Content warning: This article is about sexual assault at live music performances. It also references rape culture.

As a music loving Melburnian, you’ll often find me sipping a beer in the middle of a gig or festival. Whether I’m jumping in the mosh or hanging in the back, you’ll catch me bobbing my head to tunes I love. Music brings about a sense of unity between people. I often make friends, and I’ve created some of my closest friendships through a shared love of live music.

So why is it that, whenever I’m about to enter a live music performance, I experience a surge of anxiety, and fear that I may have a panic attack? The fear of being groped..or worse. For some reason, being a woman means that you should be wary of sexual assault at a gig, a place that’s meant to be a safe space for people.

Whilst it is noted that people of all genders may subjected to this fear, women, amongst other people who present a sense of traditional femininity, are key targets of this form of attack. Apparently femininity displays vulnerability. Talk about an outdated perspective when women are out here being badasses.

If you report this offense to a figure of authority, be it a security guard or venue manager, there is not much they can do, given how hard it is to find someone within a mosh pit. And if I tell my parents about this, they’ll empathize before advising me to wear pants to a music performance. Or worse, they’ll suggest I stop attending gigs.

Not surprising at all, is it?

It’s the same pattern we see throughout rape culture, where people are questioned about their clothing, what they chose to wear, if they were being flirtatious. It seems obvious to say but no one should have to reevaluate their wardrobe choices to avoid sexual assault.

Quite frankly, it pisses me off. For such vile people to infiltrate my safe space, and claim it as a preying ground? Revolting.

Recently, a friend of mine started a campaign initiative against assault at gigs in Australia, called “We’re here for the bands, not your hands.”

Although it saddens me that we need to be fighting back, this campaign and other such initiatives are bringing us together, as a tenacious force. It makes me happy to know that we are on the way to reclaiming our safe space.

Perhaps, one day, I’ll feel like I can walk into a gig without the fear of being violated. That isn’t too much to ask for, is it?