Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fix up, young men

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    So if it’s going to be hard, think of some tactics. Approach another man in the nearby crowd, and ask for his support. Call out to the surrounding crowd and ask for support. Whatever you do, don’t leave a woman (or a gay man, or a disabled person, or whoever it is) to wear it all on their own.

    If you do just leave it quiet? Decide it’s better not to intervene? Well, that just reinforces to the perpetrators that their behaviour is perfectly acceptable. After all, no one is objecting, are they?

    I had a frustrating Twitter conversation this morning with someone who insisted any attempt to intervene as a man was “white knighting”, or just further male violence. I continue to think that bystanders should intervene as they are able to prevent sexual assaults.

    I agree: just one man, up against a posse of dickheads – that’s a dangerous situation. But could the ordinary decent men talking to each other on this thread perhaps talk about tactics for dealing with exactly that situation, and perhaps rehearse in their heads what they might do?

    Don’t start a fight, for a start. I’ve occasionally found that just being there, or more particularly, getting in the way, can work. But I’ve just driven home rehearsing along those lines too. I think defining the behaviour would help: “What are you doing man? That’s creepy. Do you want people to think you’re some sort of pervert? Just stop.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Defining the behaviour is good. I try to focus on the behaviour, not the person, as a defusing tactic. "You're really upsetting her." And I've done the thing of just standing with the person who is being targetted, and offering her or him support. "Would you like me to stand with you?" By no means foolproof, but better than nothing. 'Though again, in this sort of situation, just being female rather than male helps, because I don't look threatening. I also think that being older really, really helps.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Chamberlain, in reply to Deborah,

    Thank you for that post Deborah, I'm glad you made it.

    I agree there's a responsibility on men to step up in this situation, and especially those of us who are older can use the privilege which age gives us (if things go badly, security/police are probably going to take our side over younger, drunker guys).

    Russell, I suspect there's probably little point in arguing with the sort of person who uses terms like 'white knights'...

    London • Since Aug 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Lilian or Lilith? I agree it would be really interesting to support the artists to hold things up until the undesirables get ejected.

    Some artists do that already, but they're not always in a position to see things.

    Sometimes, ironically, they have to stop shows because the security guards are too violent. The front rows of a concert are a complex, physical place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • James Dunne,

    I wonder if more mightn't be done to encourage men to back up their friends when they're intervening. I've defused a fair few iffy situations simply by standing close behind the person being picked on, and it doesn't necessarily involve flying in fists a-blazing.

    In a semi-related context, I always thought the Ghost Chips campaign missed a trick by not acknowledging the "yeah, just crash here" voice as a legend too.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Lilian or Lilith? I agree it would be really interesting to support the artists to hold things up until the undesirables get ejected.

    This should not be up to the Band to sort out imo. These people haven't signed up for that job. Security is meant to be there for a reason ,They need to step up there presence and maybe we need more of them and less in the crowd. Either reduce the limit allowed in, making the area safer and not encroaching at such a level that those next to you cant see or help . Other option is increase the size of the venue without increasing the quantity of tickets. Crowd control. Like BDO, have a quieter area and
    put security on the entry to that. Maybe people could have the choice to snap a pic of offensive behaviour so it could go to a tent to be given to security to allow them to dispatch their staff into particular areas in force to show it's worthy of expulsion if caught. It's easy enough to distribute images to your security, surely?. That's off the top of my head but i'm sure it could be worked around.
    We don't go to Vector because of intimidating behaviour that left us extremely uncomfortable when security, who tried to help, left us all breathless when the ticket office let the guy back in immediately if he bought another ticket knowing of his crude rude violent behaviour. We have never experienced anything like that at the Powerstation or the Kings arms. Size seems to matter here.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The front rows of a concert are a complex, physical place.

    The whole world is a complex, physical place.

    I do think that while kids grow up as brotards, it's going to be hard to contain them, and if a gig attracts brotards, it'll rapidly have an even more unpleasant atmosphere with brotards, overbearing security and overbearing security battling brotards.

    Of course, we have an education system where many kids are kept away from the opposite gender in adolescence and encouraged to think of them as strange sexual creatures. Then they have a mandated culture that fetishes physicality and an anti-culture that channels transgressiveness into hate for difference.

    If you then follow this up by busting these kids with the full force of the law, then maybe (if they're middle class enough) they'll be chastened and go on to behave better as they mature. Alternately, as is a common outcome, they'll descend into the criminal justice system and the ranks of violent petty criminals.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Paul Stothers,

    Could technology be better integrated with security at these types of events.
    Patrons could download a ‘Stay Safe’ app.
    They could sound a silent alarm for security assistance.
    It could even integrate with surveillance footage.
    I know of similar apps for women, same thing but just on a localised event specific basis.

    Excellent idea, and use your ph camera alongside that. Or anyone use your camera if you notice vile behaviour. Pass the info on . If many sent pics through to security ,they could respond quickly and more photos could indicate the seriousness .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Alistair Guthrie,

    Appalling behavior .My heart sank with your report on Jean Hughes experience ,young or old no one should have to put up with that evil .
    My 18 year old daughter was at Laneway , had a fantastic time apart from being harassed & groped by pissed up male during Beachhouse. I was at Fat Freddies at Cable Bay with my 15 year old daughter & friends same night , she had her bum grabbed by pissed up young male ( I wasnt with her at the time)...What in the earth is going on in these dickheads minds..pissed up or not, no excuse, no respect..
    These in breds are never there for the music.
    So depressing.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to James Dunne,

    more mightn't be done to encourage men to back up their friends when they're intervening.

