Study finds just 20 per cent of Australian women ‘always’ feel safe at music festivals

Image via Unsplashed
Words by Tara Smith

An Australian-first study.

A study into the perceptions and experiences of sexual violence at Australian music festivals has found that only 20 per cent of women ‘always’ feel safe at these events.

The Australian-first study, conducted by researchers at UNSW and Western Sydney University and published on The Conversation, included an online survey of 500 festival-goers. It also involved interviews with 16 individuals who had either experienced sexual violence, or responded to an incident at music festivals across the country.

It found that 20.4 per cent of women ‘always’ felt safe, and 68.8 per cent felt ‘usually’ safe at these events. In comparison, the figures for men were 47 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.

Factors that influence the perception of safety included drug and alcohol consumption of other patrons and overcrowding. Mosh pits were identified as frequent sites of sexual violence, due to the ability of the perpetrator to ‘get away’ with their behaviour in these crowded spaces.

As a result of this, women often said they changed the way they dressed, were less likely to inhabit crowded spaces and were often hyper-vigilant. In short, sexual violence is changing the way women act and fully participate in music festivals.

Notably, most participants (men and women) had experienced multiple incidents of sexual violence, and/or knew friends who had.

If you’d like to read more on the study, you can do so here.

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