Girls Against: the group taking on sexual assault at gigs
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In 2017, sexism shouldn’t be thing - but in the era of pussy-grabbing presidents, cry-baby Meninists and institutionalised-apologists for sexual assault, it most certainly is. This is definitely apparent in the live music arena, where a shameful amount of women have spoken of sexual harassment and violence levelled at them. In the riot grrrl tradition Girls Against, a group of teenage feminists, decided enough is enough and started to work for change. Following a whirlwind year we spoke to founder Hann about the problem with sexual assault at gigs and what Girls Against hopes to achieve. Since founding in late 2015, Girls Against have taken their campaign fighting sexual harassment and assault at live music events to high places, offering support to victims and making strides in helping venues handle these issues better. It’s something that needs to be addressed, as Hann explains, “We get varying stories from people every day. It's mainly less violent ones where the other person won't leave them alone, makes lewd remarks and keeps touching them. "Sometimes though we get really violent ones - both are equally as important and both deserve to be defamed just as much as the other; some kinds of experiences are just more common.” Hann herself knows all how ‘common’ it can be. The genesis of Girls Against came from her own experience of assault at a Peace gig. “There was no direct person who made us want to start Girls Against. It was more the response online after my story about being assaulted was shared. It got hundreds of retweets and a response from the band themselves, who I had seen that night. We were just taken aback and thought 'wow, this is a much bigger issue than we thought'. We just wanted to help other people and see what we could do that might change something. “To be honest, it wasn't really a conscious decision - it was more when I started with this and I was asked about it and I just went 'oh, I guess I have to talk about this now'. It's never really been a huge problem for me though; I am lucky enough that talking about it actually made me come to terms with it in my head.” This simple act of starting to talk about it openly has started a large discussion. “It's almost exactly a year since we started and we're over 14,000 followers strong. This started out as just an idea on a rainy Tuesday night - it's insane to think about the amount of influence we could and do have.”
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