One of the world’s most popular dance festivals will introduce a new initiative to protect party goers from sexual harassment.
The announcement comes after organisers of the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival in California were swamped with complaints of rampant sexual harassment at the previous year’s event.
How it will work
The new program will see trained “Safety Ambassadors” deployed throughout the festival grounds, along with special tents that will staffed with counsellors for anyone who needs “extra support or a quiet moment away,” according to festival’s website.
Organisers also announced a new “zero tolerance” policy for any form of sexual, physical or verbal assault or harassment.
Those who violate the policy will be kicked out of the week-long festival and have their $600 wristband confiscated.
“We are taking deliberate steps to develop a festival culture that is safe and inclusive for everyone,” the website states.
“Persons of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability are welcome at Coachella.”
The festival will offer gender-neutral toilets for party goers.
Aussie reporter groped at festival
Scores of women have complained about harassment at the annual music festival, including Aussie reporter Alex Bruce-Smith.
The 28 year-old told The Daily Beast that she was groped on the butt while she was making her way through the crowds at Coachella, but by the time she turned around, she saw the man she thought had grabbed her disappear into the crowd.
“I was just fuming because I couldn’t do anything,” she said.
“I was like, ‘That happened and now there’s no consequences.’”
Teen Vogue reporter Vera Papisova spoke to more than 50 party goers who all said they had been sexually harassed at the Coachella festival.
A recent survey of 500 concert goers found 92 percent of female respondents had experienced sexual harassment at a music festival.
Will the new initiatives be effective?
James Vercoe from Discrimination Claims welcomed the new initiatives by Coachella.
“Anything that helps reduce the incidence of sexual harassment is a good thing, and I applaud the organisers of the festival for making an effort after receiving so many complaints from women last year,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, I wonder how having a safety tent with some counsellors and some gender neutral toilets is going to stop creeps from groping women – or men – who don’t want to be touched like that.”
RELATED STORY: Women worried about sexual harassment at music festivals
If you have experienced sexual harassment, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call our team at Discrimination Claims today on
1300 853 837.
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