Harvey Weinstein’s downfall has been a watershed moment. Inspiring individuals—particularly women—to speak out about their own experiences of harassment and assault, the resultant #MeToo campaign has helped remove high-profile offenders like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. from the screen. Nearly two months since the news of Weinstein broke, abusers continue to be rightly ostracized for their sexual misconduct.
The allegations don’t stop at the door of national entertainment companies. With individuals from all walks of life detailing accounts of sexual harassment and assault from within their own networks, victims have taken to social media to discuss the alleged abuses experienced in their own lives. Vancouver’s nightlife scene is no different.
The Red Gate Arts Society believes that although the media coverage around the issue has dwindled, the underlying issues that drive sexual harassment and assault in the city still need to be addressed. Creating a Town Hall event on consent and accountability, the organization aims to offer a space for promoters, performers, venues, and those who attend shows to have their say on how to create a more inclusive and safer atmosphere at events.
“The Red Gate Arts Society has been dealing with these issues since long before this situation exploded onto the front page, primarily from the point of view of our own responsibilities as venue operators, but also with an understanding that it’s an issue with the entire scene,” the group suggests. “We believe that these toxic behaviours are endemic to our entire culture and that the process of identifying and eradicating them […] has only just begun.”
The organization proposes that it is in a good position to create change in the nightlife scene as a whole. As a grassroots, self-organized space, it believes that, by establishing basic standards and protocols to deal with these issues, it can create a culture that will grow upwards to influence values in more mainstream venues.
The agenda for the Town Hall is yet to be set, but the group calls for input on the discussion by contacting them through their website or Facebook page, or by completing a short, three-question survey.
Here’s to a safer nightlife experience for everyone.
Town Hall Meeting: Consent and Accountability is at Red Gate Revue Stage (1601 Johnston Street) on December 20. Doors open at 7 p.m. More information is available here.
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