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Here are a couple of pretty good networks
RAINN is the leading source for information, aide, or 24 hour hotline.
Here is their address: http://www.rainn.org/
Or here is a website listing numbers you can call for hotlines by state:
I completely agree with you that this issue is being swept under the rug. There are a lot of organizations (mostly localized and not national) that address sexual assault and sexual violence in our communities. Finding them is the hardest part.
The type of information that many websites offer is extremely controversial. Simply telling women to try to protect themselves more is never going to solve the root of the problem (systematic violence being condoned in our popular culture).
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I think there are some good documents I can share with you on Google Docs. I taught a course at my college entitled Topics In Sexual Violence and we read articles dealing with the root problem of sexual assault in our communities.
The one thing that is SOO hard and will also be the most helpful is if people continue to speak out against sexual violence. Survivors of sexual assault are often stigmatized and remain silent about their experience. This keeps the sad reality of sexual violence in the proverbial closet.
It really is time that we all speak out about how pervasive this issue is in our society.
Thanks for the post!
I haven't had this happen to me at a festival but it has definitely happened to me out at bars and as a bartender I see it happen more often then it should. Its strange, when some drunk guy comes up and starts rubbing up on a girl he doesn't know most of the time the girl just stands there and looks terrified or tries to politely push him off. You can't be afraid to tell these people to f*off, stand your ground! They act this way because most of the time no one does anything about it and they think its okay! I don't know how many times I have had to jump out from behind the bar and pull said drunk guy off but its to many times. That kind of behavior is just unacceptable and its not happening in my bar! I personal always carry a knife and pepper spray around and try never to walk alone especially at night. I am sorry that this happened to you, its terrible! All you can do now is try and be better prepared and stay aware to try and prevent it from happening again. Maybe take some kick boxing classes or something so you can whoop up on someone if you need too!
Wow, although the idea has always lingered in the back of my mind I had no idea anyone was actually being sexually assaulted at festivals. I'm definitely guilty of walking around alone at festivals, I always realize halfway to the bathroom in the middle of the night that I wandered off by myself because I'm always camping with almost all guys and they'd rather use a tree... I'm really sorry that happened to you, especially more than once. And that's absolutely horrible what your friends said about what you were wearing. It's a FESTIVAL, realistically most of the girls there are wearing something revealing. It's usually hot outside and everyone just likes to dress different from their normal street clothes for camping festivals. And everyone's right, it really doesn't matter what you're wearing. It's because you're dancing "sexy".
I've never been sexually assaulted because of my hooping, but I have almost been drugged... Some friends and I went to Numbers Night Club (which is an extremely small mostly gay club in the gay district [Montrose] of Houston) for 80s Night as a spur of the moment idea last month. I wasn't dressed up, I just walked in wearing a tie-dyed dress with hoop in hand. A rather large crowd had gathered to watch but my friends were standing literally 10 feet in front of me. This random normal looking guy walks up to me with a big smile, saying "Hey sweetie you look really hot so I bought you a bottle of water. Don't worry, I didn't break the seal or anything... This isn't anything weird." I thought the first part of what he said was nice (some people are just nice like that in Houston) but the last half was totally weird. After I took the bottle he just walked about 5 ft away, sat down, and watched me. I went to open the bottle, and of course the seal was already broken. I held it up to the little bit of light in the room and the top half of the water looked cloudier than the bottom half. I walked back over to him and called him out about the seal being broken (wasn't too sure about the contents of the bottle, the lighting was bad in the room) and he looked really surprised, saying "The bartender must have opened it while I wasn't looking." I just handed it back to him and told him that bartenders don't do that. After that, I never saw the guy again. I'm pretty sure he hauled ass out of there after I walked away. DON'T BE FOOLED BY THIS EXCUSE! In my experience, the only time I've seen any kind of bartender open the bottle of water themselves was because they poured it into a cup directly in front of me because the venue didn't allow bottles. Screw creepy guys that can't appreciate our dancing for what it is.
I agree with Tangled Macrame, hooping has created a very powerful sisterhood and we SHOULD be using it to raise awareness and help keep other women safe at festivals. We're all certainly at enough of them! How can we keep the ball rolling on this? How can we all make this a reality?
