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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jack Campin Sexual exploitation in folk (79* d) RE: Sexual exploitation in folk 18 Nov 20


Article on FB by Marit Fält:

Here is an open letter from Norwegian trad/folk musicians and dancers regarding sexual harassment in the scene which I thought some of you might find interesting. This is the article through Google translate with some corrections:

So far, it seems that in the book industry it is safe to harass others. Exposing them is no one's responsibility. " Author Agnes Ravatn's Sunday comment in 'Aftenposten' newspaper is all too recognizable. Also for many in the folk music and folk dance environment.

For some of us, it is a shock that sexual abuse and harassment occur to a large extent in our own environment. Many have nevertheless experienced varying degrees of harassment, which in total constitutes a pattern. A pattern that we must open our eyes to, a tradition we should have killed a long time ago.
But none of us have ever seen or heard anyone in the scene warn about this. Now the time is ripe. With this text, we come together around this one issue: To make the folk music and folk dance environment a safe arena where everyone should be able to participate equally freely - without restraint.

Harrowing stories emerge
We are a small environment with voluntary teams, practitioners, educational institutions and workplaces. It is an environment which exists in social situations where different generations meet, an environment often including alcohol. Body contact in traditional dance is a natural part of our social gatherings. It is also an environment with focus on learning.

We experience it by and large as a positive environment. There are strong social bonds, people meet in common love for and interest in folk music and folk dance. But in parts of the environment, a man-heavy and patriarchal way of thinking and behavior is still dominant.

Doubtful and vulgar behaviors and verbal statements are often discussed and explained away with laughter and humor. We find a cultivation of individuals and give them permission to behave differently than others.

In recent years, a number of shocking stories have emerged about women who have been subjected to rape or attempted rape. Which without warning has revealed very noisy and unpleasant approaches and experiences. Some have also been exposed to verbal harassment, violence and other humiliating experiences.
Many of those who have performed these actions have different roles. Some have positions and power that make the threshold for reporting particularly high. Who will then warn and "destroy" an otherwise fine environment by downgrading the reputation of individuals? Moreover, the environment is so small, that one might find that one sees/meets the person in question for years to come, at competitions and festivals.

We are also aware that men have been exposed to harassment from women, but to a much lesser extent. Dark numbers can be large here and should be investigated.

We need stronger measures to be taken
Like the authors, (there seems to have been a discussion regarding sexual harassment in the literary scene in Norway) there are few folk musicians and folk dancers thatare also part of a common system that one can naturally warn and sanction. We rarely have a safety representative or an elected representative to turn to. And what should the sanctions be?

In connection with the #metoo movement in 2017, Folkorg (folk music and dance organisation) sent out guidelines for sexual harassment and abuse. We need stronger measures. A professional device that maps the scope, and adds a low-threshold offer for notification that can take care of both those who are exposed to harassment and abuse, and those who carry it out.

We urge the Norwegian Center for Folk Music and Folk Dance, with its overall organizational role above the field of folk music, to initiate immediate measures. We need a strategy on behalf of Folkorg, the Norwegian Youth Association and other folk music organizations. Preferably in consultation with Creo.

We need the environment to acknowledge that this is happening, and intervene. We need a deep dive into this and measures to secure the future we wish for future generations in folk music and folk dance. Only in this way can we both uncover these behaviors, and know to what extent and in what forums this happens. Not least, we can make the whole environment aware and responsible.
Those who sign the article have not necessarily been exposed to direct or serious #metoo experiences themselves. But they support those who have:

(Look at link for the names)




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