We’re celebrating our birthday at Dr. Martens this year by highlighting creative individuals across the world who are originals in their own fields; whether that be art, music, or fashion. Dr. Martens Originals styles have become iconic over time, worn by authentic characters who embody rebellious self-expression. In these interviews, we recognise the creative individuals who inspire us, and find out who they are and what they stand for.
Today we shed light on 3 young girls who have raised the flag on sexual harassment at gigs. Find out more about Girls Against, and what they stand for below…
For those who don’t know Girl Against, can you explain who you are?
Bea: Girls Against is a campaign run by 3 intersectional feminists to fight against and (as best as we can) try and prevent sexual assault at gigs and music events. We are all teenagers aged 17 and 18 and run the campaign alongside our studies and other everyday commitments. When we first set up the campaign, our aim was to provide a support system for victims who perhaps felt uncomfortable speaking out about an experience they may have had at a gig. However, since our support has been growing we have been able to expand to get bands, venues and security involved in helping to combat these issues.
How did Girls Against come about?
Anna: Girls Against began in October 2015, following Hannah being sexually assaulted at a gig. We were all infuriated not only at the fact that at a place where we felt safest, our friend had been violated, but also that there was no conversation amongst the industry regarding this issue specifically at gigs. So, we decided to take matters into our own hands and start the campaign – and before we knew it had spread and the conversation had been opened!
How can people get involved?
Hann: There are loads of ways people can get involved! The most basic of which is following on all of our socials and keeping up to date with the work we’re doing and events we’re putting on. We also run an international ‘Girls Against reps’ programme which represents the campaign in their local area and getting more local venues and bands involved. We’re currently in the process of revamping the programme and expanding it so keep an eye out for applications reopening! We also sell our own merch from time to time which always sells out and makes a very cute addition to your outfit while also being a way to raise awareness of the campaign.
What should someone do if they experience sexual harassment at a gig?
Bea: If an individual experiences sexual assault at a gig, we would always urge them to tell someone. We are aware that sometimes telling security or a member of staff is scary, and that’s ok. Letting a friend know you feel uncomfortable may help. If you do feel comfortable telling security then we would also really encourage this, as they should be able to remove the perpetrator from the crowd and make the environment safer for everyone – we are working to make this a must. Bystanders also have a really important role, by helping victims who may be in a vulnerable position. We encourage everyone to look out for each other. Our twitter messages are also always open if people want to speak to someone about their experience.
Tell us about your relationship with Dr. Martens?
Anna: To me, Dr. Martens represents a community of people who are not afraid to be themselves or hide who they are. They signify strength, a history of fashion and I find myself pretty much only wearing them day to day.
Hann: Dr. Martens to me go hand in hand with how I got into music and how Girls Against met each other. They’re iconic shoes of music and a little of rebellion which is the same feeling I hope Girls Against reflects!
Bea: They’re everything I admire about fashion – strength, individuality, creativity etc. Dr. Martens have literally provided me with the coolest shoes for every situation in my life and, to be honest, I wouldn’t choose any other shoe. Plus, they’re the only shoes that can get me through mosh pits and come out even better on the other side!
What does 2017 have in store for Girl Against?
Hann: So much! We’re so excited with our plans for the campaign this year. We’re going to be expanding internationally with our reps and producing more merch. We’re also going to produce our first document advising security companies and venues on what their responsibilities are regarding the issue and ways to counteract it. We also have very top secret plans for our own event later this year…
And finally, what do you stand for?
Anna: We stand for all who have felt violated, uncomfortable, made to feel like it’s their fault, and for those who feel alone. We stand for speaking out against things which affect those around us and we stand for helping those who need support or someone to talk to. We stand for freedom and strength of all women and our right to have a voice and make a change!