SXSW: Safe Space to Rock

Music, and the spaces it occupies, has often been a safe haven for those who feel they don’t belong—a place to express and feel without fear. But in 2016 alone, over 40 women were assaulted within a week at music festivals, an entire state told trans artists and fans they weren’t welcome in facilities, and LGBT nightlife was the center of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.


Our executive director, Jessica Raven, will be at SXSW today on a panel with Sadie Depuis, of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, and Jade Payne, of Aye Nako, to discuss harassment in the music scene and solutions to ensure the music community is a safe, accessible space for people of all genders and sexual orientations.

Kate Ida of femchord will moderate the conversation on tactics for combating harassment at music venues and festivals.

Sadie Depuis and Jade Payne bring insight as artists themselves and from their work to create spaces that are inclusive and safe for fans at shows. Jessica will share her experiences from CASS’s Safe Bars initiative that trains bar staff in bystander intervention strategies, and discuss how this work can extend to venues and festivals to promote a safe space for both artists and attendees.

“Unwanted sexual attention, including harassment and groping, is all too common in bars and clubs,” said Jessica Raven. “Sexual aggressors may use these environments to select, isolate, and even incapacitate their targets. Bar owners, managers, security personnel, and other staff are in a unique position to prevent sexual assault—and our Safe Bars program works to train them on tactics to stop harassment and make nightlife safer.”

Happen to be at SXSW (lucky!)? Here are the details:

Panel Details: Safe Space to Rock: Combating Harassment in Music
March 17, 2017 2:00-3:00 pm (CST)
Austin Convention Center, Room 15
We’ll also be covering the conversation on Twitter. Join in at @SafeSpacesDC between 3-4pm.