all genders can make spaces safer for everyone. “For men who want to help, that’s great, because in these spaces they’re much, much less likely to have something bad happen to them. As a woman in these places it’s not always easy to speak up. So if you see something, and you’re a guy who’s not in that difficult position, shout to the band to help, or get security involved, or just make sure that the person is OK. Get rid of the perpetrator. It’s not an awful lot, it’s not difficult. You’re in a really lucky position in those spaces, so use what you have.
“Hold bands accountable outside of the live spaces,” adds Sophia. “When they tweet something, or post something, or they write a lyric which is a bit dodgy, you have a right and a responsibility to say, ‘Hey, that’s not OK.’ Because the more that we ask them to be responsible for their actions, the better these spaces become.”