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Degraded, harassed, assaulted: The horrifying reality of being a female musician.

Female musicians have had enough.

In the wake of an assault at a Newcastle hotel in New South Wales over the Easter weekend, several singers have spoken out about their distressing experiences with male audience members.

Brisbane’s Maz DeVita was performing with her band Waax at the Cambridge Hotel on Sunday night when she was “quite aggressively groped” twice by the same man.

DeVita explained in an Instagram post that she couldn’t figure out who he was because he moved so quickly in a large crowd of people.

 

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THANKS HEAPS MATE

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“But I hope you’re glad to know that I f**king felt it and it was extremely degrading,” she added. “I don’t know who you are, but you know who you are, and I want you to know that your disgusting behaviour is not welcome in our music scene or anywhere really. It is totally disrespectful and plain f**ked up.”

DeVita went on to say that musicians work hard and deserve respect.

“You wouldn’t grope someone in the grocery store, on the bus or in your workplace,” she added. “So what makes this situation any different? What am I to you? Last time I checked I’m a f**king human who deserves the right to her own body and the right to work in a safe environment.”

The Newcastle Herald reports that the incident is being investigated by the hotel’s management.

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Sydney’s Alexandra Lynn, who performs as Alex the Astronaut, saw DeVita’s post and felt she had to share her own experience. She played her first all-ages show in Adelaide over the weekend, and was approached afterwards by four boys who asked for photos.

“One put his arm around me and whispered in my ear that he had a crush on me (two times) and asked if that was okay to say,” she explained on Instagram. “When I said I’m gay, so yes, as long as he got that, he said it again. I am small, he was very tall he kept his arm around me the whole time and I felt uncomfortable.”

 

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Hi there, I had a great weekend. I played my first all ages show in adelaide and at the drop fest in Torquay. Both were great fun and I met some great people. I just need to say one thing because I saw @waax_band post and thought there was something I should share. 99% of the people I met in Adelaide were awesome, I got to meet some great young kids who were excited about space and it warmed my heart. One group wasn’t so fun for me. I walked off stage to the merch desk and four boys asked for photos (which is fine). One put his arm around me and whispered in my ear that he had a crush on me (two times) and asked if that was okay to say. When I said I’m gay so yes as long as he got that he said it again. I am small, he was very tall he kept his arm around me the whole time and I felt uncomfortable. His friend did the same thing and when I tried to leave got annoyed and when he asked to buy me a drink and when I said no thanks got cranky. Now I know they were probably having fun, they were probably drinking, and they were probably just being nice. But I walked away feeling yuck and worried they’d come back. I wasn’t sure if they were going to get more cranky with me. I go to shows to sing for the people, I work hard and I want to meet people but that makes me want to cry. I feel guilty and not sure what I’m allowed to say back. If you come to a gig be like the 99% of people to not only artists but any staff. There’s a way to treat other people and that wasn’t it. When someone’s talking to you because it’s part of their job to and you take it too far that’s not okay. Whether you’re a boy or girl (unfortunately this has happened to me with girls too but the vast majority are boys) and you ignore anyone’s body language or continue to hit on someone that seems uncomfortable that’s not okay. Having said that, I want to make sure to say I did have a fun show I hope all the people in Adelaide had fun and I loved meeting all the nice people. The venue was beautiful, @saintjacquesmusic and @lucyzola were amazing supports, the lion arts centre is an awesome venue with great staff and I’ll be back for sure. Rant over have a good day everyone

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“His friend did the same thing and when I tried to leave got annoyed and when he asked to buy me a drink and when I said ‘no thanks’ got cranky,” she added.

Lynn says she walked away “feeling yuck and worried they’d come back”.

“I go to shows to sing for the people, I work hard and I want to meet people but that makes me want to cry. I feel guilty and not sure what I’m allowed to say back.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne singer Kira Puru posted a message of support for DeVita.

“You’re amazing and I’m so sorry this happened,” she wrote on DeVita’s Instagram page.

On her own Instagram page, Puru revealed what had happened to her while performing in Townsville recently. She explained that she suffered from “crippling anxiety” from time to time, and just a few hours before her show, had a health scare which triggered a panic attack.

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From time to time, I suffer from crippling anxiety. Sadly it’s not at all unusual in this business. I’m currently addressing this without medication which can be taxing and yeilds varying results when I’m touring or under duress. The other day, a few hours before my show, I had a health scare which triggered a panic attack, leaving me pretty fragile and tender before having to perform at an otherwise stunning venue in Townsville. In the 18 hours or so I’d been in town, I had already been hollered at from cars 3 times. When I went on stage, I was on the verge of having another attack but decided to try and push through, hoping that the catharsis of performing would maybe help me out. When I stepped into the lights, everything was whirring and I felt pretty nervous that I might have a panic attack on stage. During the show, some guy from the crowd yelled out something about my “fat pussy” from in the pit. I was already having heart palps, my voice was shaky and my breathing short. Honestly, I don’t really give any fucks about idiotic men usually but when I’m at work and having a rough day already, it’s frustrating to not even be able to get through a 30 minute set without someone harassing me and commenting on my body. Fortunately I’m a fucking G and just called it out and dealt with it on stage but straight after the set I had a bit of an embarrassing meltdown/release triggered by that moment. There’s so many things I wanted to say about this but I think we can all just agree that this behaviour is inappropriate, disrespectful and entirely unwarranted. IT IS HARRASSMENT. Don’t bring a shitty, entitled attitude to any gig of mine or any show or public place for that matter. Don’t speak to women like they’re objects for your entertainment. Don’t say or do anything to me that you wouldn’t say or do to your own sister or mother. If you behave like a tool, YOU WILL BE CALLED OUT AND KICKED OUT. If you are with or near a stupid fucking gronk like this, call out their behaviour and make them accountable. If you can’t see why this behaviour is an issue YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM…

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“When I stepped into the lights, everything was whirring and I felt pretty nervous that I might have a panic attack on stage,” she wrote. “During the show, some loser from the crowd yelled out some s**t about my ‘fat p***y’ from in the pit.”

Puru says she called it out and dealt with it on stage, but straight after the set, had “a bit of an embarrassing meltdown/release triggered by that moment”.

“There’s so many things I wanted to say about this but I think we can all just agree that this behaviour is inappropriate, disrespectful and entirely unwarranted. IT IS HARRASSMENT.”

She warned that anyone who behaved like “a f***king tool” would be called out and kicked out.

“If you are with or near a stupid f**king gronk, call their behaviour out and make them accountable. If you can’t see why this behaviour is an issue YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM…”

Triple J host Bridget Hustwaite posted on Twitter that she was “absolutely disgusted” to hear about these female artists being harassed at their own shows.

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“I support you queens and I hope to see more people in our industry (particularly men) SPEAK UP and STAND UP for you! This is not on!”

Today on Twitter, Puru thanked everyone who had reached out and shown support.

“Though we have some way to go, it’s comforting to know that we are more supported and held by our community than ever, that this behaviour will be clocked, and abusers made accountable.”

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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