Sexual Harassment in the Music Industry
By Vinnie Holt
I imagine that a bit of fame comes with a bit of vanity.
Being in a scene where young people listen to your music and follow your actions can be a bit of an air pump to your head.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you abuse it.
If you are a conventionally attractive, white, mid-20s man in a band whose music has been on circuit through the alternative music radios, you’re going to have fans. Most of these fans are going to be young girls, it’s just a fact. (I encourage young people to find passions and become invested in music and media, there’s nothing wrong with it.) Just because these kids are willing to support you in every way possible, such as traveling long ways to come to your shows, doesn’t mean that they owe you anything, or that you can take advantage of them.
I recently acquired tickets to see a show of a band I’ve never really loved, but knew a good couple of their songs. I had all plans to go, until I checked twitter during the beginning of that day. Upon typing the bands name into the twitter search bar, I found many tweets by people who were followed by people that I follow, talking about how the band members were terrible people, and sexual abusers. This immediately disgusted me, and all of the desire to go to their show was gone. The amount of content that there was that described and mentioned the assault by the band and the lack of mention by the band itself was absolutely appalling. We live in a world full of downright misogyny, that in most cases, is often infringed upon girls at young, young ages.
Young girls are looked down upon for having passions for music, and in some cases even by the people who make the music. Women are looked down upon for speaking out about abuse and assault, and the assumption that someone is or was “asking for it” is used generously, when it never should used be at all.
Wearing “revealing” clothes isn't asking for it. Supporting someone’s music, going to a concert isn’t asking for it. Screaming somebody’s name from the crowd is not asking for it. Unwanted sexual advances and any kind of touching without established consent is abuse and assault. No matter who you are, and no matter how much you think someone else likes you or your art.
People go to concerts to have fun; to listen to the music they love live; to be in a room surrounded by people who feel the same things they do when the first notes of their favorite songs strike up; to stand in awe at the cute lead singer whose voice sings you to sleep every night and whose instagram you have notifications turned on for is actually real, and right there in front of you! Not to be taken advantage of and touched without asking. There is no excuse, and no room for respect for people who take advantage of fans, no matter how good their music may be.
It's important that we give support to victims of sexual harassment and abuse. Encourage people to talk about their experiences. One organization that specializes in helping victims is RAINN. Visit the site to read more about the issue, find someone to talk to, or donate.