Coachella is a pervy grab-fest that sucks for women — so what’s being done about it?
So this story is darkly ironic. Teen Vogue sent out a reporter to examine a growing problem involving sexual assault and groping at Coachella. In the process of investigating at the festival, the reporter was groped 22 different times.
The trip was sponsored by SAFE, an app that lets you display up-to-date STD status to would-be partners.
The reporter, Vera Papisova, ended up interviewing 54 woman at the mega-festival. In total, every single one reported being groped. “I interviewed 54 women at Coachella, and they all said they had been sexually harassed,” Papisova relayed.
But according to Papisova, this went way beyond inappropriate booty-grabbing. Instead, this 20-something, attractive woman was flat-out stalked for various periods. Here’s one of those stories:
“One guy followed me across the field to the Mojave stage, where I was meeting a friend to see FIDLAR. When my friend left to see another band, I stayed behind, and this guy came up behind me and whispered, “You’re a goddess” and then rubbed his hands on my hips and butt. I knew it was the guy who followed me over earlier because I recognized his Pablo merch.”
Even worse, the staggering grope-count happened within a 10-hour period. Which is just a fraction of the time most people spend enjoying Coachella.
Here’s what happened when Papisova tried to get a front-row snapshot of David Byrne.
“On Saturday, I was front row at the Outdoor Theatre, leaning against the metal grate to take an epic photo of David Byrne to send to my dad. Someone behind me grabbed my butt with both hands. I didn’t see who it was, and I felt so uncomfortable that I gave up my front row spot and moved to the back of the crowd where I would have more space behind me. I never got the picture.”
Papisova said this kind of thing was completely common. So common that 100% of the people she interviewed reported some sort of harassment issue. “Of the 54 young women who spoke to Teen Vogue for this piece during the weekend-long event, all of them had a story of sexual assault or harassment that occurred this year at Coachella,” she wrote.
“Many of these accounts reveal patterns of predatory behavior harassers exhibited throughout the festival, and many of the reports I collected sound nearly exactly the same.”
Policing this stuff seems extremely challenging, to say the least.
Most of the grabbing and groping happens in densely-crowded areas, and short-term stalking is hard to enforce against. Coachella would have to create a police state to eradicate the behavior.
In some cases, fights can break out: women can hit back, identify a groper, or boyfriends can get pissed. But most of the time that’s not happening.
So why go to Coachella at all? It sounds like women are mostly willing to tolerate the bad behavior, rather than call off the entire show. Especially since not attending seems like the only surefire way to avoid getting harassed.
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