Maybe we can all work on our Bystander-Intervention Skills. Being a bystander of a sexual assault really sucks! A lot of the time, even when I am paying attention, it is hard to tell if a girl wants to be touched or not. I am not always aware of who is ok and who is being made uncomfortable.
Its one of my constant thoughts at festivals and concerts because of what has happened to me. Its difficult to step in, but I think we can all be powerful enough to take on this charge!
Try checking out this website for bystander intervention: http://www.nsvrc.org/projects/150/bystander-intervention-resources
Thank you for sharing this link! I've never been entirely sure how to make sure there is foul play going on before trying to stop it. Since sometimes people are really just messing around with their friends but it looks like it could be something totally different. I hope that everyone looks over at least one of the pages (since they're relatively short) from that link so that they know what they can and should do if they see something bad happening to another woman.
*Thank you* for posting this link. Shared to everyone.
I feel the same way! It sucks!
Wow that really sucks. Sorry that's happening to you. Sorry also that your guy friends bring up what you're wearing. That's classic victim blaming bullshit. Misogyny at it's finest. If someone is following you/harassing you/touching you without your enthusiastic consent, you should turn around look them in the eye and be like "WTF IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU FUCKING PERVERT?!?!" Make as big of a scene as possible. Even if you're scared PRETEND THAT YOU"RE NOT. Eye contact! We are girls and unfortunately we've been taught to be nice under any circumstance, so it can be really hard to get loud and straight up nasty with someone, but that's what they teach in self defense. YOU HAVE TO GET SHITTY WITH THESE PEOPLE. They feed on your vulnerability, that's why sexual assault isn't about sex, it's about power/control. As soon as you stand up to them they'll back down, and then GO REPORT THEM. If you don't they will just go bother some other girl. Also check out Slutwalk, if you haven't already. They're on FB and they're activists against sexual assault/rape/street harassment. Sadly, this happens to all of us.
I've had this happen to me at a festival and at bars :/ you have to be a straight up BIATCH to these guys. Speak assertively and make sure others around you can hear that you are telling them no. I had one guy straight up try to kiss and grope me at All Good, IN FRONT OF MY BOYFRIEND EVEN.
see if there is a self-defense class for women at your university or community center. i took one and i highly advise all women to take it as well.
Creepy dudes full of booze and drugs rocking out to music seem to fall in love with hula hoopers. It might be wise to have a hand weapon when you go, just so if they cross a line, like smack your butt, you can turn around and mace them or wack them with a small mini bat. I personally have a b.b. gun I use to chase away creepy people, but I wouldn't advise pulling out anything that looks like a gun, it would only make matters worse.
It's important to be able to feel safe when you simply are trying to rock out with a group of awesome people and great music. But that is what draws in creepy dudes. I feel it's important to have mace, so they understand they cant apporch a woman in such a mannor.
I was drugged once when I went alone to a bar on halloween weekend. I woke up at home not remember how I got there. My boyfriend said I called him around three in the morning and a man and woman where talking to me close by. I still wonder if I called my boyfriend to chase a creeper away and that a couple came to save me. It sucks that there are freaking losers that pray on woman. It makes no sense. Those guys are far from being a man.
Yeah, I hate to admit it but its not really safe for girls to walk around festivals by themselves... though.. I usually spend the bulk of my festival experience doing just that. But I have also met questionable characters. Even at really small festivals (which I found surprising). Two men once tried to lure me into the woods at a small festival and I almost obliged them.. but then I got that *ping* feeling in my gut and I decided to run. I'm pretty sure I wasn't being paranoid and had I followed them I would have been raped...
Though sometimes I think it's because many people are feeling 100% hedonistic at festivals so they just go with what they want to do... but that can have negative results
Not just at festivals, but in general why the f*** should women alter their appearances for men?! Can't we dress sexy/provocative/whatever because THATS WHAT MAKES US FEEL GOOD TO OURSELVES!!!??? this hits a nerve for me because I like dressing sexy and showing skin, no not for guy #1 or 2...3...4...or 5; but because when I'm in certain states of mind a) i feel more comfortable and b) its so much easier to dance and move in! I could rant all day about how men can wear no shirts and be as free as they want but when a woman wears a bikini top or anything similar it is responded to with stares and out of line comments....so annoying!!!