Survey Indicates Nearly 70% Of Women In The Indian Music Industry Have Faced Sexual Harassment

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The #Metoo movement India seems to have hit a brick wall, well known actors/producers and sports figures who have all been named by alleged victims are still no closer to being bought to justice.

One person who is refusing to give up the fight and ensuring women’s concerns are heard is Indian-American singer-songwriter Amanda Sodhi. Amanda created a survey and sent it out to all the women involved in the music industry from India about sexual harassment. All the women that took part were from India’s music industry, and the results are rather unsettling,  69.52% women from India’s music scene indicated that they have faced some form of sexual harassment.

Speaking about what led her to do this survey, Amanda Sodhi said, “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.”

“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,” Sodhi added.

The survey details are as below:

The various incidents of sexual harassment can be broken down into the following categories –

– Inappropriate comments, either verbally or via messages – 22.48%
– Inappropriate touching / patting / hugging / kissing / brushing against body – 21.56%
– Inappropriate staring/scanning up and down – 16.97%
– Sexual statements/questions/anecdotes – 12.84%
– Attempt(s) to purposely setup meetings at odd hours in non-professional settings (i.e. bar, home) – 11.47%
– Propositioning of work/collaboration in exchange for hooking up/dating/sexual favors – 10.55%
– Sexual assault – 3.21%
– Not specified – 0.92%

The survey further revealed that predators belonged 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%

Besides, 72.6% women who have faced some form of sexual harassment did not report the incident(s) because of the following reasons/fears –

– They thought reporting incidents won’t make any difference. – 20.76%
– They were afraid of losing out on work opportunities. – 16.98%
– They were afraid for their safety. – 12.26%
– They were afraid of being judged. – 11.32%
– They were afraid of legal issues. – 11.32%
– They were afraid of being labeled a ‘troublemaker.’ – 10.38%
– Not specified – 10.38%
– They were afraid no one would believe them. – 6.60%

Among women who have experienced sexual harassment within the Indian music industry, 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, the percentage was 66.67%. 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 Indian music industry have done a decent job of covering #MeToo incidents.

One of the first sincere attempts to collect detailed data regarding this sensitive matter seems like a solid initiative. “I sincerely hope this information lends itself to a meaningful dialogue, so that, both, men and women are educated about sexual harassment and safety measures are put in place,” Amanda concluded.

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