The statistic that 97% of women have experienced sexual harassment is a difficult reminder of the nature of our society. The incredible voices that have been shared through this virtual vigil show that this abuse does not only manifest in extreme forms, but in smaller moments of gender discrimination and toxic male behaviour. ALL MEN have displayed these behaviours, be it intentionally or not. By thinking we’re not involved in the issue, the behaviours continue to exist. So it is down to ALL MEN, as the perpetrators of this age old harmful culture, to do the work and make change.
Behaviours are learnt - we are conditioned by our surroundings and the people in them. These ideologies of white male superiority stand upon a history of colonial power conquest, which even now permeate through all corners of society and culture; politics, industry, advertising, creativity and in social dynamics. Within this generation the paradigm shift toward equality is disintegrating these outdated traditions, but not fast enough. Despite progress, social change continually meets resistance by systems of governmental power.
The events & art world is both a space where these problems can continue to exist, or be a forefront of progress. As the co-director of the events platform Ker-Plunk and as an individual - we will call out harassment, however subtle and strive to make sure our events are safe and accessible for everyone. We will support, listen and learn from women’s experiences. We will educate ourselves and share it. Promote and champion female-led industries & creativity. Most of all treat everyone equally in order to fight against injustices for those affected by the patriarchy.
Just as this incredibly powerful virtual vigil has provided a platform to share and uplift the experiences of women, I believe music is one of the most powerful tools that exists to share perspectives, empathise and empower. Therefore, I implore you to listen to the Incredible Israeli-Persian singer Liraz's 2020 album 'Zan' ("Women" in Farsi) - Liraz explains the significance of the women in her family stating “I sing because of these women, to them, for them... They fought for their freedom, and I’m fighting for mine, telling the stories about them in my songs.” Moving forward, Ker-Plunk will be organising more events to fund-raise and support women across the world and in the music industry.
Ed Hanley / @edisedible
'The Virtual Vigil' is a series of perspectives, emotions and poems written in response to the current political climate. As a feminist art collective we want to use our space to empower the voices of those affected by gender based violence. In doing so, we hope to challenge existing narratives and teach men that they have a collective responsibility to speak up and call out inappropriate and violent behaviours. If you would like to take part in our virtual vigil, please feel welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images by Emily Mort.