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‘Sexual harassment is also a festival not okay’

‘Sexual harassment is also a festival not okay’

The festival summer is just around the corner. That is to say: good music, fresh pints, revelry, dancing people, sweltering tents, popping performances and … nasty comments about your sexy skirt, or a stray hand on your ass.

One in six girls are harassed on a festival. This is evident from a study of Plan International Belgium, at 604 festivaljongeren between 16 and 24 years old. Usually it is about intrusive …

One in six girls are harassed on a festival. This is evident from a study of Plan International Belgium, at 604 festivaljongeren between 16 and 24 years old. Usually it’s about pushy flirting, or unwanted touching. But more than half said that physical violence, drugged, or take advantage of someone’s drunkenness also occurs at festivals.

‘Sexual harassment is also a festival not okay’

Liesbet Stevens, deputy director of the Institute for Equality of Women and Men, will find that the festivals need to take action. ‘The problem should be visible. Not everyone realizes that unpleasant experiences by the bracket and allow it to happen. Festivals would be an emergency need to call if you are being harassed. Without too much in terms of “sexual harassment” to speak, because that scares them, ” says Stevens. Also trained counselors be able to sexual behaviour change.’

But prevention is better than cure. Preventive measures such as more lighting in some places, less alcohol abuse and more security personnel, according to Stevens to have a positive impact.

Witnesses often remain aloof

The research shows that few people know how they should react when they are faced with sexual harassment. Forty percent of the witnesses is not responding as they are a form of sexual violence. “Some are afraid to respond, but the majority of the witnesses indicates that they do not know what to do,” says Wouter Stes, policy officer of Plan International Belgium. ‘It is often unclear what is going on. The distinction between play and harassment is difficult for an outsider’, adds Stevens. ‘It would help if people just ask if everything is okay. It seems to be something typically Belgian to getting involved, ” says Stevens.

Julia Day, a policy officer sexual misconduct at Sensoa, is scared not of the research. “The results are in line with earlier research. About twenty percent of the Belgian girls has been sexually challenging behaviour experienced, ” says Day. Sensoa tries to counter, also on festivals. They lead the festival volunteers to better respond to sexual harassment. “It is important to know that you are somewhere and that you are heard,” says Day.

“With you, you can not laugh’

The festival Esperanzah has the least complaints or witnesses of sexual misconduct. On July 2 launch, they plan SACHA (Safe Attitude Contre les Harcèlements et les Agressions) that sexual harassment at festivals want to fight.

The plan has four pillars: an emergency, a prevention kit, posters, and trained volunteers. Everyone gets an extra wristband with an emergency number that one can call when one is intimidated and feels. If that is the case, one can go to a safe zone where volunteers for childcare vouch.

Also a prevention kit is distributed with a bingo. It statements that a perpetrator would be able to do, such as “With you, you can’t laugh” or ” it’s okay, we are on a festival’. A number of encouraging statements have girls help to defend itself. Some examples are: Sexist jokes are also sexist ” or ” women are approached because they are a woman, regardless of their clothing’.

Swedish festival Bråvalla does not go through

Rock Werchter says of the emergency services have no reports of sexual harassment. The study shows, however, that the half of the festival-goers already witnessed or heard of sexual behaviour. Possible witnesses are the victims not’, says the spokesman of Rock Werchter, Nele Bigaré. Nevertheless, the festival measures. “During the festival, our crew, security and emergency services (police and Red Cross) is still there and accessible. Also our infoteam is available 24 hours on 24 reachable via Whatsapp, ” says Bigaré.

The awareness about sexual harassment at festivals is a global problem. This year will be the biggest Swedish festival Bråvalla not continue after the last year, four rapes, and 26 assaults were reported. Also Coming put since this Swedish scandal louder on camera surveillance and increased awareness among police and security services.

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