If you like going to live gigs, you must be used to being crushed against a barrier if you are at the front, having someone crowd surf over you, or at least practically being stood on top of the people you are next to, as you are all packed in like the proverbial sardine. But have you ever been touched inappropriately at a gig?
A group of five teenage intersectional feminists mobilised a movement to raise awareness and ultimately end any form of sexual harassment in the live music community. Then Girls Against was born, a safe space for victims of this kind of assault.
The strategy was simple, talk to the bands and artists themselves and spread awareness through their platform and status, getting them to advocate for their cause. However, no one knew quite how well it would be received. Bands such as Peace, Slaves, and Wolf Alice showed support straight away, after it came out that there had been several instances of assault at their gigs being reported. Many months have passed since the campaign began, so where are the girls now?
Merchandise and more support
The Girls Against campaign now has its own merchandise, mainly in the form of badges that are shipped to the UK and EU countries. They go out of stock in under half an hour due to the demand, particularly on Twitter, where they now have 13.6K followers. They constantly receive tweets about when more will be in stock, and many people who buy the badges are always tweeting pictures to show their support.
WE SOLD OUT, IN UNDER 15 MINS! Sorry to anyone who missed out, there will be another batch up soon ?
— Girls Against (@girlsagainst) 1 April 2016
It isn’t only support from the public that has grown, but even more bands have been involved with the campaign, with the likes of The 1975, Rat Boy, Drenge and Hinds posting their support on social media platforms. Most bands pose with badges themselves to spread the word. The girls have also been interviewed on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live, and have done many interviews with the likes of NME.
Raised money and made change
Back in November, it was reported that a man was escorted out of a crowd at The 1975’s gig in Swindon for attempted groping, showing that changes and attitudes towards harassment were finally being made. The girls also raised over £500 from donations to the campaign in January, which has enabled them to bring out more promotional materials including posters to put up at gigs to raise awareness. From February until the middle of March, the group ran applications for people to become Girls Against representatives, involving people from all over the UK in trying to make gigs a safer place. The successful applicants were then announced in April. The girls have hopes of reaching a global audience so the campaign can be spread across huge platforms.
The girls are teenagers aged between 16 and 17, which means they still have to juggle revision for their exams and have to meet their deadlines as well as campaigning and being interviewed. It’s safe to say Girls Against have had their hands full since people started noticing how big an issue sexual harassment and groping at gigs really is.
Are you a supporter of the Girls Against campaign? Let us know in the comments below!