Violence against women and girls happens
throughout our society, and the music industry
is no exception. The problem affects
thousands of people who attend gigs and
festivals – and it seems to be on the increase.
More and more people in the music industry
are taking a stand about women’s safety. Paul
McCartney, Harry Styles and many other
performers have worn White Ribbon badges.
Festivals and music venues are increasingly
realising that they need to do more. And many festivals (ranging from Mugstock in Glasgow to Ambition in Croydon) already support the Campaign.
The White Ribbon Campaign offers real, practical
support to help festivals and music venues stop violence
against women and girls. The goal is for all women to know
they can attend music events with confidence.
And to encourage men (customers, staff, performers) to take a stand.
Because everyone, male and female, should
be able to enjoy music events free from fear.
Violence at festivals and gigs
A growing number of women are reporting assaults and rape at UK music festivals. Groping, verbal abuse, assaults and other forms of harassment at gigs and festivals are more common than any of uswould like to think.
Recent WRC research found that 25% of women interviewed had felt unsafe at a festival, and over 50% felt festival organisers could do more to improve their safety. 90% of festival-goers were unaware of what steps organisers had taken to protect women from assault.
New Safe Music Report
Many festivals and venues are now working harder than ever to keep their customers
safer, but there’s a lot more work to do.
White Ribbon has produced a new report, written by Dave Boardman, our Safe Music Co-ordinator, packed with practical tips for festivals and venues to keep women safe, and encourage men to be part of the solution. It explains how everyone (including festivals and venues themselves) benefits if we take violence against women and girls at music events seriously.
The report tells festivals and venues how to develop a robust action plan to keep women and girls safe, how to make sure their staff and volunteers know how to respond in potentially dangerous situations, and tips on fund-raising. It also includes advice for men on how they can intervene safely if they witness assaults, harassment or threats against women and girls, and how they can encourage their mates to behave respectfully and non-violently.
In 2016, BoomTown have partnered with the White Ribbon Campaign to support our Safe Music guide. We are holding a launch event at the festival with support from festival performers and organisers. With support from Safe Gigs 4 Women, we are running a stall (with activities, pledges to sign, free gifts, and opportunities for people to share their stories). We will offer advice and support to festival attendees – and hand out 1,500 copies of our new leaflet for customers.
We are really excited that BoomTown is one of the first festivals to invite us to run an awareness raising event for their festival-goers. Festivals who work with the White Ribbon Campaign are sending a clear message that they take women’s safety seriously and would never keep silent or shy away from tackling it. We hope other festivals will follow BoomTown's lead.
Find here our "Safe Music" Newsletter.
What Festivals and Venues Should Do
All music customers should know that festivals and venues won’t tolerate abuse and violence. We ask venues and festivals to create a robust action plan to stamp out violence at their events. This means they should:
1. Train all staff and volunteers in issues concerning violence and abuse against women. They should know how to support anyone experiencing violence, threats or harassment.
2. Encourage customers to report anything of concern to security staff, police, bar staff or other officials.
3. Record any violent or abusive incidents carefully, and ensure they are followed up appropriately.
4. Support all men (staff, volunteers and customers) to step up in ways that are safe for women and girls. Help them be part of the solution.
5. Encourage male customers to keep an eye on their friends, so that nobody they are with causes trouble or harasses women.
6. Ask men (customers, staff and volunteers) to support the Campaign and sign the White Ribbon pledge.
7. Enlist performers (especially male ones) to publicly support the Campaign and take a stand against male violence against women and girls.
8. Display White Ribbon logos and information on festival and gig publicity (posters, websites etc), and ensure customers are well-informed. Show your customers that you will never shy away from these issues. White Ribbon’s Top Tips for customers are in our Safe Music report.
9. Host awareness and fundraising events for the Campaign and local domestic abuse services, and commemorate White Ribbon Day on 25th November.
Festivals and venues that do this can receive the White Ribbon Award in recognition of their work to keep women and girls safe. Please email us (email@example.com) for more information about the award, and about the training and advice that we offer. Or call us on 01422 886545.
Awareness raising and fundraising events
We ask venues and festivals to put on events to raise money for the Campaign, and spread the word about how men can challenge violence against women and girls. Dave Boardman can advise you on how to organise gigs and mini festivals. Get in touch via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Ribbon Stalls, Spaces and Workshops at Festivals
These are great ways of involving men, and reassuring your female customers, at a festival.
