New feature – Rape: treat the cause, not the symptom

// 24 July 2010

After the rape attacks on female festival-goers this summer, platitudes are not the answer, argues Amy Nicholson

Safety advice given to festival-goers often covers the basics. Don’t leave valuables in your tent, don’t let fires get out of control, don’t leave camping gas cans somewhere they might explode. Since the despicable attacks at this month’s Latitude festival, standard safety advice will seemingly also extend to, if you are a female, be afraid of enjoying yourself, moving independently or wearing clothes that reflect the gorgeous weather we were able to enjoy.

Like every July for the past five years, I was at Latitude this summer. When word filtered through of first one, then a second rape attack, I was horrified, incandescent with rage and mightily sad for the women in question. This is nothing noteworthy – everyone, both male and female, I was with responded in roughly the same way.

In fact, a particularly bilious discussion followed on the mob justice that could ensue were the perpetrator found.

And it is this emotional reaction that often ensues in private discourse, no matter what the context of the rape. Crystal Castles, who played at Latitude, stunned and shocked a certain proportion of the family-filled crows on Saturday evening when vocalist Alice Glass urged the crowd to find and castrate the perpetrator. (The set hit the news for other reasons. Alice left the stage early, cutting short the Castles’ set because she got groped by someone in the crowd. I can’t decide if this is ironic or just really depressing.)

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