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Women in UK Music Industry Launch Stop2018 Campaign to End Sexual Misconduct

Stop Harassment
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"Above all our hope is that 2018 is that year that bullying, misogyny, sexual harassment, assault and rape in the music industry stops."

Coinciding with Monday's BCC Victoria Derbyshire special report on sexual harassment and abuse in the music industry, some of the women featured in the program have launched a campaign to address the issue head on. 

The Stop2018 campaign was launched by musician Chloe Howl, music manager Yasmin Lajoie and music supervisor Michelle de Vries -- all of whom were featured on the program -- as well as songwriter and musician Helienne Lindvall in order to "stand up and end the toxic culture of silence around the issue," as they wrote in a statement on their website. 

"We are empowered because we are aware of many stories of severe abuse," the statement continues. "These are stories of predatory behaviour, rape and assault usually on vulnerable persons by people in positions of power. As the journalist said on the show, she had interviewed many, many individuals in the industry with horrific experiences all of whom had been afraid of repercussions if they speak out."

The campaign organizers are calling for change in the music industry, listing out four specific demands:

1. That industry trade organisations such as UK Music set up a safe place where anyone working in the industry can speak in confidence knowing that they will not be the ones who have to suffer repercussions.

2. All music companies to rethink their strategies, and stop working with individuals and other companies who exhibit any predatory or bullying behaviour whether it be an employee, an artist, a producer, or a manager, a lawyer, a publicist or an agent or anyone associated with the business, however powerful and successful they may be. We are aware of organisations promoting individuals, knowing they they have had sexual assault allegations made against them. This has to stop.

3. We believe the lack of respect women receive starts at the very beginning of their careers and are calling for women to be paid the same as men and to receive the same benefits in the work place. We want to see an end to the common practice that when men and women are hired at the same time, the man is often given more assistance and offered better opportunities to advance their careers - we want to see women offered the same promotion opportunities as men.

4. We are calling for an end to managers and labels telling artists they need to wear provocative clothing to or flirt with executives to be successful.

The Stop2018 campaign follows somewhat similar efforts by women in Sweden and Australia's music industries, who have penned open letters standing up against sexual assault and gender bias. 

Of course, the United States is having its own cultural moment with the #MeToo movement in Hollywood following the dozens of sexual assault claims made against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Recently, the music industry has been under increased scrutiny as well with, perhaps most notably, recent rape and harassment accusations arising against Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. 

The Stop2018 campaign is encouraging anyone who has experienced sexual assault or bullying in the U.K. music industry and their allies to join their efforts. As well, it is offering counsellors to anyone who would like to speak with someone about their experiences. 

"Above all our hope is that 2018 is that year that bullying, misogyny, sexual harassment, assault and rape in the music industry stops," the statement concludes. "We want the business we all love so much to become a safe place for everyone to work."

Join the Stop2018 campaign here

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