PERSONAL STATEMENT

I am a survivor of 30+ years working in the Australian music industry.

Today, the Report into Sexual Harm, Sexual Harassment and Systemic Discrimination in the Contemporary Music Industry with independent recommendations for reform is published. The “Raising Their Voices” (© MAPM Consulting 2022) report available here.

The content is distressing and the coverage will (re)traumatise many people. Please take care when reading the report and note the support services available, listed below.

The report’s 17 recommendations demand courage, accountability and independence. Cultural reform of the scale recommended will need millions of dollars.

Every organisation with power, influence and resources gained through decades of labour, creativity and trauma of so many people will need to commit to their own accountability and funding for at least a decade to REALLY lead meaningful, lasting change.

I am personally deeply grateful for the stewardship of the independent working group. The courage and tenacity of Deena, Emily and Julia to ensure independence and transparency that centred victim survivors must not be underestimated. The research methodology stepped outside the axis of power and influence of the performing rights organisations and multinational companies. It needed to.

To support the leadership of these women who stood up, in their own name, to make this world-leading independent review a reality —I chose to make a personal donation to help fund the project. I am an outlier as an individual donor. List of funders is here.

I chose to not put my name on the joint statement issued by other co-funders that you will read today.

I am a survivor — of sexual trauma and harassment, discrimination, gaslighting, exclusion, corporate bullying and financial stress.

I feel no need to apologise to myself on a joint statement.

I am sorry for the harm caused to so many people and acknowledge that I have been complicit by carving out a career in the Australian music industry.

I am a survivor — I have strength, courage and a voice.

I am a survivor — I will not be erased, excluded or silenced by those who evade accountability or transparency when questioned about their actions, words and practices (or lack thereof).

I am a survivor — music industry organisations and gatherings retrigger my trauma and I will not apologise for putting my own need for psychological and physical safety first.

I am a survivor — with 50+ years of experience with trauma & healing, wisdom, power, resources and privilege.

I am a survivor — of 30+ years of speaking my truth under my own name and ushering in the ongoing reckoning of the music industry.

I have read and deeply considered the report findings and recommendations.

Equality, diversity and inclusion of First Nations people, People of Colour, people with disability and LGBTIQ+ people is a priority.

Independence of a Contemporary Music Cultural Reform Council is critical.

A trauma-informed approach to change is fundamental.

Today I recommit publicly to use my voice, power, privilege and resources to support those that lead with courage and transparency, those that demand accountability and independence.

To all victim survivors please be gentle with yourselves today and next week as the industry gathers in Meanjin, my hometown.

Support

The issues that the review is examining may cause distress and can be unsettling.

Support Act offer a dedicated Sexual Health & Safety Helpline for artists, crew and music workers which is a free, confidential phone counselling service available to anyone who works in national music industry. It will have trained Sexual Health & Safety experts for callers to speak with. The service began operation from January 31st, 2022 and will be accessible 24 hours a day by calling 1800 959 500 within Australia.

Remember: if you or someone you care about is in crisis or at immediate risk, dial 000.

You can also find support at a number of free helplines:

Support Act Helpline1800 959 500 (Sexual Health and Safety Support Line — Option 5 on the Helpline)

1800RESPECT 1800 737 732

Lifeline Hotline13 11 14 or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14

SANE1800 187 263

Suicide Call Back Service1300 659 467

Beyond Blue- (First Nations specific supports available)1300 224 636Q

Life — LGBTIQ+ support1800 184 527

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music, books, conversation, alchemy, feminism, justice ; in transition to a creative life > writer ; I live on unceded Turrbul country.

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Leanne de Souza

music, books, conversation, alchemy, feminism, justice ; in transition to a creative life > writer ; I live on unceded Turrbul country.