Friday, July 17, 2020

I was raped while working in the music industry. It must finally protect women | Michelle Thandekile | The Guardian

I loved my exciting job – until I was traumatised by an assault. This male-dominated business has some soul-searching to do

A handful of people know of what happened to me, years ago working in the music industry. It’s an aspect of my life I’ve kept hidden until recently. I’ve had some career successes as a music publicist. I’ve loved the people I work with, I’ve loved the bands I worked on, I love gigs, promo trips, festivals, drinking. Aside from early mornings, I usually have a smile on my face. But six years ago, I was raped “on the job”, and it has led to years of chaotic mental upheaval that I’m just now painfully reckoning with, two years shy of my 30s. My experience is not unique.

The music workplace is rich and varied. The classic four white-walled office where the boring stuff happens, gorgeous restaurants where deals are brokered over wine, interviewing your favourite artist in their favourite local boozer to give the piece that authentic air of pals just chatting about records. The industry is social and exciting and colourful and I find it beats the rigidness of the kitten-heel-skirt-and-smart-shirt combination that my mother wore Monday to Friday, nine-to-five during my childhood. Your 20s are the halcyon days working in the music industry – it’s like a second go at university but now with a wage, real bills and genuine responsibility.

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