We recently appeared on The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Show to talk about sexual assault, misogyny and bullying in the Music Industry. This is an issue that affects many women, but also men too.
The decision to appear on the show was not taken lightly. It has been painful and has caused us individuals a great deal of anxiety and fear over the past few weeks. We believe that we have to stand up and end the toxic culture of silence around the issue.
We are empowered because we are aware of many stories of severe abuse. These are stories of predatory behaviour, rape and assault usually on vulnerable persons by people in positions of power. As the journalist said on the show, she had interviewed many, many individuals in the industry with horrific experiences all of whom had been afraid of repercussions if they speak out.
We went on the show to tell our stories. We wanted to let women and men know that you are not alone. If you have experienced a sexual assault or have been made to leave your job because of bullying and harassment you are not the one at fault, however bad you have been made to feel.
While we applaud many wonderful individuals in the music industry who denounce harassment, misogynistic and bullying behaviour there are still many companies and persons currently working that are in the dark ages with regards to harassment issues, women’s rights and equality. It has been made clear to us time and time again that when experiencing sexual assault and bullying individuals currently have nowhere or no one to turn to. History shows that those who have spoken up have been silenced, ostracised and completely let down, usually being the ones to lose their jobs and not the perpetrator. We are therefore calling for the following
1. That industry trade organisations such as UK Music set up a safe place where anyone working in the industry can speak in confidence knowing that they will not be the ones who have to suffer repercussions.
2. All music companies to rethink their strategies, and stop working with individuals and other companies who exhibit any predatory or bullying behaviour whether it be an employee, an artist, a producer, or a manager, a lawyer, a publicist or an agent or anyone associated with the business, however powerful and successful they may be. We are aware of organisations promoting individuals, knowing they they have had sexual assault allegations made against them. This has to stop.
3. We believe the lack of respect women receive starts at the very beginning of their careers and are calling for women to be paid the same as men and to receive the same benefits in the work place. We want to see an end to the common practice that when men and women are hired at the same time, the man is often given more assistance and offered better opportunities to advance their careers - we want to see women offered the same promotion opportunities as men.
4. We are calling for an end to managers and labels telling artists they need to wear provocative clothing to or flirt with executives to be successful.
Above all our hope is that 2018 is that year that bullying, misogyny, sexual harassment, assault and rape in the music industry stops. We want the business we all love so much to become a safe place for everyone to work.
Michelle, Yasmin, Chloe and Helienne