I play drums in a metal band (I’m the only woman in the band) and on almost every concert men told me “you’re pretty good for a women” … thank you? I never stood up against it because we’re a small band that needs every fan. Now I know that I don’t have to stay quiet about this.
About two years ago, I went to a concert with a few friends of mine. One of them brought a male friend along, whom I’d never seen before. Since we were pretty early, all of us talked for about 2 hours before the concert. The guy seemed pretty nice. But during the concert something changed. I was at the left of the group, surrounded by inly strangers and this guy I had only just met. Not long after the start of the main act he started touching my butt. It was so subtle at first that I thought for some time that I was imagining it, but as time passed he touched more firmly. At first I thought I had to like it, since I’d never been in a relationship before and I’m very bad at flirting. But the longer it lasted, the more I started feeling sick, but unable to do anything, because I felt like it was too late and I was trapped. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I didn’t realise it was sexual assault. But a few weeks after the concert, I heard something that made me feel horrible about not speaking up: a friend of mine got in a relationship with him. After all this time they are still together, and I know I can’t say anything for the sake of my friend. I’ve seen him a few times amd every single time he acts like nothing happened. It makes me so, so mad, bur there is nothing I dare to do about it.
Many years ago I was at a concert with a friend and we were right up at the front, squished against the barriers. The guy behind me thought that since we are all pressed tightly together, what a wonderful opportunity to reach into the front of my pants (sorry I don’t know you? and even if I did?) and touch me. I had my period and was using a tampon and that’s about the only time I was happy to have one in. Like I almost had to laugh because I was thinking fuck you dude I hope you hate period blood, but also don’t touch somewhat intoxicated (or sober, or even flat out wasted for that matter) women who don’t ask for it.
Last night I was at a concert, when I felt a hand on my butt, practically in my buttcrack. I looked back to see who it was, I moved one step forward to see if it was accidental. It could have been to begin with, but he kept touching my butt. Overall the ‘interaction’ only lasted 6 seconds or so, and a guy behind me told him off and ordered him to stand where he couldn’t touch me. I was with my twin sister, but I told her nothing. Later, the guy found out that we were twins, and he started talking to us. My sister spoke to him while I ignored him. He told my sister to apologize on his behalf for me. When my sister asked what for, he said ‘she knows’, and added that I am ‘such a sweet girl’. As if an apology would be enough to undo the unsafe feeling I had for the remainder of the concert of one of my favourite singers. As if me having a good character and not standing up for myself deemed me ”good enough” as a woman (NOT girl), to not be assaulted.
Ok so here is an incident I don’t think I would have thought twice about like a year or two ago but now it’s stuck with me so I thought I’d mention it: A few days ago in london, my friend and I went to the Galantis EDM concert, and well EDM is usually not my scene but she really wanted to go so I went with her. Now for those of you who like EDM you know that it usually has very few words in its music, and those who know Galantis also know that their music videos are not explicit. So anyway at the concert my friend was dancing to the music, while I was just standing mainly and swaying, and now when I mean dancing I mean she was mainly jumping to the music. So this guy comes behind her and grabs her hips and starts grinding against her, and now I know this girl quite well so I do know that she doesn’t like it when people grind against her, and also she is usually not a big fan of guys in general and well bats for her home team, but instead of pushing the guy away like she usually does she just ignores him and subtly tried to get out of his grasp. So I noticed that and I sort of pulled her away so that she could get free and glared at the guy who went on to trying to find some other hapless girl to push himself against. After the concert I asked my friend why she didn’t push him away and her response to this was that ‘it happens at every EDM concert and it’s a rite of passage of sorts, so why get offended’ I think her reaction to this situation just drove me a little crazy cause we should get offended. As humans we should not accept this as a thing our gender has to bear. It’s our bodies and people should not have a right to touch it without permission. We are not toys to sexualize and play with. Instead we are human beings who only truly belong to ourselves. It’s incredibly messed up that she did not get upset cause it’s so accepted that in society if you go to a concert you get grinded upon cause music should be a safe space where everyone shares the sound, not a place where our bodies are used as objects to be defiled.
I was groped at the first concert I went to when I was 16. I was with my best friend, and we were at a small venue in London seeing Three Days Grace (an old rock band that i like) and I kept feeling something against my bum. Until I realised it was someone’s hand and someone was grabbing me. It was actually really painful, and whenever I turned around I couldn’t pick out who it was because there was a huge group of 18 or 19 year old men. The worst thing about the whole thing is that I felt like it was a compliment and I was half grateful for the attention. I got home and I Googled what had happened to me and I realised it was assault. I told my best friend and she said “its ok, it happens to everyone”.
When I was ten I decided that I wanted to learn to play the French horn. I had already been playing the flute for some time and was very advanced for my age so I figured that learning what is regarded to be one of the most difficult (and beautiful) orchestral instruments would be a fun challenge. The music staff were delighted. I attended an all girls school and out of two hundred musicians there was only one other brass player. The reaction I got from the other staff was one of incredulity. “Isn’t that a bit masculine?” or “You haven’t got the puff.” Physically the horn is challenging. It requires upper body strength; well controlled and powerful breathing; and dextrous lips to control the pitch. The latter feature often has men remarking that I must be “a great kisser” despite the fact that I would probably mash their lips to a bloody pulp with all the strength I have build up there. A few years down the line and I am an advanced musician who attends many orchestras of high standards all over the country. Yet I still get asked if I am “in the right place” when I sit in the horn section with my instrument out ready to play. Apparently I’m “not curvy enough” to play the horn. When it comes to parts being allocated I find myself being overlooked in favour of less advanced (and larger) boys. I rarely comment since I just get called “insolent” for trying to get my hard work recognised. On a related note, I sing in several choirs. I have a very low voice, so low that describing me as a low Tenor rather than a Contralto would be more accurate. I can sing high notes but they lack the strength which would be found in a Contralto and can be a bit screechy. Very few choirs allow me to audition as a Tenor because they do not consider it possible or natural for a girl to be able to sing over an octave below middle C. They also say that I would look out of place with the boys in the (compulsory) female uniform of a white dress as opposed to white tops and black bottoms. I would be far more comfortable in the latter.
About a year ago I went to see my favourite band in concert. I had a great time, I was dancing and singing along to all of my favourite songs! I always dance with small movements, as I don’t really like drawing attention to me or my chest. For the final song the band asked everyone in the audience to put their hands in the air and go crazy. So I did, I danced wildly with my arms up in the air. Suddenly, I feel a hand cupping my breast. It was a very crowded concert and I couldn’t see who did it. He ruined the concert for me, I had loved every minute of it until that jerk decided he was entitled to touch my boob, without me wanting him to. When I told 2 of my male friends about the incident I used the words: “I just don’t know why they would do this to me.” Meaning it like why would anyone do this to someone else without consent. One of them replied “Oh I see why they would do that to YOU.” Obviously insinuating that he thinks that my breasts looked good. The other one just nodded. This really pissed me off and also made me feel like my opinion didn’t matter. It was belittling and I was shocked that my friends would think that way.