How Men Can Stop Harassment at Festivals
And Why It’s Our Responsibility to Change the Culture of Live Events
“It’s scary, and you can’t trust the random people around you to help you. And with those bigger men, it’s just harder and it’s scarier to say something to them because they might get angry and violent. Like if you’re not nice, they might hurt you.”
— Reagan, Coachella attendee, 16 years old
Vera Papisova was groped 22 times during the 10 hours she was at Coachella interviewing women for Teen Vogue. Her topic? Sexual harassment at music festivals. Of the 54 women she surveyed, all 54 for said they experienced some form of violation at the festival.
Some, like Papisova, reported many instances in a single day. The women shared stories of groping, lewd comments and apathetic male bystanders. They also shared their strategies for avoiding these behaviors, such as staying in groups, wearing backpacks and avoiding dense crowds.The fact that women must defend themselves while expecting no support from the men around them was one of the most tragic aspects of this damning account. Above all, the article depicted the iconic music festival as an event where women came to see their favorite music and have fun with their friends, but left feeling like prey in a holding tank.
My fellow men, what the fuck are we doing in our public spaces?
Women come to festivals to celebrate and end up swimming in a sea of predators. It’s past time for men to take collective action on this issue. That means demanding action from organizers, engaging with other men about their behavior, and yes, it also means taking a deep look at ourselves.