The Statement Festival is a music festival for only women and transgender and nonbinary people in Gothenburg, Sweden. Cisgender men were excluded in order to make it a safe space. That is amazing. Cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth. Exclusion stings (and I’m still thinking about it), but it makes the point.
What’s amazing isn’t that they went ahead and did it, it’s imagining what it must have felt like to feel safe in a crowd like that. It’s not that I expect violence in every crowd; it’s a habit of vigilance and guarding against that you build up over time. A little extra weight that you carry with you everywhere, like at the bottom of your bag. You get used to it. You forget about it. The first time I really noticed it was when Eve Ensler posed the question during a V-Day event. It went something like: What if you woke up tomorrow in a world where there was no such thing as violence against women and girls?
In 2017, Police in Östergötland, where Bråvalla, Sweden’s largest and most popular music festival, is held, said four rapes and 23 sexual assaults were reported over the weekend. Emma Knyckare set up a Kickstarter Campaign to fund and 3,303 people supported it.
Statement Festival took place on Friday 31 August and Saturday 1 September at Bananpiren in Gothenburg.
What if you woke up tomorrow in a world where there was no such thing as violence against women and girls?