CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.
As fun and life-affirming experiences as live gigs can be, they also tend to harbour a darker side to them.
The sad truth of the matter, one that not enough people realise, is that far too many women experience groping, unwanted touching, and outright sexual assault in the crowds at these shows, almost universally perpetrated by men who feel entitled to women’s bodies.
In recent months, the members of the Australian music industry have begun fighting back against this insidious element of live music culture; either by taking strong stands against the idiot few who commit these horrendously brazen acts of personal violation, or by straight-up calling them out as they occur.
Notably, bands like Camp Cope, High Tension, and Luca Brasi have all made their voices and feelings on the matter abundantly clear in a series of widely-publicised and rightfully praised assertions.
Now Camp Cope, the all-female phenom from Melbourne, have banded together a swathe of bands and industry figures from both home and abroad to shine a massive light on the issue and push for a change in attitude to assure that live gigs are a safe, fun, and welcoming environment for everyone.
The three-piece indie-punk outfit has today launched the #ItTakesOne campaign, calling on musicians, venues, staff, and punters alike to take a stand against groping and sexual assault at gigs, highlighting the fact that it only takes one person to ruin things for everyone, but it also only takes one person to set the wheels of change in motion, as the band explained in a statement issued along with the campaign:
“Sexual and physical assault is becoming an increasing problem in our live music scene. Inspired by ongoing conversations with other bands about this problem, about how live music was created as a safe space for music fans and artists alike – how as an artist you feel personally responsible if someone is assaulted at your show – they were feeling very defeated by it and decided to come together to channel this energy in a positive way.”
“Every single person at a show is important, and every single person at a show can make a significant difference. It takes ONE person to fuck a show up for everyone, and likewise it takes ONE person to call out this behaviour and initiate change. It up to everyone – the artist, the audience, the venue – to look out for each other and stand up when they see or hear of someone trying to fuck the show up for everyone.”
Enlisting pals and industry legends the likes of which include Dom Alessio of Triple J, Jay and The Doctor from Frenzal Rhomb, King Parrot, Luca Brasi, Totally Unicorn, The Bennies, Clowns, Jeff Rosenstock, the internet’s own angel boy Chris Farren, Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, The Jezebels, Clowns, Hugh McDonald of the legendary Redgum and more, the trio, in conjunction with their record label Poison City Records, has put out a video that serves as a call-to-arms for the movement.
Camp Cope explains further:
“Every single person at a show is important and can make a significant difference. It’s up to the artists, the audience, the venue, everybody.. to make a show safe.”
“We purposefully wanted a strong male presence in the video. Including all-male bands who tend to have a predominately male audience. This was done because we believe that women are usually the victims in these incidents so it shouldn’t solely be the responsibility of women to fix the problem. We feel it’s important for men to speak to, and speak out against other men’s behaviour and be positive role models to other men.”
Now that’s a bloody idea we can all fully get behind. Speak up, be bold, and help weed this absolute bullshit out of live music. It only takes one.
Bless your sweet hearts, Camp Cope.
Source: Camp Cope/Facebook.