Coachella Attendees Say They Were Groped at Famed Music Festival
Inside Edition spoke with more than 100 women at the festival and while most said they experienced no harassment, others told tales of disturbing behavior.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of revelers flock to the California desert for the famed Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a week and a half of musical performances and creative showcases.
This year’s headliners included Beyoncé, The Weeknd and Eminem.
While the performances are hailed as extraordinary, one reporter says the festival can be dangerous for female concertgoers.
Vera Papisova says she was groped during the first weekend of the festival.
"He put his hands on my waist and just kind of like started feeling me basically," she said of one frightening encounter with an aggressive concertgoer.
In a recent Teen Vogue article, Papisova says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted at the concert last weekend by being groped a total of 22 times.
She said 54 women described similar experiences.
"We don't talk a lot about this when we talk about festivals and I just think it's important for people to know that this does happen," she said.
After hearing the alarming reports, Inside Edition Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero attended the second weekend of the festival to see for herself.
Inside Edition spoke with more than 100 women at the festival and while most said they experienced no harassment, others spoke of disturbing behavior.
"I was dancing at a set and some guy came up and grabbed my butt and was trying to touch me and it made me feel uncomfortable," one reveler said.
"I was standing there by myself trying to take a picture and this guy comes up and tries to kiss me," another woman said.
Guerrero spoke with some women before Beyoncé took the stage Saturday night.
"Have you guys seen anything here that's been disturbing as far as men's behavior towards women?" Guerrero asked.
“Yes. There was definitely a security guard who was staring at all the women's behinds and breasts as they were walking by," one woman said. "That made us feel extremely uncomfortable."
Guerrero noted that as she got closer to the Coachella stage, the crowds get tighter, which can be a recipe for inappropriate behavior.
It's not just at Coachella, as a video from a similar festival in New Zealand shows a guy sneaking up and touching a woman's bare breast. But then she turns on him, punching him repeatedly as the crowd cheers her on.
Papisova has a message for men at festivals:
“No outfit implies consent," she said. "No outfit is an invitation for sexual assault, being at a music festival, dancing to music, is not an invitation to be sexually harassed."
Safety experts recommend concertgoers stay with friends and never accept drinks from strangers.
Coachella did not respond to requests for comment.
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