Male DJ Experience of Harassment

As a male DJ I’d say on average, minor sexual assault (groping etc) happens to me 3/4 times a year. I play in smaller venues, bars etc with little security so I’m usually on my own in an easily accessible DJ booth. I’m not a small guy so I guess I don’t feel threatened in the way a girl might feel, and my tactic is to try to laugh it off when it happens. Only in 10+ years of playing out have I asked security to intervene when a girl was being sexually aggressive towards me. Security spoke to her and she stopped but they didn’t remove her.

Taken Advantage Of

When I was 17/18 I was in a club and unfortunately I had taken a dodgy pill and was starting to pass out and go in and out of consciousness while this was going on there was a guy that began to feel me up, dry humping me, going in to kiss my neck etc in any other situation it would have been fine I could have responded appropriately but he knew I wasn’t in a place where I could respond appropriately because of the state I was in and the fact I wasn’t really conscious. Out of all the sexual assault cases/harassment this is nothing but wanted to share to let you know that it does happen to males too.

For a bit more context I was just on the dance floor trying my best to stay standing I was absolutely not coming on to anyone, I had much more important things to focus on

Unwanted Attention in Berlin

I am a man and this is my story. This was about 4 years ago when I was still quite new in Berlin. I went to a well known venue with my friends on Sunday, and I guess I had Monday off so I decided to stay to experience a closing once while my friends left. Later I was sitting in the back of the room. At this time it’s always quite full so people were dancing in front of me, but the space next to me was free. A man came and sat down next to me, quite close and started rubbing his ass on me. I didn’t think much of it and moved over to make him space, but he just moved with me. I thought “ok this is weird” and got up and left, no big deal so far. I went to another area where you can sit on a bench. where somebody was already sitting and sat down next to them. A few minutes later I see the guy from before coming, ass first, trying to sit down on my lap. I was like “ok he didn’t get the hint” and pushed him away before he could sit down. That’s when he totally lost his shit.

So to set the scene I’m about 190cm so not too small either but this guy was easily over 210cm and about double my weight in muscles. And he started shouting in very broken English “I’M NOT GAY! I’M NOT GAY” and other stuff I couldn’t understand. Thankfully I saw somebody I knew and just went to them. But then I remembered that I was all alone in this dark club and this guy could overpower me easily in whatever corner if he wanted. And he was clearly not the most stable person when he reacted in this way when he felt that somebody was suggesting he was gay when rubbing his ass on other men. So I decided to leave.

Thankfully this didn’t affect me too much in the long run, I almost forgot about this incident in fact as incidents like this are incredibly uncommon for me, it just opened my eyes to what it feels to be powerless in such a situation, something probably every female looking person does experience all the time.

I have called out behaviour like this to that specific clubs security before when I saw it happen. I don’t know why I didn’t when it affected me personally.

I hope we can change this together so when clubs reopen we hopefully find ourselves in a better and more inclusive future.

Misogyny, Harassment and Assault as a Female DJ

I had my first gig in 2013, my female friend who ran a successful night in Birmingham offered it to me and I was instantly met with misogyny. I was offered a residency after my first gig there, but the male’s of the crew made sure I didn’t get a set in the main room.

After a few weeks I was offered a gig in another club. I planned it for weeks and played to a packed dance floor. After I finished I walked away from the decks and a male DJ who was playing after me grabbed my arm aggressively and said “you do realise you only got this gig because you are eye candy?” I’ll never forget that crushing feeling and how hurt I was that weeks work meant nothing.

After that I was often offered gigs, but always had male DJs coming up, turning the EQ’s when I was playing, taking over my tracks and complaining about levels (even though they were fine). There was a group of male DJs in Birmingham who took special offence to me being a female techno DJ. Publically declaring that I was a ‘fake arsed DJ whore’ just because I was getting offered more sets than them. Even called a mediocre techno bitch who wore lipstick – for no other reason than I was getting gigs.

The first time I had a big gig at the Rainbow, the DJ after me came up on the decks, grabbed my breasts really hard – and spat in my ear ‘ that’s our little secret eh?’…. my boyfriend at the time was on the dance floor – I was scared to tell him because I thought he might kick off and ruin my first big opportunity but by not telling him I felt like I was agreeing to this dirty little secret.

