Hannah, Ava, Anna, Anni and Bea make up Girls Against Groping at Gigs. They are a group of intersectional feminist teenagers and music fans, who¬†have joined forces to raise awareness, and ultimately end, the shocking commonplace of sexual assault in gig crowds. They are working with bands, venues, and security companies aiming to make gig crowds a safer space for girls. As a long-admirer of the girls and the movement, I was excited to interview Hannah Camilleri for Girl Museum.
Groping at gigs, generally speaking, affected girls more often. Speaking to Hannah, she pins this to sexism within society. ‚ÄúWomen have always been seen as the subordinate, inferior and weaker sex. People think that it’s okay to sexually harass women because we’re taught to be demure and not say anything. We’re not supposed to be the sex that’s going to lash out and be violent. Obviously these are extreme gender stereotypes but this entire issue has [its] roots in them.‚Äù
The campaign was begun after Hannah was groped at a Peace gig in September 2015, and felt¬†the lack of support in place to help victims. The girls have since gained nearly 9000 followers on their Twitter account. Harry Koisser, Peace frontman, shared Hannah‚Äôs story on Twitter, begging people who engaged in sexual harassment to not attend their gigs. Since then, the girls have gone viral, being shared by such acts as Spector, Peace, and Wolf Alice.
What begun as a social media forum to share experiences and gain awareness and change, has spiraled into the public eye. Their most surreal moment, ‚Äúprobably seeing two of us on BBC Breakfast! It was so bizarre and a really humbling experience. I can remember being a wee girl and watching the six o‚Äôclock news with my mum so it was very surreal. Although, I know it’s clich√©d and I sound like an American pop star, but everyday something new and exciting is happening so every day there’s something to be proud of!‚Äù
Girls Against will also soon be bringing out merchandise. Bands have been sporting Girls Against badges that the girls have made, and soon to be sold to support the campaign, ‚Äúwe’re working on getting them up on an online shop and then getting posters for venues and t-shirts etc out, but baby steps. Pay-pal still confuses us!‚Äù
Girls Against Groping at Gigs is fascinating, inspiring, and so very needed. Yet, our conversation naturally soon got onto music. The girls first united over a mutual love of indie music, when we asked for Hannah‚Äôs favourite artist, ‚ÄúI can’t believe you’ve asked me that, that is so difficult!‚Äù ‚ÄúWell, I’m really loving Charli XCX at the moment, I just watched her documentary so she’s been playing a bit. Sundara Karma released a really fucking pretty video for their single Vivienne so that’s been on the playlist as well. Of course, with me you’re always going to have a constant of Wolf Alice as well!
Coming up to 2016, I asked Hannah her goals for the year, ‚Äújust keep going with what we’re doing, taking the campaign as far as it can go and getting involved with festivals etc.‚Äù and her predictions for bands to watch out for, ‚ÄúHmm, I’m gonna say Vitamin, Sundara Karma and Zibra. I’ve seen them all as support acts and they’ve been doing so well recently so I’m hoping that everything turns out well for them all!‚Äù
The girls have a Tumblr in which they share (with explicit permission) stories of groping at gigs, to raise awareness and to help victims to support each other. The girls hope that the campaign will help the issue of groping at gigs to be taken more seriously, to shift the current attitudes that deem it accepted.
If you, or someone you know, experience groping at gigs, inform a member of security if you can, who will be able to help. Create a discussion; be supported by your friends, and Girls Against Groping, in the awareness that you‚Äôre not alone in your experience.
Girl Museum Inc.