Almost every girl has experienced some degree of sexual harassment at a gig. In recent years, more and more young females, amongst others, have stepped forwards and shared their common experiences. Since 2015, Girls Against (a group of six girls from across the country) have led a campaign to spread awareness against this negative conduct at live concerts. Alongside increasing international support, backing from familiar names such as Wolf Alice and Slaves, and over 18 thousand followers on twitter, the girls are not fighting this alone. We talked to Hannah Camilleri, founding member of the campaign, to find out more.
What initially encouraged you to start the campaign?
The campaign originally began as a result of one of our founders (me) being sexually assaulted at a Peace concert way back in 2015. I received a huge amount of support on twitter when I made public what had happened. The girls and I had a group chat all together and had met online and we encouraged each other to do something about it, we started a twitter account and it’s all gone from there really!
What kind of response did you get in the beginning? How has that response grown?
Initially it was really positive, we’ve obviously faced some criticism in the past, some fair and some not. Generally, however, the response we see now is really positive and inquisitive about how people can help out which is super encouraging.
What’s the relationship like between you and your reps? How do you work together to get the support of venues and make gigs safer?
We love our reps so much! They have helped develop the campaign considerably and are always contributing new ideas independently looking for ways to make the campaign known in their local areas. Any opportunity or email that comes our way gets discussed in our group chat, although there are three founders we do work together and use each other as sounding boards for new ideas.
Give us your gig do’s and don’ts…
Just be self-aware! Be aware of your surroundings whilst you enjoy yourself and look after your friends and make sure you’re all having a good time. I think one of the main ways to combat anyone who is acting inappropriately is to support each other and also report it. The way most gigs are set up means that unfortunately nothing can be done if it goes unreported and if you think the venues response is inappropriate, definitely call them out on it!
How has social media helped to spread your campaign?
To be honest, our campaign would not exist without social media. It’s how all three of the founders met and where we began. We’ve been lucky enough to translate our online presence into being consulted on how gig policies can be changed but social media has been so important in getting the word out and getting access to as many people as we can.
What have Girls Against achieved in the past year that you’re most proud of?
We managed to run our own event for the first time down in Brighton and we’re putting another one on in mid-December in London. This is a huge step for us because we’ve always wanted to put on something physical ourselves and this is the first step in doing that. Hopefully, we can keep making these events bigger and bring in more activities such as panels. It makes me proud though to think of where we started and that we now have these opportunities.
And what are you planning for the future?
Well, like I mentioned we are putting on a second event in December and we’d like to be able to make them bigger and do more. In the New Year we’re hoping to get in contact with some universities – starting at the ones that we attend ourselves and see where we can go from there!
Girls Against are highlighting a crucial problem in the live music industry- one that we should all work to involve and educate ourselves in. You can find out more about the campaign at their website www.GirlsAgainst.org.uk