Music NB offers intervention training for viewers in hopes of preventing sexual violence

Intervention training for spectators aims to make live music rooms safer.  (Catherine Harrop/CBC - photo credit)

Intervention training for spectators aims to make live music rooms safer. (Catherine Harrop/CBC – photo credit)

Music New Brunswick is fighting back against the notorious party culture of live music and hopes to empower those who host live music events to prevent or respond to incidents of sexual violence.

Music New Brunswick now offers audience intervention training developed by Project SoundCheck and presented by Sexual Violence New Brunswick.

The aim of the training is to show concert organizers, employees, security forces and volunteers how to intervene in situations of sexual violence.

The SoundCheck project was launched in Ottawa after research conducted at the Ottawa Hospital in 2014 showed that 25 percent of sexual assault cases treated at the hospital were related to a major event or festival.

Penelope Stevens, Music NB’s Industry Pathways program manager and member of Fredericton-based band Motherhood. said she’s seen firsthand as a touring musician that misogyny and bias are still present in the music industry.

According to Stevens, the association of live music with party culture sometimes leads to the use of drugs or alcohol to perpetrate violence.

Stevens said the music industry is doing a lot of good work to break away from this association with party culture. She has also experienced the benefits of bystander intervention training herself.

“You have the tools to tell when something doesn’t look right,” Stevens said. “Or maybe there’s something you need to investigate further and be able to know the approaches to approach a perpetrator or survivor and be able to handle the situation with grace and without further escalation. It’s all very subtle work, but having the tools, yeah, it definitely made a big difference.”

bang on photo

bang on photo

Andie Marks, project coordinator at Sexual Violence New Brunswick, said statistics on festivals or events are not available for New Brunswick, but cautioned that for a crime that often goes unreported, numbers can be misleading.

According to Marks, the training is divided into three sections. The first section defines sexual violence and helps the trainee understand what it might look like. Trainees then learn specific intervention skills and then practice those skills in scenarios.

“We want to give them the tools to step in and disrupt these behaviors in a way that feels safe for them,” Marks said Information tomorrow Moncton. “We want to empower them to use the different tools we give them to talk to people, ask questions or better support the people in the rooms.”

Her next session will be offered online on March 13 for those working in live music spaces and pre-registration is required through Music New Brunswick.


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