It deflated me. This went on for years.

I started running my own nights around 2015. At first I was often finding male DJ’s refusing to work with me, often asking to speak to my partner when it came to technical set ups or DJ equipment. I was pushed into a toilet by a bouncer at the start of one night – aggressively pushed against the wall and offered a note with a line – like some sort of bribe. I was terrified when he was pushing himself up against me – and only stopped when someone came in the toilets.

When I started running my latest night it was started, and still is run by myself and another girl. I still get resistance from ‘some’ men, still looked at like some kind of joke at times and even when booking big names and popular DJ’s, a selection of men will refuse to come, just because its my party. I barred someone recently because of his attitude to women at our nights, touching them up mostly- he publicly went on Facebook saying our nights weren’t ‘inclusive’ and we were a bunch of stuck up bitches….the amount of people that had sympathy for him was insane. Yet totally ignoring the whole reason why he had been removed.

In the end it’s made me stronger and made me want to achieve more.

The High Cost of Meeting Your DJ Hero

I met a very famous techno DJ in the UK in 2004, when I was a teenager. I was a huge fan of his and was excited to see him play in my favourite club with a group of friends. A female friend and I were dancing in front of the DJ booth where we caught the DJ’s eye. He said: “I’ll see you ladies later.”

We would regularly stay in the club after the night ended, where we would have a drink and decide what to do after. On this occasion, the DJ joined us and started chatting to me and my female friend, before inviting us back to his hotel for an after party. Excited, we agreed and asked if we could bring our friends.

The DJ said we could bring our guy friend, who was standing there with us, and that the others could join later. We got in a taxi together and it was so exciting. I was a real music nerd so I was asking him all these questions about his tracks. We were having the most amazing chat. It was all so surreal. It felt like one of those bucket list moments when you meet your musical heroes.

When we got back to the hotel, we went up to the DJ’s room and he ordered a couple of bottles of red wine for us to share. We were chatting about music and politics and just laughing a lot. We were probably there for a couple of hours, just drinking wine and chatting. I remember the sun coming up and feeling really happy — like ‘this is amazing, what a wonderful, wonderful experience’.

All of a sudden, I felt extremely tired, and like I had to close my eyes. I went over to sit on the bed, where I passed out. The DJ asked my male friend to leave soon after I passed out, and he complied, leaving my female friend and I in the hotel room.

The next thing I recall was someone touching me on my side. I opened my eyes and remember feeling really disoriented. I saw the DJ standing in front of me, completely naked and with an erection. Before I could say anything, he kissed me and shoved his tongue down my throat. I was really shocked. I made it clear I didn’t want that.

The DJ moved away from me, and I told my female friend that we needed to go. As we began to gather our things, the DJ went crazy. He sat on the bed, pulled the covers over his bottom half and started insulting me. He was shouting, insulting my appearance — it felt like he was just trying to grab on to anything he could to attack me.

I remember thinking ‘this is really surreal, I’m having an argument with this famous DJ, who’s old enough to be my dad and is naked in bed in front of me’. When it was clear we were leaving he gave me this crazy stare, it was almost cross-eyed — like he was trying to wish death on me. It was really intimidating. He angrily said ‘I never want to see you again’ as I left the room. My friend and I left the hotel and I went to meet a friend at a nearby after party, who I had called crying. 

The incident has had a lasting impact on my life. I missed a lot of school afterwards, in my A-Level year. I felt like such an idiot and really blamed myself for being so naive. It was like I’d all of a sudden grown up and seen the world for what it was. It really affected me for a few years. Before this happened, I wanted to be a DJ and had been saving up to buy decks — but I felt like I’d fucked it all up before it even started. I was worried about running into him in person, and him shouting or getting angry at me. I really felt like he would have the power to say ‘remove that girl from the bill’ or ‘blacklist her’ if he ever saw my name on a line-up, which sounds ridiculous now. But I really thought he was that powerful, and at that time, he was.

I had put the incident behind me until recently, when I noticed other allegations circling online about the DJ. For years I thought I was the only person he did this to, but now I realise I am not alone.