So unless you are a complete numpty or have had your head buried underneath sand for the last few days, you must have heard about the two females who claim that they were both raped at last weekend’s Latitude Festival. They are being investigated as separate incidents involving two different men, once incident happening on the Thursday evening and the other on the Saturday. Since the news was brought to the surface, articles such as this article from The Guardian have inevitably appeared, calling for improved safety regulations and prevention for incident such as this happening again, despite the fact that a rape is almost un-preventable unless every single person that attends a festival goes back to the 1930’s and has an individual 24-hour chaperone supervising them at all times to make sure they do get involved in any naughtiness. it is obviously a horrific shame that people we these sort of intentions attend festivals – especially when it is one with such a family-orientated basis – but rapes happen often in the real world and just because it happened at a festival, for many an escape from realism, it has escalated and escalated.
This isn’t even the point I am trying to get at, because I don’t want to sound like some sort of weird pro-rapist, but whilst rape incidents such as this see HUGE press coverage, deaths at festivals are kept very low-profile. I attended Glastonbury 2007 where someone died from a drug overdose, and not a word was uttered at the festival. It wasn’t until I got home and googled ‘Glastonbury 2007’ that I found the news story of the death. Sure, the story will still be in the news in the form of website stories, but I have never heard a TV news story or a radio news story about a death at a festival, please correct me if I am wrong. They tend to keep these kind of stories quiet because hey, no one wants to attend a music festival which saw someone kill themselves the year previous, but surely no one wants to attend a family festival where two girls got (nearly) raped?
Obviously, it is a great idea to promote safety awareness campaigns after a horrific and rare incident, but why are we not seeing an increase in drug awareness campaigns and why has there not been an increase in security at major festivals of recent? Nowadays at festivals people can easily smuggle drugs onto site due to the shoddy bag-check and if you have ever experienced a Sunday night at Reading Festival, you will know first-hand that there are never enough security. All I am saying is instead of promoting safety in specific areas such as risk of rape, why not just promote safety across the board, enforce a zero-tolerance policy on drugs at festivals and make sure there are ALWAYS enough security to go around. There are always going to be sad incidents, no amount of security could change that, but it’s worth a try.