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News |  20 May 2019 17:11 |  By RnMTeam

Nearly 70 per cent women in Indian music industry have faced sexual harassment

MUMBAI: 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. About 69.52 per cent 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, 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. 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 for such a tiny group! Fear of losing out on work opportunities was one of the top two 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," She 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 per cent 
-  Inappropriate touching / patting / hugging / kissing / brushing against body - 21.56 per cent
-  Inappropriate staring/scanning up and down - 16.97 per cent
-  Sexual statements/questions/anecdotes - 12.84 per cent
- Attempt(s) to purposely setup meetings at odd hours in non-professional settings (i.e. bar, home) - 11.47 per cent
- Propositioning of work/collaboration in exchange for hooking up/dating/sexual favors - 10.55 per cent
- Sexual assault - 3.21 per cent
- Not specified - 0.92 per cent 

The survey further revealed that predators belonged to the following facets of the Indian music industry:

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

Besides, 72.6 per cent 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 per cent
- They were afraid of losing out on work opportunities. - 16.98 per cent
- They were afraid for their safety. - 12.26 per cent
- They were afraid of being judged. - 11.32 per cent 
- They were afraid of legal issues. - 11.32 per cent
- They were afraid of being labeled a ‘troublemaker.’ - 10.38 per cent 
- Not specified - 10.38 per cent
- They were afraid no one would believe them. - 6.60 per cent

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 per cent have experienced some form of sexual harassment, whereas, in the 26+ age group, the percentage was 66.67% per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of women in music think, the Indian music industry should have initiatives/organizations/committees to handle #MeToo incidents and take action.

70.5 per cent 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.