Hi guys, I’m here to address such an important issue of sexual assault in this post and also point out where to find some fantastic advice without leaving the comfort of your own home.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the incident in the German city of Cologne on New Years Eve. Those of you who don’t keep up with the news, this is going to be a shocker. Over 100 women were sexually assaulted by drunk and aggressive young men for no apparent reason. Men touching up and groping women in the streets of the city, no sign of respect at all.
The thought of this makes me feel sick to the stomach, how can men really think that kind of disgusting behaviour is the slightest bit acceptable?
Touching women up, groping them without any kind of consent is out right wrong without a doubt, and this needs to be made more clear.
So… Your on a girls night out in your local nightclub, filled with the usual idiots from your area that you can’t stand. Your having a dance, and out of nowhere, a pair of hands creep around your waist and you feel someone grinding on you from behind. Your drunk and having fun, so you brush it off and walk away. It happens all the time on the dance floor. Sound familiar?
Things like this count as a sexual assault. This message needs to be out there so much more predominantly than it already is. Groping without any kind of consent is sexual assault, plain and simple.
99% of the time, the woman in the nightclub being touched up by some stranger she has never met is probably not enjoying it, even if she appears to be. This is because so many women don’t see much harm in the matter, making men feel as though they have some kind of right to this behaviour whenever they are near a drunk lady. NO!
Now the important bit: I got in touch with Girls Against, a group of 5 feminist girls fighting against sexual assault at gigs, another place where awkward sexual assaults are happening time and time again.
Hannah, Anni, Anna, Ava and Bea began the page in October 2015 when the gig season was about to start.
I’ve known about their campaign a while now and I think what they do is absolutely brilliant. Providing advice to both men and women who may have been groped or assaulted without any judgement is so important. If you are reading this and feel as though you could do with some advice but have never really known where to go for it, give these girls an email and they will be more than happy to help you.
The page was started up by the girls because they had all been a victim of sexual assault in the past. Hannah told me of a severe sexual assault she went through at a Peace gig. After her story went public she received a huge amount of support and public condemnation of the act from the band.
Hannah said: “We realised that nobody was speaking out against this despite it being a regular occurrence.
“We knew that we wanted to do something together so we set up the Twitter account and things just snowballed from there really”.
Hannah and the rest of the girls have helped hundreds of people who have gone to them for support after incidents like this. It just goes to show how often things like this are happening that nobody is aware of.
“Sometimes it’s quite tough reading these experiences all the time but they motivate us to keep making a change.
“One of the main things we wanted to do in the beginning was to provide a safe space to discuss these issues and make people realise how bad the situation actually is”.
The girls get suggestions of what bands they should contact in regards to things like this happening at their gigs to try and get a hold on it before it can happen at the next upcoming gig.
Hannah pointed something very important out to me that we should all be particularly aware of: “This doesn’t just happen to women. We’ve had stories from both men, women and non-binary people so it just goes to show that it happens to everyone”.
The stigma behind sexual assault always points to the man as the culprit and the woman as the victim, so it is important to realise that men can be assaulted too.
It could be that more women seek help than men, which creates this idea of more women being assaulted, but we should always be aware not everyone tells their story.
I particularly liked Hannah’s opinions on the Cologne attacks, it shows how thoughtful the girls are establishing not just support but a cause for the assaults.
Her opinions were very thoughtful, stating: “there is obviously no excuse for rape, assault or harassment of any kind, especially a sexual nature.
“We do need to look at why these people felt like this was an okay thing to do, is it because of the traditional gender roles still present in society?
“Serious analysis needs to be done on this, not just in Cologne but those throughout the world, otherwise change will be a very slow process”.
One of the main reasons I wrote a blog post on this subject was to raise as much awareness as I can about the subject and also to give Girls Against some serious recognition for their hard work, and how their experiences have motivated them to make a change.
Everyone who has took the time to read this, take a look at their Twitter page and please seek help of you have fallen a victim of sexual assault.