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Crossing a Line

It is never okay to touch someone without their permission.

Recently I was shown an article about a famous singer who was at a benefit concert. He was singing to a large crowd of mostly women. Yes there were men there too, but there was a huge crowd of women that were very close to the stage. As the singer often does when he performs he got very close to the edge of the stage. Many of the people there had their hands raised up in the hope that he might touch them. He also often takes flowers from them and other gifts. On this particular night like he often does he knelt down, and just as he did one woman grabbed his private part. Now this was not a brush of her hand, it was a grab. He quickly grabbed her hand and removed it. Because he was in the middle of his song he had to continue singing. 

Let me be clear about this it is never okay when someone touches someone else without permission. It is sexual assault. Since this happened many of his long time fans have gone on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even on Tumblr to talk about this. After that, other media outlets began to pick up the story. One article said this: “His crotch grabbed by a very eager fan.” An “eager fan.” First of all, whoever did this is no fan of his. Nobody who truly respects someone’s musical talents would touch them in an inappropriate way. This woman had met him before the event had started backstage. There are photos of her and what I would guess her friend standing next to the artist, and he is holding both of their hands. Unfortunately for this woman, she was not smart and admitted on Twitter that she was the one who touched him. 

Now if you know anything about fans, they are very protective of the artists that they like, especially this artist in particular. He is always telling others to “treat people with kindness.” When someone is saying this, they too expect to be treated with the same kindness and respect. Other articles talked about how protective his fans are, and how wrong it was for this woman to do this. I agree, because fan or no fan of this artist, it does not matter. We as human beings cannot accept this kind of behavior. If this had happened to a woman who was singing to a crowd of people the title would not read an “eager fan.” It would say that she was sexually assaulted at a benefit concert. 

As far as I know the people who were in charge of this benefit have not yet addressed what happened. I am not sure why, especially when this is a topic that unfortunately many people can relate to. Because of other recent events in Hollywood concerning sexual assault of actresses and actors, many people have started to talk about this publicly. Whether you are a woman who was sexually assaulted, or if you are a man, there is no shame in what happened to you. If you stay silent then you give the person who did this to you the power to continue to do this to other people. It is also one thing to talk about this, but it is another thing to take action. We should do more than to just talk about this subject matter. Anyone who does something like this without the other person’s permission should be in jail. This is not an easy thing to prosecute unless you have substantial proof, because it becomes a she said, he said thing. 

As far as this benefit concert, there is proof. There are several videos from different angles that show her touching his private part. Yes it is up to the other person to press charges, and whether or not this artist will do something about this we do not know this yet. We as a society cannot, we should not tolerate this kind of behavior from anyone whether it is a man or a woman who is doing the assaulting. The more that we speak out about this, the more likely that things are to change. My friend was sexually assaulted when we were at an event. We were all standing in a large crowd dancing to the music when I saw this guy grab her butt. I turned around to look at him, because I was shocked by what I had just seen. Then the guy grabbed her breast. It was not a "he accidentally touched her," he full on put his hand on her breast. My other friends saw what happened and we grabbed him. One of my other friends went to go and get someone who was working at the event. It was obvious that the guy had been drinking a lot, but it was no excuse for what he had done. Soon after that a very tall guy came over to ask what had happened. He told the guy to stay there and not to move. I started to explain to him what I had seen the guy do to my friend. He listened and then asked the guy if he did this. The guy just laughed and said, “So what if I did.” Just as he finished his sentence the other guy grabbed him by the arm and proceeded to drag him away. He told us that he would handle things and that the guy would be kicked out of the event. Unfortunately for my friend things happened so quickly that she never got to say anymore about it. Before we knew it the guy was being dragged away from us. I encouraged my friend to go after them, to say more, to do more, but she did not want to. She told me that she was okay as long as he got kicked out of the event. 

The next day I talked to my friend about what happened to her. I told her that she should have made them call the police. She agreed, but because she never did anything the night that it happened, she never knew his name, what could she possibly do about now. She called the venue where the event took place and asked to talk to the guy who helped her. She did not know his name either, so she had to describe what he looked like. Later that day the guy called her back. He told her that he had immediately removed the guy from the event and told him never to come back to the venue ever again. He too never asked the guy what his name was, so nobody knew who he was. Unfortunately for my friend she made a mistake by not getting the guy’s name. What we both knew was that this guy was going to do this again to another woman. That was just as difficult for us to think about as what had happened to her. Like I said it is very important for all of us to do more, to say more. 

We must start openly talking about this very difficult subject matter, so that these type of people do not have power over us anymore. When you cross a line there should be no question that this is wrong. We need to call it what it is. It is sexual assault, and it is never okay to touch another person without their permission. Sexual assault is defined as, “a form of sexual violence, and it includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration or drug facilitated sexual assault), groping, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the person in a sexual manner.” “Groping,” what happened to my friend was just that. What happened to this artist recently was that too. You should not be making light of something like this, it is no joking matter. RAINN has a national sexual assault hotline that you can call. They also have other articles on their website that can help you. Here is their link.

Please use it if you yourself need help, and encourage your friends to do the same if they have ever been a victim of sexual assault. My friend still talks about what happened to her today, and how she wishes that she had handled things differently that night. I hope that by what happened to this artist recently will encourage more victims to speak up about their experiences. We can make a difference if we join together against these kinds of things. The hashtag #MeToo was started by actress Alyssa Milano, and as of yesterday this hashtag has been tweeted over 1.7 million times in 85 countries. This was started to bring awareness to sexual harassment. Alyssa said, “Standing side by side, together, our movement will only grow.” Remember it does not matter if you are a woman or if you are a man. You do not have the right to touch another person unless they say that it is okay, and if you do you should go to jail. It is not enough that we talk about this, or that we write articles about this. These offenders must be properly punished for their actions, and until this happens nothing is ever going to change. 

Read next: Introduction
Lilli Adams
Lilli Adams

I'm a former flight attendant who still likes to travel. I love all animals. Please be kind everyone, because you never know what someone else might be going through. 

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Crossing a Line
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