Earlier today we appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show on the BBC to talk about sexual assault, misogyny and bullying in the Music Industry. This is an issue that affects mostly women, but we are fully aware of men experiencing issues with harassment and bullying too.
While 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 felt that we simply had to stand up and end what is the culture of silence around the issue.
We are empowered because we are aware of many stories of severe abuse - these are not stories of knee touching - these are stories of predatory behavior, 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 because we wanted to let women and men know that you are not alone and that if you have experienced a sexual assault or have been made to leave your job because of bullying and harassment also that 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 behavior 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, those who have spoken up have been silenced, ostracized 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 organizations 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 of this kind of predatory or bullying behavior 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 individuals with sexual assault allegations made against them, being promoted knowingly- this needs 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 male 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 get on to the radio and for artists to not be told they should flirt with executives to get signed to a deal or played on the radio.
Above all our hope is that 2018 is that year that this misogyny, sexual harassment, assault and rape stops so that the industry we all love so much finally becomes a safe place for everyone to work in.
Michelle, Yasmin, Chloe and Helliene