Ripple Effect

Music PEI launches gender safety initiative

(left–right): Coordinators Carlie Howell, Rebecca Ford and Andy Glydon

Music PEI (MPEI) recently launched Ripple Effect, a new initiative aimed at combatting sexual assault and gender-based violence within the music industry locally and beyond. 

Working under the slogan “We make this space safer together,” Ripple Effect seeks to foster a community-wide paradigm shift in how Music PEI treats women and gender expansive musicians, audience members and music industry professionals.

During Phase 1, from now until the end of June, MPEI will provide comprehensive harm-reduction education, skills and resources on topics such as bystander intervention to MPEI staff, Board of Directors, members and community stakeholders. Their goal is to build a community of leaders, employees, volunteers and collaborators in PEI’s music scene who are equipped to spot, intervene, support and report incidents of sexual violence at events.

This work is supported by facilitator Stacey Forrester of Good Night Out Vancouver, and carried out in collaboration with local organizations PEIRSAC, the RISE Program and SHIFT. It is generously funded by PEI’s Gender Equity Diversity Inclusion and Community Enhancement Program. The initiative is coordinated by Rebecca Ford (Now and Then event services) and Carlie Howell (musician, arts worker), together with Andy Glydon (MPEI program manager).

Everyone deserves to be safe in the music scene but not everyone is. Alarming rates of sexual harassment and abuse occur in the music industry, often against women and gender-expansive individuals. According to a study conducted by Midia Research and TuneCore, 34 percent of women, 42 percent of trans individuals, and 43 percent of nonbinary individuals in the music industry report being sexually harassed or abused at work. Sixty-four percent of music creators who identified as women named sexual harassment or objectification as a key challenge in the music industry.

Howell says, “The major challenge we’ve historically faced is a culture of silence. The music industry wants to be seen as a fun and joyful place, and when that’s not the case for everyone, it challenges the status quo to talk about it. Victims of sexual misconduct or harassment are often afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled negatively or losing their gigs.” 

Ford notes, “There is a really big need [and want] for this work in PEI. It’s better to have uncomfortable conversations than have really unfortunate situations happen to people.”

Music PEI wants to change this. They believe that all people, from performers to industry professionals to audience members, should have equitable access to the music scene on PEI. That starts with constructive dialogue, practical resources, and engaging the whole community in creating safer spaces. 

For updates and to get involved, follow @musicpei on IG or sign up to their mailing list at musicpei.com.