Becca Bashford, The Badger’s News Editor, chats with Girls Against founder Bea Bennister about the problem of sexual assault and harassment that is plaguing the music industry. 

Becca Bashford, The Badger’s News Editor, chats with Girls Against founder Bea Bennister about the problem of sexual assault and harassment that is plaguing the music industry. 

Run by a local group of young, intersectional feminists, Girls Against are campaigning to make live music events a safe space for all to enjoy. We spoke to Sussex student and Girls Against founder, Bea Bennister, about what inspired her to create Girls Against, their mission, and their plans for the future. 

What inspired you to start Girls Against?

We were just a group of young girls who had had enough of being groped at gigs. We had all experienced sexual assault in one way or another at gigs and I guess we were inspired to help ensure that it didn’t happen to anyone else! So I guess the campaign came from frustration to not be able to enjoy the thing we loved doing most. 

What are Girls Against’s core values and message?

Our main value is to act as a support system for victims. We offer a platform to make sure victims know it’s okay to talk about sexual assault and that it does happen at live music events and this should be prioritised. We want to ensure that venues acknowledge this too and we support venues in doing all that they can to make the area as safe as possible and for sexual assault to be dealt with in a compassionate manner.

How did you get other people on board with your campaign?

There were 5 of us to begin with, with 3 of the original founders remaining. We all met on twitter through love of music. We recruited reps for the campaign as we went along and we got more successful and needed the extra help. People were so supportive and passionate it wasn’t hard to find people who wanted to help us!

Are you involved in the music industry yourself?

Not particularly. I guess Girls Against is my involvement. I’ve been putting on a few events in the industry and working with friends in the industry so have been a part of it since a young age.

Why do you think sexual assault and harassment is so prevalent within the industry?

I think mainly because it’s easy to get away with. Music events are of such a close proximity it gives people the opportunity to perpetuate or take advantage of the spacing. You always get pushed up too close to others, but it’s when it crosses the line into something more which is so common in the music scene. I guess also the music industry is such a male dominated scene still, this plays a role in the disrespect towards women in the industry.

Do you think Brighton venues need to do more to make their venues safe?

There’s always more that can be done. We’ve worked closely with the Komedia recently ensuring that they are trained effectively and are facilitating the safety of their audience fully. There’s so many venues and security companies in Brighton who are not trained and this is definitely a big step that needs to be taken. 

Do you have big plans for the future?

We want to work further with security and venues to implement better policies for sexual assault. We want to ensure that this is a key part of training and is not being brushed over. We want to work further with education and teaching young people effectively about consent and reducing the risk of perpetrators.

How can people best support your campaign?

Follow our socials and come to our events! We take donations but often offer these to other charities working towards a similar goal. If people want to support our work, we have leaflets & flyers about being a bystander and what YOU can do. These can be collected at any event with a Girls Against presence – so look out for those!




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