Now we've all had a chance to catch up on sleep, it’s time to look back and see the reactions to Clear Lines Festival! The 4 day event attracted a large number of speakers, audience members and volunteers, and many of them reacted to the topics and ideas brought up over twitter.
We started the festival off with an Open House Session, welcoming different organisations along to meet interested people and provide information about their services. Survivors Together were active in using , and posted a few of their responses.
During the daytime, there were many different panel discussions which touched on issues related to sexual assault, or of ways to talk about rape. Some of these talks showed just how far we have to work to get a better understanding of consent. During the Laydeez Do Comics panel, artist Maria Stoian described a classmate’s mother reacting to her daughter's confession that she’d been raped.
Many talks highlighted the areas that need further focus. Our Co-Founder Dr. Nina Burrowes' discussions concentrated on the increased work that must be done in educating the public about sex offenders and their understanding of assault.
This ties in with how sexual assault is discussed in media - a vital topic that needs to be analysed and talked about. We were delighted to have a number of journalists and professionals on our panel to explain and work through this issue.
One of the biggest challenges that people face in the workplace is knowing how to deal with sexual assault, as well as phenomenons such as revenge pornography. Having Georgina Calvert-Lee and Halla Gunnarsdóttir from Clear Lines Festival sponsor's international law firm McAllister Olivarius come and explain the ways to combat these was an important step towards fighting these two issues.
One comment that came up again and again during the talks and evening events was the necessity to get men involved in this conversation. We were incredibly happy to have some great talks by men which discussed the way in which they can be a part of it, and the obstacles they currently face in doing this.
Yet sexual assault should be a part not only of serious debates and conferences. It also needs to be brought into more creative channels. We were lucky to have a panel discussion chaired by Dr. Red Chidgey, who was joined by three organisations using art and activism to get their message across.
Some people were questioning the use of comedy to discuss sexual assault, as we had Tiff Stevenson, Josie Long, Stuart Black, Sarah Kendall, and Bridget Christie performing. Both Tiff and Nina had taken part in an interview with the BBC earlier to discuss this. Tiff also spoke about this during the Q&A after the comedy night, saying that comedy gives a platform to talk about issues that often wouldn't be touched on.
Our Theatre Night, curated by our Co-Founder Winnie M Li and Goblin Baby Theatre Company, had our audience in tears. And even some of our performers and artists, in the Q&A afterwards.