Let's talk consent: how to make nightlife safe from harassment - Create Digital Music

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Let’s talk consent: how to make nightlife safe from harassment Eletronic music as a medium is now interwoven with nightlife culture, even in a lot of the experimental end of the spectrum. So that means for those of us who care about the medium, it’s time to face a reality about night venues: a lot of people, particularly women, don’t feel comfortable and safe. Talk to regular clubgoers, and you’ll hear an unnerving number of tales about harassment. We’re not talking people just getting a little aggressive – we’re talking being groped repeatedly on the dance floor. In the midst of lots of discussions about numbers of women and men going into music production, the fact that some are scared away from clubs simply because they can’t relax and have a good time is finally coming to light. Mixmag hit the issue this spring:We need to talk about sexual harassment in nightclubs And Thump (VICE) has picked up on the story, too, noting the appearance of consent business cards at festivals, and reporting the movement is spreading to Decibel Festival when it hits Seattle this month. Social media is making stories of assault go viral, that same publication reports. So, how do you respond? One group is sending a clear message to anyone crossing a line by simply handing them a card. “Consent is sexy” cards, pictured here, set some boundaries in a clear way. And a Portland, Oregon-based group behind them wants to make these cards more commonplace, as well as create environments (in person and online) to have frank discussions about how we relate to one another, and how to make these situations more safe. Not all electronic music is about clubs. But given that club elements are part of most festivals – even those covering experimental music – it’s now almost impossible to make electronic music without encountering these situations. And let’s be honest, some of us really love nightlife – and hate to hear, say, from our friends that they feel they don’t feel comfortable going out with us. So I spoke to Cay Horiuchi, one of the organizers of C.A.R.E., about what we they’re doing, and how any of the rest of us might consider contributing. Their organization: We are C.A.R.E.S., Compassionate And Respectful Engagement Squad. As active members of the electronic dance music community, we promote consent-aware interactions in nightlife settings. C.A.R.E.S. provides tools to address situations where boundaries may be crossed. We hope to foster safe environments and encourage discussion about consent, whether it has to do with flirting, sex, or simply respectful interactions with one another. http://bit.ly/1Js27zH They also have a Facebook group, which is expanding this discussion:http://on.fb.me/1Js29aM CDM: Can you tell us a little bit about what your organization does? And you’re heading out to Decibel? Cay: We are a group of friends based in Portland, Oregon. We create and distribute the cards and provide workshops at festivals on the West Coast. Our main objective is to promote consent-aware interactions in nightlife settings. We provide tools — for now, cards and posters — to address situations where boundaries may be crossed. We hope to foster safe environments and encourage discussion about consent. We aim to: Empower partygoers to say no to uncomfortable situations Create a safer environment, especially when intoxicants are involved Offer respectful yet assertive ways to confront aggressors and to protect each other I’m heading out to Decibel Festival with some of the C.A.R.E.S. members to distribute the cards created in collaboration with Decibel Festival. We are very excited about this opportunity to help the community foster a safer environment. How did you get started? Our conversation originally started at a New Year’s Eve party that we threw in 2013. Throughout the evening, we each noticed various incidents of uncomfortable/possibly dangerous encounters on and around the dancefloor. To our collective surprise and alarm, we each discovered that we had all experienced and witnessed such incidents of sexual assault at parties in the past. Sounds like you’ve been having similar conversation in your community in Berlin. I believe that by starting a discourse, we can get creative about how to tackle this issue together. So, Mixmag ran this article in the spring — and, of course, this is pretty unnerving. We’re talking a really high incidence of people reaching out and groping other people. Is there any way to evaluate how, how frequently, and why this is happening? This is devastating… It’s upsetting that some are taking advantage of loud, crowded environment to assault others. To your question about actual numbers, it is hard to tell – as we are all familiar with, the survivors tend to dismiss such harassment, while aggressors pretend that it didn’t happen or they simply don’t remember due to intoxication. Although we don’t have the numbers, we know that various degrees of harassmen…

Nightlife simply isn't safe and comfortable for a lot of people. We talk to a group that's working to change that about why it's happening, and what to do.

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