This is the week before we head out to Warped Tour, our largest outreach event in AVFTI history. Each stop at Warped Tour has the potential to reach 20,000 concertgoers at every single stop. Some of those may be victims of sex crimes. Some of those may be potential volunteers. Some may just want some more information on AVFTI and the work we do. We are so excited and grateful for the opportunity we have been given. But we also need to take a look at the reason why we are going and the problem we are addressing.
Music festivals everywhere are having a growing problem of sexual assault. RAINN reports that actual sexual assault numbers are probably inaccurate because sexual assault is the most under reported crime.
Why is that? Why are victims of sexual assault at concerts afraid to step up and say they have been the victim of a crime?
Ryan Pfeffer of the New Times writes about Ultra Music Festival’s lack of empathy towards victims and a lack of drive to protect them. There are plenty of guidelines posted surrounding alcohol poisoning or overheating, but signs that point out how to “stay safe” transfer the blame from the rapist to the victim. And takes any and all liability away from the festival entirely.
Another perspective comes from Kate Loyd of Broadly, who writes the culture surrounding music festivals. Attendees value escapism and the feeling of freedom, they want the real world to melt away.
Unfortunately, the real issue of sexual assault at music festivals is not going away any time soon. In fact, if we keep supporting a culture that turns a blind eye to these victims and their true stories, we are doing way more harm than good.
Thankfully, Warped is trying to push against this culture. But we have to push with them. Every dollar you donate, shirt you buy, and Hopenote you write creates a culture that doesn’t tolerate, excuse, or promote sexual assault.
There are bad people at festivals, but there are plenty of people who have been hurt. Let’s focus on them and get ready to fight this problem as best as we can.
Let’s save our scene.