    Yeah, back up is pretty crucial. I guess I should cop to contributing to that theme of whether and how the onus is on men to step up, and it's based partly on the personal experience of being punched in the nose so hard I found myself on the ground wondering what happened. In hindsight, I've had most success being the voice of reason backed by friends, and least as a lone, outraged vigilante. I'd want to practice saying to strangers "we should do something about this, back me up".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    I'm with the "if you see something say something" crowd on this. Step up and get in the way if you see it, boys. Yeah, the aggressors might decide to start a fight with you if they can't torment a woman... but at least the bouncers know what a fight looks like and are usually willing to put a stop to it.

    FWIW I've seen Urthboy stop the music and ask security to remove an unpleasant male from the front row, and when his female accomplice objected she was made to accompany him (I assume they were booted out, but it was ~30s of an excellent gig and I was up the front having a good time, not following people to make sure they left). I expect Hermitude would have done the same, because it seems to be more of a thing in Sydney (or perhaps just with Elefant Tracks). But the ripping clothes off women is something I haven't seen at a gig I've been at, at all. Admittedly from a small sample, and I prefer less raucous gigs. I'm used to it just being lots of shoving, and weird space-taking "dancing" that jiggles the less aggressive out of the mosh pit.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Alistair Guthrie,

    no respect..

    And that's the crux of the problem. For whatever reason we've bred a generation or two of young men who have zero respect for their elders, towards women, for other people's property or for the law. This isn't a purely NZ problem, although our societal attitude towards alcohol plays a very big part.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    How many times can I say this? IT IS NOT JUST THE YOUNGER GENERATION WHO DO NOT RESPECT WOMEN. But sure if that helps you sleep better at night...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to Alfie,

    This isn’t a purely NZ problem

    It isn't a purely young men's problem either...unless you consider that the "problem" is not that men harass and assault women, but that they brag about it on facebook. Enough women have already told you that for untold generations men have been doing this: I haven't seen it much myself at gigs, since I've avoided gigs for a long time, but women say that it happened all the time. That means we have to look at some other source of the problem rather than alcohol or "respect for their elders". Now, what could the common thread be?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Joanna,

    How many times can I say this?

    Once should be enough. While you may have seen groping by gangs of older men at concerts, I can honestly say that’s not something I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve been to lots of great concerts over my lifetime and so far have never come across the sort of behaviour we’re discussing here. Nor did any of the women who accompanied me. Or maybe we just avoided bands with violent and/or mysogynistic lyrics?

    I’m 61 and was brought up respecting women, giving up seats for older people on public transport and generally having basic manners. Qualities which I hope I’ve passed on to my own children. There are bound to be some nasty older men around, but so far all the reports I’ve read about this type of behaviour in Germany, Sweden and now Auckland, have involved men under 30, and generally in their teens.

    And I sleep like a baby at night, thanks.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna, in reply to Alfie,

    All the reports you have read except for oh, I dunno, essentially every single woman who has taken the time to be ignored on this sausage party of a thread?

    The idea of apps to report abuse is laughable. Gosh I have no idea why women would be offended at being asked to provide proof.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • SHG,

    Here's a vision of the Laneway of the future:

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Jean Hughes, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Hurrah stephen - you've got it

    Mangere • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I have been going to gigs for over 20 years and there has always been a problem with people - especially guys - being dicks. It's not a 2016 problem or a "millennials" problem, it's a life problem.

    In 2009 I went to a Cribs gig where I got hassled by a number of middle-aged men because I was moving to the music which was disturbing them while they attempted to film their serious music idol Johnny Marr on their little 2009 cellphones.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Joanna,

    All the reports you have read except for oh, I dunno, essentially every single woman who has taken the time to be ignored on this sausage party of a thread?

    Sorry Joanna. I can only report of my own experience from hundreds of gigs, big and small, from around NZ and throughout Europe. If you choose to interpret my comments as being somehow anti-female, then I can’t help with that.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I think something to improve the convenience of reporting abuse is worth exploring, but only to save the hassle of finding a security guard and pointing them at the right person. If the problem is security not taking it seriously, there's an easier fix than an app.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Alfie, consider the possibility that prioritising your own experience over that of women who are experiencing the harassing will come across to a lot of people as a bit, well, you know...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to B Jones,

    I know what you're saying, but virtually every concert or festival I've attended has been as part of a group, almost always with a 50/50 gender split. If anyone had dared to grope any of the women in our group, the boys would have stood up for them.

    When Robyn referred to a 2009 gig I thought, 'maybe I have a different perspective on "recent". To me that means anything from 2000 onwards -- that's one of the pleasures of getting older.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • James Dunne,

    Perhaps it would be more constructive, bearing in mind the immutability of the past etc., to talk about what might be done going forward rather than quibbling over how many 2010s boofheads can dance on the end of a sexist pin from the 1980s.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Alfie,

    I’m 61 and was brought up respecting women, giving up seats for older people on public transport and generally having basic manners.

    Basic manners would involve listening to women when they talk about their experiences. We know that some men don't even notice this stuff when it happens right in front of them. I want men talking about this stuff, to each other, but not 'talking not listening'. As I've said before, we are the experts

    And you're younger than my abusive father would be if he were still alive, and all his peers who condoned his behaviour when they knew full well he was abusing his wife and his step-children. You're about the same age as the guys who always seem to think they can chat me up at the bus exchange late at night. So, young men were doing this when you were young, and men your age are still doing this. It's a continuum of behaviour which does not accept that women have the right to control what happens to them.

    We can say 'this stuff seems to be getting worse at this particular gig' AND 'this stuff has always happened'.

    I think something to improve the convenience of reporting abuse is worth exploring, but only to save the hassle of finding a security guard and pointing them at the right person.

    Some sports grounds, and only some, will publicise a number you can use to text security to let them know there's a problem. It means you can complain without anyone knowing WHO has complained. But it's part of a toolkit, and it relies on people knowing that non-physical abuse will be taken seriously.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

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