The ‘Love Sex Hate Sexism’ collective came together in the wake of a sexual assault that happened within the London punk scene. The victim of the sexual assault had the courage to stand up against her attacker. Even though her attacker readily admitted to it he had a series of excuses so she still faced a backlash for standing up to him. Which sadly didn’t surprise us but did piss us off. Her voice also brought forward a flood of similar stories, also from within the scene. Stories that had previously remained silent for fear of facing the same reprisal she faced or because the victims knew their stories would simply be ignored. Sexual assault is too normalised within our culture, which then makes it acceptable. We felt that something had to be done.
So working in a very strong DIY punk ethos we are trying to fight prejudice, abuse and discrimination in any form to build a united and safer community. So far the collective has produced a series of flyers defining what sexual consent actually means and raising awareness about sexual assault. We are aiming to highlight the sexist behaviour and attitudes that still exist within our own scene. The flyers have been met with a really positive response!! We have had a lot people come forward and discussed their personal experiences with us. Many people have also thanked us for producing the flyers because they highlight a hidden problem that has effected them or because they simply didn’t know these issue are so prevalent within our scene. We’ve also been told by one individual that these flyers helped clarify issues of consent and abuse that he hadn’t been aware he’d perpetrated and he wished someone had told him this sooner. (see flyers section)
Along with the flyers, we’ve been giving away stickers and posters and have been selling pants, patches and t-shirts (nearly at cost) to help raise awareness. We also have a very fledgling website which needs lots more love and attention. We hope to build an on-line community where people can go to discuss and tell their own stories, how they have been effected by sexism within the punk scene. This will hopefully help people deal with issues they’ve been effected by and make people think about their own actions. Both verbally and how they physically interact with other people and the effect that this can have on someone else. Sexist behaviour has no place in our scene or anywhere else and we must work together to change this attitude. We want the punk scene to be a positive, respectful and safe place for everyone. We always promote a non-sexist, non-homophobic, non-racist and non-aggressive environment where everyone is welcome and will always feel safe. The collective is open to anyone who would like to become activity involved.
We also need monetary donations. We need to reimburse existing costs but would also like to produce new flyers, stickers, posters and hopefully work towards the more long term goals of building a more coherent website, along with creating more events, such as dinners, film screenings, gigs and exhibitions to strengthen the non-virtual community. We’re also trying to find ways to provide support for those who’ve suffered from sexist behaviour and sexual assault.