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Sex + Relationships

ICYMI: Vera Papisova Writes about Coachella Sexual Harassment and the General Response is Unacceptable

As you are probably aware, Coachella rocked Indio, C.A. both weekends. People are obsessing over everything from Beyonce’s transformative performance to Cardi B breaking down some provocative moves while being pregnant. While reading over highlights raving about the entire experience, I noticed an article that sparked a reaction regarding Coachella’s culture. 


Teen Vogue’s Wellness Editor, Vera Papisova attended Coachella for the first time during Weekend One.  Wednesday morning, she tweeted an article she wrote about her experience at Coachella. Her tweet says, “I went to Coachella for 10 hours to report this story, and I was groped 22 times.” The writer was invited to attend the festival by SAFE, a sexual-health app that provides STD testing, with intent to interview festivalgoers about their personal experiences with sexual assault and harassment. While she was successful in speaking with 54 women, Papisova was sexually harassed within her own experience.


The article is flawlessly written, telling the story of her anticipated experience which included “accidental sun-kissed naps” and “forgetting what she looked like while dancing.” The article takes a quick turn for the worst, describing her experience as something you would never see on Instagram. Papisova explains several cringy situations where men touched her without her consent, one of which a man groped her hips and butt, saying in her ear, “you are a goddess.” After describing her horrifying experiences, Papisova goes on to explain that all 54 women she interviewed were also sexually harassed during the weekend. Every. single. woman. 


Overall, the article dives deep into the problem that sexual misconduct is a common occurrence at festivals. After Papisova tweeted the article out this week, a new problem has surfaced. The tweet went viral immediately, with 6.3 thousand retweets and 8.5 thousand favorites. Among the engagements, Papisova has received a flood of hate messages. From sarcastic comments to downright ridiculous insults, the tweets seem endless.


One of the first tweets from “Britt” said, “So let me get this straight.. You purposefully went to a concert that involves mostly black artists to report on how women get “sexually harassed” for what? To demean our culture even more than what is already being done? Go to a Ariana Grande concert see how many reports you get”


Another user, Marc Foster, quoted the original article and tweeted, “Ok but what were you wearing though?” 


These tweets are two out of the hundreds Papisova has received since Wednesday. Although being on the receiving end can be super discouraging, Papisova is firing back. She has been quoting almost every tweet that insults her with a clap back response or fact that completely eliminates the insult. She also has been showing her supporters some love, saying thank you and sending positive emojis. 


While being violated in any public space is a huge problem, the reactions to Papisova’s experience are even worse. Not only does being violated in a public space with no one intervening suck, but coming forward about your experience and being told you’re a liar, making it up “for attention,” or that you are exaggerating makes it that much worse. People should be supporting Papisova for coming forward, not tearing her down. 


Vera, know that I am with you and the HC WVU community does not condone sexual harassment, assault or misconduct. Thank you for being the girl boss you are and coming forward with your traumatizing experience to warn others that while festivals seem magical and great, they can also be dangerous and invasive. You are an inspiration to us all. 


The link to Papisova’s article can be found here.

Hi ladies and gents, my name is Mel, Melanie if you're feelin' fancy. I'm a senior studying advertising, political science and fashion at West Virginia University. In addition to my studies, I am the Campus Correspondent for the WVU HC Chapter! You can hear me on the radio at U92 FM reporting the news and hosting morning shows. If I'm not there, I'm most likely at the local Panera eating my body weight in broccoli cheddar soup or writing about the daily, awkward encounters I experience. I represenative of the college of media as an ambassador and the prez of the magazine club. Oversized sweatshirts and jean on jean are my aesthetics. Lover, not a fighter unless you tell me Joe Jonas wasn't the best Jonas. Laters, baby.
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