Posted on June 19, 2019 at 12:31 am

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Nearly 70% Women In India’s Music Industry Face Sexual Harassment

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Nearly 70% Women In India’s Music Industry Face Sexual Harassment

NEW Survey Indicates Nearly 70% Of Women In India’s Music Industry Have Faced Sexual Harassment

Harassment is something that women go through in every industry every day. Speaking up usually is not an option because they are the ones who get blamed for everything. Being pretty and confident seems to be a crime and the punishment is the harassment. What stops a woman from speaking up and reporting it? Well fear of losing a job, fear of wrecking their reputation, and the world judging them. The Indian music industry is in the limelight for sexual harassment. #metoo movement is bringing changes in the world, but India is still struggling to accept the fact of women being harassed. India is a male dominant country where a woman’s opinion is based on what her father, husband, boyfriend or son thinks. It’s sad that even working women struggle to speak up. instead, they suppress it. But there are women who are speaking up and its time when the world should listen to what they have to say, including India!

A nationwide survey conducted by Indian-American singer-songwriter Amanda Sodhi takes a look at the nuances of sexual harassment women face within India’s music industry. Over 100 women from India’s music industry have taken this survey, and the results are rather unsettling –

* 69.52% of women from India’s music scene indicated they have faced some form of sexual harassment.

* 46.67% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate comments, either verbally or via messages
> 44.76% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate touching/patting/hugging/kissing/ brushing against the body
> 35.24% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate staring/scanning up and down
> 26.67% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of sexual statements/questions/anecdotes
> 23.81% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of attempt(s) to purposely set up meetings at odd hours in non-professional settings (i.e. bar, home)
> 21.91% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of propositioning of work/collaboration in exchange for hooking up/dating/sexual favors
> 6.67% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment in the form of sexual assault
> 1.91% of all respondents have faced sexual harassment but did not specify the form

* Based on the collective responses of women who were sexually harassed, predators were identified as belonging to the following facets of the Indian music industry –

> Musician – 25.77%
> Music Composer / Music Producer – 24.54%
> Event / Gig Organizer – 18.41%
> Other – 12.27%
> Singer – 9.82%
> Talent Manager- 7.98%
> Lyricist – 1.23%

(Please note the total percentage is higher than 100 because many women were harassed by multiple people from the Indian music industry and/or predators don multiple roles)

Women who have faced sexual harassment felt afraid to report incidents for the following reasons, ranked from highest to lowest – they didn’t think reporting incidents will make any difference, they were afraid of losing out on work opportunities, they were afraid of safety, they were afraid of being judged, they were afraid of legal issues, they were afraid of being labeled as a trouble maker, they were afraid no one will believe them. 32.9% of women who have experienced sexual harassment did not report incidents out of fear of losing out on work opportunities.

Among women who have experienced sexual harassment within the Indian music industry, the vulnerability can be ranked from highest to lowest in this order – singers/singer-songwriters, musicians, music producers/music composers, lyricists, artist managers, people in the business side of music and sound engineers.

* Among the 18-25 age group, 75% have experienced some form of sexual harassment, whereas in the 26+ age group, 66.67% have experienced some form of sexual harassment – this hints at the possibility that sexual harassment might be more rampant within the Indian music scene today than it was before.

* Irrespective of whether they have or haven’t faced sexual harassment, 70.5% women think the prospect of a physical and/or romantic relationship is a motivating factor in male musicians/composers/music producers agreeing to work with newer female artists.

* 97.1% of women in music think the Indian music industry should have initiatives/organizations/committees to handle #MeToo incidents and take action.

* 70.5% women do not think platforms that cover the Indian music industry have done a decent job of covering #MeToo incidents within the Indian music industry.

“Having faced sexual harassment within the music scene several times over the past few years, I felt it was important to collect data regarding the experiences of other women because there haven’t been any numbers on the table about how rampant sexual harassment really is within the Indian music scene,” said Amanda Sodhi.

“I sincerely hope this information lends itself to a meaningful dialogue so both men and women can be educated about sexual harassment and safety measures are put in place. When I was conducting extensive research to administer this survey, I could barely find 400-500 names of women active in the music scene, nationwide, to send the survey link to. It’s sad that we can’t even offer a safe work environment to such a tiny group! Since fear of losing out on work opportunities was one of the top 2 reasons to not report incidents of sexual harassment, I hope female artists who are doing hundreds of shows each year can perhaps pledge to employ X number of women in the year for X number of shows – whether it be as opening acts, musicians or sound engineers – in essence, affirmative action that empowers women to speak up without worrying about losing all employability in an industry that is dominated by men. I’m also planning on rolling out a closed Facebook group for women in the music scene, but I cannot share details about this at the moment.”

One of the first sincere attempts to collect detailed data regarding this sensitive matter, this seems like a solid initiative. Let’s see if this sparks a constructive dialogue to put safety measures in place within the music industry. Let’s face it – when the #MeToo movement broke out, even though several names from the music scene were called out – i.e. Kailash Kher, Anu Malik – none of them seemed to have faced any consequences.