I feel the unsavoury topic of sexual assaults at festivals needs to be addressed. Talking about sexual assault brings the same challenges, of awareness and communication, both inside and outside the boundaries of a festival - it ranges anywhere from taboo (I can only imagine how many incidents go unreported) to sensationalist, scaremongering headlines. I'm conscious that by sticking my head above the parapet I risk offending - but in the spirit of The Secret Garden Party and what we hope it stands for, writing this is a risk worth taking.
I was obviously caught off guard and in shock, so my response was to give him a weirded out, unimpressed look, ignore it and carry on with my night. After a period of reflection, I won't lie I regretted not doing anything more and slightly felt like a hypocrite. Why didn't I pick up his drink and pour it over him? Why didn't I shout abuse at him how it's not okay to a misogynistic pig?
In an ideal world, stuff like this wouldn't be happening. I know that might be too much to ask, no one can control what people say. Just respect the staff of the places you visit. Stop harassing them if they are clearly not interested, and for the love of God leave the 16 year olds alone, making them uncomfortable is far from a joke. Respect the staff. That isn't too much to ask.
When I was 17 years old a man pulled over an articulated lorry on a busy road to hit on me. I can't be sure, but I think that's when a lifetime of being hit on constantly began. Now wait - before you think "ugh, what is this woman complaining about now?" I'm here to explain why women need to stop thinking other women are bragging when they tell these stories.
When you're a teenager and trying to fit in 'feminism' is almost like a dirty word, so if you're radical you label yourself a 'humanist' because while you don't really understand what feminism means, judging by the reaction of your peers it's not 'cool' and it certainly isn't sexy. Now at 21 years of age I couldn't find one female friend or family member who doesn't label themselves as a feminist, and most of the women in my life have been on the receiving end of some kind of sexual violence at one point or another.
Each individual jeer or catcall might appear trivial, depending on your viewpoint. But they accumulate. They make a bigger statement about a woman's place, about who is permitted to comment on her body and its desirability, about what she's in the world for, and what's waiting for her if she puts a foot wrong.
I am done with this. I am done. Kesha has received the most cruel of all imagined conclusions, and her courtroom sobs are a warrior cry to all who suffer quietly, swallowing their trauma back down their throats. We can't be what we can't see. When one speaks out, she inadvertently gives permission to the rest of us. Let's speak out. We are stronger together.
The report on sexual harassment in schools found that of 2,000 British women, 22% experienced some kind of harassment at school including: sexual touching, groping, flashing, sexual assault or rape. It was reading that statistic which triggered the memories of my bruised bum cheek - and not being able to sit down properly for days - to come flooding back to me.