TRIGGER WARNING: the following deals with sexual assault
- At the first proper punk gig I went to every time I went in the pit someone groped me. Grabbing my boobs or my fanny, trying to stick their fingers in as far as they could. Despite the music being great, I left early that night. I was 14 yrs old.
- I was in the pit at a Misfits gig when my backpack opened and everything went flying everywhere. As I was trying to pick up my stuff someone grabbed my ass from behind. I was really angry and no-one would admit it or tell me who did it.
- Don’t trick underage girls into having sex with you by getting them drunk. This happened to me when I was 15 by an older punk guy in his early 20s. He gave me beer until I didn’t know what was going on then he had sex with me. This is statutory rape. You are a pedophile. You are look at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years (with up to a maximum of 20 years)
- Walking through the crowd at The Feeding of the 5000 gig, someone grabbed my crotch from behind- I spun round immediately shouting, and demanded to know which one of three guys had done it- they all claimed innocent and no-one said a word. Security told me it wasn’t really worth doing anything because the gig was nearly over and all they could do was kick whoever it was out.
- I fell asleep in the back of my van at a festival, next to a guy I liked. I was woken up by him kissing and grabbing me. He wouldn’t respond to my repeatedly asking him why he was being so pushy. Turned out it was because he wasn’t the guy I’d fallen asleep next, it was some creepy fucker who’d crawled into my van without my knowledge or consent. Everyone saw me freaking out at him as I kicked him out of my van, had no excuse for being in there, he never denied touching me but still he had guys rush up and defend him. There was never any consequences for him.
- One night I was really drunk on the bus home from a gig. So drunk I got off the wrong stop and was utterly confused until I saw my sober ‘mate’. I was relieved when he offered to take me home so I’d be safe. I don’t know how it started (he was not someone I would do) but the next thing I know he’s in my room and we’re having sex and he was telling me he liked ‘rough sex’ and I was struggling to stop that….
Ugh. The last one makes me well up even now.
- When I was a teenager, my dad would yell at me “Don’t leave the house dressing like you do, don’t go to punk gigs and festivals, don’t hang around in squats; they’re full of perverts and lowlifes, too dangerous for you and women in general”.
And to some extent he was right: the scene does have its fair share of primitive morons, who use punk ethos as an excuse to justify all sorts of dumb behaviour.
I’ve experienced a pretty diverse range of shit, from the benign (being followed around a crowded festival pit by a sweaty teenager rubbing his hard on against on my back), to the painful (a drunk lesbian chick who grabbed my pierced nipples and tried to kiss me because she’d thought I’d appreciate her ‘forward’ approach) to the scary (a guy I had a one night stand with threatening that he’d set my festival tent on fire and piss me as I burned to death if I did not sleep with him again), to the absolutely vile (old punk man who followed me as I walked home from school, stuck his hand up my vagina and said ‘you got a nice one there luv’ before calmly walking off).
So yes, to some extent, my dad was right.
What he didn’t appreciate is that these people are by far not the majority.
Every time any sort of injustice happened, there would be an immediate gathering of punk friends and strangers, the offender’s ass would be duly kicked and life would go on.
So in the meantime I’m going to continue going to gigs.