Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 September 2015
16 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Time to speak up about sexual harassmen Helen Marcou is at the forefront of this battle, advocating for reforms in the contemporary music sector as co-founder of SLAM, an annual day of awareness and NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU The LISTEN collective, a group committed to healthy discourse in music, has claimed a significant victory in the fight against harassment and sexual violence against women in licensed premises. Beginning with a website to share experiences as stories, rants, ephemera and mix tapes, and leading to a printed anthology, LISTEN became the voice of female and female identifying artists to encourage more equal participation in the music industry. ‘We want to become visible - historically and in the present day - in our own words, on our own terms,’ is the group's motto. celebration of live music. Marcou is also a member of the Victorian State Government's Round Table, the Lord Mayor's Round Table and City of Yarra's Live Music Working Group. Via her work with SLAM, predominantly based upon live music culture, Marcou was alarmed to see that there was a very high level of harassment towards female artists and customers, creating an issue affecting not only Australia's music industry but our wider society on so many levels. "The prevalence of sexism in the music industry is out of control, and in this day and age it is completely unjustified," she stresses, saying they were shaken to find out that equal treatment was up to the hands of the patron of the venue. "Everyone thought that we have such a pro-equal treatment policy in the work space there would be no sexual harassment. I myself was under the misguided idea that it had International research on sexual harassment in licensed venues - A Canadian study published in 2010 reported 252 observed incidents of sexual harassment and sexual aggression in venues (Graham et al, 2010). - The same study reported a range of observed behaviours, including groping, purposefully invading someone's personal space while dancing, and leering. - Men were primarily the perpetrators, and women the victims, of this harassment. Katie Pearson alleviated or that it was no longer an issue. "It's an issue whenever women go out and it's an issue in our society." To Marcou, incidents of sexual assault and harassment of women in licensed venues and at music festivals are a significant problem and one which needs to be addressed promptly, particularly in order to create safe spaces for women in licensed venues. During various awareness campaigns, the group found that most performers are micro-businesses working with sub-contractors, providing no official protection for performers. "We are aiming to make it mandatory and its actually going to be more liberating," Marcou points out. "Already just by talking about it and starting an active debate and having it so prominent in the media, it has urged venue owners to train their guards." Ultimately, she believes the whole community will benefit, both socially and economically, as statistics show that women are the highest ticket buyers and consumers for gigs and music festivals. "When a venue has a good name it gives people the incentive to go there. Any curator should realistically look at the line-up and keep the artist representation balanced given that a large proportion of the audience is female." Following a meeting of the Victorian Live Music Round Table in July, Minister for Justice Jane Garrett has agreed to convene a government taskforce to implement policy addressing issues surrounding sexual assault and harassment of women in licensed venues at music festivals. The work will be undertaken by SLAM and LISTEN. Garrett requested the Live Music Round Table set up a taskforce to implement a policy to address assault and harassment of women in licensed venues. The ‘Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues’ should also be reviewed with an aim to incorporating a policy to address this problem. LISTEN are currently developing guidelines to present to government to inform policy surrounding sexual harassment training, appropriate incident response and reporting for music venue owners and staff, and education within security companies, LIST Dr Bianca Fileborn Little Desert band performs live at the LISTEN first birthday party. PHOTO: ELI NIGOL PHOTOGRAPHY.
5 September 2015
19 September 2015