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Community accountability in local music: Soundtrack for Awareness

Last Friday folks from around town came together for the first Soundtrack for Awareness event at the Spill, a fundraiser that aims to raise funds for local non-profit organizations through music.

All proceeds collected at the event go towards a local cause. For the first show, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Center (KSAC) was the beneficiary. A total of $210 was raised.

Wayne Kennedy, a local events promoter, organized the event.

“Last year I did a couple fundraising shows. At the last one I got the idea to do charity shows every few months, getting the entire community involved. Every few months we will do a show, and every one will be about raising money and awareness for a local cause.”

Sexual assault is defined as being any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed by one or more persons upon another, including rape and unwanted touching. Conservative statistics document that one in two women and one in five men will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives. This is not to mention the rates of assault that trans-binary and non-binary people face, in which statistics are not as readily available.

Punk scenes and other musical communities that are seen as being alternative can have a higher likelihood of being discriminated against in direct proportion to the degree they are perceived as deviating from social norms.

In these communities misogyny and sexism may be more rampant because the degradation of the feminine is a widely culturally sanctioned indicator of masculine strength and power.

It is incredibly important to begin to dismantle these mentalities in all communities, these ones especially.

“To me it’s a good thing to do, to show that there are musicians that do care and watch out for each other. In music, especially in the punk community, there is sexism and misogyny. The point is also to show that musicians care and are not just assholes,” Kennedy commented.

However, good intentions and a lack of active effort to make the community inclusive is just another barrier in creating safe and equitable spaces for everyone.

Some local music scenes in Peterborough have a reputation for sexism, with many women and trans*/non-binary community members citing instances of physical, sexual and verbal assault.

A point of contention that arose was the lack of women and gender variant musicians in attendance at the show; two bands with female members were contacted, but neither could make it.

At an event where the purpose was to raise awareness around assault, more of an effort could have been made to include female/trans*/non-binary musicians. This also would have acted as a way of reclaiming the spaces and venues where assault is so common.

Lastly, it becomes difficult to endorse a show that aims to benefit and raise awareness around an organization like KSAC, when the record label of the organizer is “Folk You In the Face;” an uncomfortably clear reminder of sexual violence.

The Soundtrack for Awareness is a great cause that is worthy of support, and an excellent and accessible way for people to give back to the community.

The show would have been an excellent forum in which to address all communities who contribute to the epidemic of violence against minorities. The show was in a unique situation to bring to light problems regarding assault in the music scene.

Having someone speak about the organization being featured also would have been helpful in bringing awareness to the cause.

We look forward to seeing the cause grow, improve and begin to further support the minority populations these organizations aim to assist.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, KSAC is available for crisis support, individual counseling, groups and workshops, advocacy and accompaniment. They can be reached at 705-741-0260, or at 411 Water St.

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