A White Ribbon space creates opportunities for men (with or without women present) to explore their own attitudes and behaviour in a safe, supportive environment – to look at how they can be part of the solution. We have many years’ experience at hosting discussions with men about how they can support respectful, non-violent relationships with women. We want all men to feel comfortable and proud to take a stand.
A White Ribbon stall can provide advice to male and female customers, to help them to spot problems and to tell them what to do if they see or experience anything that they’re uncomfortable with.
We can offer song writing workshops, the most recent run by Plumhall, Yorkshire Gig Guide’s Outstanding Songwriters award winners.
We can also provide leaflets, posters etc, and collection boxes for donations.
We need volunteers to help staff White Ribbon stalls and spaces. If there is a festival near you, tell us about it and we can contact the organisers. We’ve had stalls at Bestival, Gentleman of the Road (Lewes), as well as many others in Croydon, Glasgow, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Safe Music Resources
WRC has a range of banners that can be borrowed or purchased for White Ribbon promotion nights. There are WRC Guitar badges, Postcards and Posters. These are on the website shop. Please contact us (email@example.com) for more information.
Support from Musicians
Over the last few months we have received support from every musician who has been asked, including The Proclaimers, Seth Lakeman, Barbara Dickson, BBC Radio DJ and drummer Mark Radcliffe, Ralph McTell and many more.
Music Songs and Lyrics
We have a YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLN_ydEWHREe_aDZdqjTCNP8AcUYucmyWK. Have a look and listen –and suggest tracks to be added. We have no desire to get in the way of creativity but we really do want to promote sings with appropriate messages. The best way of promoting songs is by sharing on social media so use our White Ribbon Music Project Facebook page www.facebook.com/White-Ribbon-Music-Project-1648965555340222/ to share songs you think others should hear.
We have organised song writing workshops and occasionally organise our own shows. If you would like to perform, share songs or lyrics please get in touch
The Pixel Project - 16 songs about violence against women (and staying strong and positive)
The Pixel Project is an innovative virtual volunteer-led non profit organisation using social media and online strategies to turbo-charge global awareness about violence against women .
Recently, the project selected 16 songs about or related to VAW and women’s empowerment. While there have always been songs that are very explicit about domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of VAW, they decided to select a mix of songs talking about VAW and songs that empower women because it is important to get a balance between the reality of violence and the message of hope for survival and healing.
Artists include Pink, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Dixie Chicks, Tracy Chapman, Christine Aquilera, Gloria Gaynor (of course!), Martina McBride, Sara Bareilles, Suzanne Vega, Annie DiFranco, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Jamelia, Savage Garden and the first wives club.
On their 16 Songs webpage, they start by saying;
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” — Victor Hugo
The subject of Violence Against Women (VAW) is a difficult one to discuss and face for most people, cultures and communities. Whether it is considered taboo, a non-issue or a private matter, a wall of silence often envelopes the issue, making it one of the most entrenched and difficult human rights violations to dislodge and eradicate. Therefore, activists, campaigners and charities/nonprofits often have to get creative in highlighting the seriousness and severity of gender-based violence and its impact on the well-being of communities and societies as a confrontational approach may backfire, cause a backlash or simply not work.
One of the most powerful and creative methods of raising awareness about VAW and spreading the message of saying NO to VAW is through music and song. From medieval bards to protest folk singers of the 1960s to today’s Pop, Rock and Country songwriters, musicians, singers and songwriters have always played a pivotal role in spreading the message about social issues via their lyrics and using musical hooks to ensure that the song stays with the listener until the message sinks in.
White Ribbon Day 2009 - Joel Turner Performs At Men In The Mall
The King Blues 'Itch' promoting a better attitude towards women.
“I feel passionately that men need to be involved in ‘calling out’ threats, intimidation and violence by men on women and girls wherever we see it. It’s important for men to be part of the conversation about what’s not acceptable in relationships, in a bar, on the street, in the workplace or online.”
In an inspiring blog post, family lawyer Adam Moghadas, explains why he is an Ambassador for White Ribbon UK.
We were lucky enough to have Professor Michael Flood as one of our speakers at our second All Party Parliamentary Group, and to have him facilitate a workshop on building partnerships in engaging men in gender equality. Michael is a world renowned researcher on engaging men in violence prevention, and his visits to the UK are rare. We were also really excited to have Sam Smethers speaking - a strong advocate for engaging men in gender equality initiatives, and CEO of the Fa
At least 80,000 women suffer rape every year in the UK