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  • Writer's pictureNaomi Pohl

Testimonial from Anastasia Vtorova, an MU member who used our SafeSpace service

The establishment of the Union's SafeSpace service in the wake of the #metoo movement is one of my proudest achievements to date. I have personally received hundreds of reports of sexual harassment and abuse in the music industry, not just from MU members but from a wide spectrum of music industry workers and creatives. I have endeavoured to provide support, guidance and/or advice to everyone who has approached us and I have a fantastic team of colleagues who support me in this work and also take on cases. It is clear that we need a wholesale culture change in the music industry and this will take time, so we also have to put more immediate support and preventative measures in place. I am working on this within the music industry and also taking part in a Government-convened working group which is looking at establishing a regulatory body.

Anastasia Vtorova unfortunately had cause the use the Union's SafeSpace service and I assisted her in achieving a form of justice. Not legal justice, I should add. It remains the case that freelancers in the music industry often don't have recourse to tribunals and other providers of proper justice. I have become familiar with the term 'kaleidoscopic justice'; through SafeSpace, we seek to achieve a form of justice where possible that is survivor-led and we also campaign to stamp out sexual harassment entirely.

Most women who approach me via SafeSpace say that they want to prevent what happened to them happening to others. This is why we started our #ProtectFreelancersToo campaign; we want to ensure that what happened to Anastasia in the course of her work as a professional musician cannot continue to happen. The UK Government has recently made some commitments to changing the law which would be a major step forward and offer more protection and routes to justice. We will hold them to their promises.

Here is Anastasia's very kind testimonial in support of my campaign to the be next MU General Secretary:

"Naomi's experience, professionalism, knowledge, accessibility, encouragement and support for MU members are the key elements that are crucial for the position of the General Secretary of the Musicians' Union. Naomi personally assisted me in one unfortunate situation and was the spokesperson on my behalf. Naomi's assistance in the case reassured me that incidents involving sexual harassment can be and must be challenged every single time."

Thank you so much Anastasia.

I will not stop campaigning on this issue until workplaces in the music industry are safe for everyone, including our freelance community.

For further reading or to make a report to the Union's SafeSpace service see:

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