Women and men share their experiences.
Trigger warning: Please be aware that this section has sensitive material and subject matter. The stories have been shared with permission from the authors and survivors.
1) Hide in Your Herd and Float in Your Flock
Your Response After an Incident: If someone from your crew, or anyone who happens upon your crew, says they were assaulted, touched, or harassed, believe them. Tell them it's not their fault. Ask them if they're safe and what you can do to help. Water, food, rest, safety in numbers, a phriendly hug, an escort to medical or to find someone safe can go a long way. Ask what they need and want to do and don't tell them what they should do because everyone's situation is different. (See #6 for additional info on police involvement.)
2) When the RAINN Came Down
Crisis Response: If someone you know was raped, touched, or harassed at a show or on lot, share the hotline number for the local sexual assault program. These programs have confidential, 24 hour hotlines to talk through the situation and identify next steps. RAINN has a quick lookup by zip code, so it doesn't matter what venue you're at; help and support is just a phone call away: https://www.rainn.org/get-help
3) Party Time
Drugs and Alcohol: Drugs and alcohol are a factor in many sexual assaults for both people who are assaulted as well as those who assault others. If someone in your crew tends to rage a little too hard, how can you talk directly to the person or make plans among your crew, to make sure the person stays with you on lot and throughout the show? What will your group do if someone under the influence gets lost and is possibly vulnerable to abuse? Or if your friend starts hitting on someone too hard or starts touching them? Because it's hard to talk to people while they are under the influence, get your plan together before the party starts.
4) Funky Bitches
Women are at Highest Risk: Women are an amazing component of the scene, who deserve space and respect. The lot, venue, and online phan groups should be spaces where women are free to express their opinions and concerns without harassment. Both men and women experience sexual violence, but women are twice as likely as men to experience this in their lifetime (NISVS, 2017). You can be aware of this difference in experience at shows and help by being observant and stepping in as appropriate, online and IRL, to back up women. If you are unaware of sexual assault and harassment in the scene, start asking women and teen girls you know if this has ever happened to them. The stories are enlightening!
5) DO Take Another Step
Be an Active Bystander: If you see a man or woman being harassed or touched, step in as it feels safe and appropriate to you. This could be as simple as positioning yourself in-between the two people to interrupt their interaction, motioning the person who is being bothered to come by you, having your crew box out or dance the person out of your space, relocate your crew, stub a person down to the pav if they're being harassed on the lawn, or getting security from the venue.
6) Policeman Came to My House
Use Non-violence: No one wants to get booted from a show let alone leave in handcuffs, so violence is not a recommended approach to intervening in a situation, as it can be difficult to prove who started what. Sometimes, people are in the position where they have no other choice than to fight back for themselves or to defend others. This is a legally tricky situation and laws on self-defense vary by state. If there are no other choices available, use the least amount of force possible to escape the situation.
Additionally, except in cases of extreme danger (or if the victim is a child ), the decision of whether or not to involve police should be left up to the person who was assaulted or harassed. A 24 hour hotline (See #2) can lay out the available options for reporting.
7) A Thousand Barefoot Children Outside Dancing on the Lawn
The Next Generation: There is a new generation of children who are huge phans at shows. If we want the scene to be safe for boys and girls as they grow up, we need to police ourselves, interrupt harassment and assault when we see it, and lovingly call out victim-blaming and sexist statements coming from others in the scene. Parent can teach children early about body autonomy, consent, boundaries, empathy, respect, and how to be a good friend. With these values, children can grow to have healthy relationships and healthy sexuality as teens and adults.
8) I Like to do it to you 'Til You Holla for More
Consent is Sexy: It's easy to get caught up in the moment at shows, surrounded by a huge community of beautiful, grooving folks. When meeting new people, dancing together, and hooking up, it's important to check in to make sure you want the same thing. While you think body language or a look may be telling you to go further, you could be mistaken. That is quite the buzzkill. You can check in with someone by asking if it bothers them for you to be dancing so close, if you can give them a hug or kiss, or if they want to dance with you. Some people just want to have a good time and make new friends without being touched or hooking up. Respect their boundaries! You can choose to enjoy that moment with them, or strike up a conversation with someone else who might be more into you.