As a teenager I used to go to basic clubs mostly because my friends went but I hated it, the top-40 music and the club culture were the main reason to go out and to hit on girls/guys and get hooked up at the end of the night. During that time I experienced sexual harassment, abuse and a guy raped me while I was sleeping at an after party. These constant traumatic experiences developed PTSD within me.
When I found the techno scene I felt like I belonged, the dance floor was home to me and the friends I met through the scene became family. And it was amazing that the main motivation to go to a show was to enjoy the music and dancing or at least it seemed like it. I felt free and safe in this environment and I became a dedicated two-step dancer. However, by now already two times men have raped me and still a lot of the time I go to raves I experience sexual harassment.
First time a guy raped me, I think I got spiked or just too high and ended up leaving the club with a guy who was driving us to a hotel near by and raped me, I believe he must have been sober. I tried to convince myself that it was just a drunken hook-up but I have no memories of going there and I had lost all of my stuff in the club already including my keys and phone so how could I ever have given consent in that state. I remember trying to report this; I went to my doctor and told him what happened but he advised me to got to the ER which I never went to because I had a panic attack and hurried home instead. My PTSD got triggered again and I had a manic episode for the first time. Later I was diagnosed with manic-depression which I think was triggered by that event. Despite this I still went clubbing because after all it still was like a home to me.
At some point I got interested in learning how to mix and got introduced to an older man who was a promoter/Dj in a club and he offered to teach me. We practiced at a club he was working in. It was so motivating to get better at mixing so I kind of was blind to whatever was happening and ignored that I was actually experiencing sexual harassment from him, like touching and comments about my looks etc whenever we had a practice session. We also went out often after practicing and had drinks together and whenever he got drunk he became even more touchy and at some point forced himself to kiss me.
After that I said that I just wanted to be friends with him and distanced myself from him for a while. But I missed playing and I did not have any place to practice and could not afford to buy my own stuff so I got in touch with him again. For a while he did act normal but eventually started to harass me again. I told him again to back up and he did for a while but then it started again. It continued like that few months – every now and then he crossed the line but I tolerated the harassment from him because I wanted to practice mixing. A good friend of mine warned me about him and said that I should be careful with him. I noticed all the red flags and I always felt uncomfortable with him but again the passion for mixing and music made me ignore the problem.
Until one night it finally escalated. I went to a club with a guy I was seeing back then and the predator was there as well. We were all hanging together but he got very jealous and possessive towards me and kept giving me drinks although I was already drunk, you know like over that point you don’t notice it anymore. At some point I totally blacked out and I have blurry memories of us leaving the club together and the next thing I woke up next to him without any clothes on. Afterwards I got some flash backs about the night, that I wanted to get home so we took an Uber together and instead of dropping me home we went straight to his place and he raped me while I was laying in bed completely passed out.
Afterwards I texted him asking what happened and he got defensive right away. He claimed that there was a consent. He even said “sometimes it happens, that friends end up hooking up” and got very offended when I said I was way too drunk and do not remember anything about it. Later I blocked him but did not report what happened. I guess because we were “friends” and it was back then unclear to me what actually happened and I was questioning myself and the narrative. It was easier to cope with it by being in denial. Luckily I was already going through therapy so I instantly received help to process what happened.
After these traumatic events, I still continue going to raves as I still feel like I’m at home on the dance floor. However, I feel like I have to be very careful, not get too drunk/high or I need to have a buddy with me to kind of look after me which sucks. Rarely straight guys have to think of these things. I also love to go dancing just by myself but whenever I go I feel tense and have to be cautious. It takes a big part of the fun out of such a precious thing to me. Luckily, some clubs and raves have succeed in creating a safe place though. These places usually are QUEER clubs/parties which have strict door policy and safety measures. I believe that the #ForTheMusic movement will raise awareness about this big problem we have in our otherwise so liberating and amazing scene and I hope it can help create safer places for everyone to enjoy music and dancing without fear.