*Pic: Photos by Joanna Pinkiewicz. Festival goers spreading the message of saying NO to Sexual Assault …
In response to last year’s reports of rape and sexual assaults independent activists and festival-goers took action to spread the message via placing messages in toilet cubicles, wearing patches on the back of their shirts and jackets and giving away badges they produced themselves.
The Tasmanian police advocated publicly for a stronger response to end the culture of non-consensual touching and rape amongst the festival goers. 3 reports of sexual assault have been reported this year.
It has to be highlighted that all the sexual victims were again female and that this is still part of a male culture that teaches young men to assert, demand or coerce women into sexual activities they are not willing or desiring to participate in.
It is extremely disappointing that the management of the Falls Festival shuts down media completely after reports reach the news. It is also harmful that the festival does not produce any educational messages themselves. They could easily utilize the big screens between acts and hand out materials on sexual consent to all the party-goers at the gate.
In times where women continuously struggle to address this issue and begin to challenge it, we need all hands on deck to stop anything that encourages sexism, sexual callousness or exploitation. No artists invited to perform should ever encourage this behaviour or acts. We had comments that one performer and one performance act in the Village encouraged sexism or sexual violence. This is also not acceptable.
We are looking forward for the Falls Festival Management taking greater responsibility in this area. The festival has a great cultural influence on young people and spreading the message of consent and zero tolerance of sexual assault is as important as zero tolerance to drink driving.
Thank you to the Loo Crew and Bob Brown Foundation who embraced spreading the message!
*Joanna Pinkiewicz is an activist in women’s rights and environmental rights areas. She designed and produced patches, stickers and Badges for this year Falls Festival.