Journalist went to Coachella to investigate sexual harassment. She was groped 22 times

Saturday 21 April 2018 12:30
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Picture:(Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)

Coachella is the biggest music festival in the United States and the highest grossing festival on the planet.

This year's festival has seen marquee performances from the likes of Beyoncé, Eminem, Cardi B, Ariana Grande and Kendrick Lamar, to name but a few.

It should be an amazing experience for everyone in attendance, as a diverse blend of music and culture mix for a few days under the California sun.

Sadly reports suggest there is a darker side of the festival - especially for women.

In an in-depth article for Teen Vogue journalist Vera Papisova has exposed the rampant sexual harassment that is prevalent at the festival

Of the 54 women she interviewed for the article, all of them admitted to experiencing sexual harassment during their time at the festival, including Vera herself, who was groped 22 times in the space of 10 hours.

Vera explains how certain men would follow her during the day and then rub their hands over her body while she was trying to watch a performance.

She writes:

One guy followed me across the field to the Mojave stage, where I was meeting a friend to see FIDLAR. 

When my friend left to see another band, I stayed behind, and this guy came up behind me and whispered, “You’re a goddess” and then rubbed his hands on my hips and butt. 

I knew it was the guy who followed me over earlier because I recognised his Pablo merch.

This is why I usually wear a backpack in concert settings — it forces distance between the stranger behind me and my body.

She also describes a moment where she was trying to take a photo of Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne to send to her dad but after being groped felt so uncomfortable and decided to leave and never got to take the photo.

Vera added that she was harassed while waiting in line to purchase food by a man who asked her "What's the secret behind that six-pack?" and rubbed his hand on her bare stomach.

The women that Vera spoke to - most of whom were teenagers or in their early 20s - believed that men thought they would get away with their actions due to the large numbers of people in the crowds at the festival.

19-year-old Ana said:

At Coachella, it is so many people that men will get away with touching you, and they think we don't notice.

It happened to me many times already, and I notice every time.

16-year-old Regan added:

It's scary, and you can't trust the random people around you to help you.

And with those bigger men, it's just harder and it's scarier to say something to them because they might get angry and violent.

Like if you're not nice, they might hurt you.

Teen Vogue's report includes a survey by the non-profit organisation OurMusicMyBody, which has recently discovered that more than 90 per cent of women who attend a music event have been harassed.

In 2015, a man wearing a t-shirt at Coachella reading 'Eat Sleep Rape Repeat' caused outrage online, while at the 2014 Reading Festival two men were arrested on suspicion of raping a young woman.

Vera's story has since been shared widely online as a shocking example of the reality that women still face on a daily basis, despite the positivity created by the #MeToo movement.

Indy100 has contacted Coachella for a statement and will update this article should we receive a reply.

HT Teen Vogue

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