Increasingly, sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment has flooded the news following the viral #MeToo movement as well as with a recent flurry of accusations against celebrities. However, it’s not just high-profile personalities who have overstepped boundaries or committed acts of sexual violence against unwilling participants. Rather, being the victim of inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact is an insidious occurrence for a large portion of the population during daily life, and both men and women can share stories of being inappropriately touched at shows. Thus, a new initiative called GrooveSafe, started by Ashley Driscoll, has come about, with the goal to increase awareness about consent and physical contact at concerts.
Live music is meant to be a safe haven for all folks, and more often than not, it is. However, while going out and seeing shows frequently is an uplifting and spirit-invigorating experience, occasionally there are people who take advantage of or are unable to abide by the laws of common decency within the free-spirited atmosphere. Regardless of whether drugs or alcohol is involved, it’s basic respect to not touch people when they don’t want to be. With GrooveSafe, the organizations goal is to stop this unwanted touching at shows, showing that it’s not normal to be grabbed or groped unwillingly at any point during the day, but especially when enjoying music.
As detailed in a write-up by NYS Music, when asked about how to prevent unwanted contact at show and what GrooveSafe is all about, founder Ashley Driscoll said this: “Unfortunately, prevention is a difficult word. The main goal of GrooveSafe is to spread awareness that these sorts of behaviors are happening all the time, all around us. I believe change in behavior starts in understanding how truly unwanted these advances are. Our true goal is to become obsolete someday. Nothing would make me happier than to go to a show and not have to constantly look over my shoulder and just be able to watch the show in peace. This is a difficult question because it is not as simple as going in groups or wearing a certain thing or another. Females and males alike should be able to look, feel and be whatever or whoever they want without being touched by a stranger or sometimes even a friend in a manner that they have not agreed to or have not welcomed.”
GrooveSafe currently has plans to get a website up and running and in the future will be selling merchandise that reiterates the point that everyone should be conscious of how they interact and make contact with fellow fans at concerts—including looking out for others who may be in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation but don’t know what to do. You can donate to this worthy cause via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org). As always, have fun out there, and make sure you do your part to ensure the people around you are having a good time too.