INDIO (CBSLA) – A magazine editor claims she experienced rampant sexual harassment during the first weekend of Coachella while working on a story about the issue for Teen Vogue.
In a piece published Wednesday, journalist Vera Papisova said she was groped 22 times over a 10-hour period while attending Coachella, saying that she was “repeatedly violated by strangers.” Papisova described being followed, grabbed, insulted, spoken to inappropriately and groped on multiple occasions.
“In the three days I was at Coachella, I only spent a total of 10 hours at the actual festival, where I watched numerous performances and interviewed festivalgoers about their experience with sexual assault and harassment for Teen Vogue,” she wrote. “During the 10 hours I was reporting on this story, I was groped 22 times.”
Teen Vogue said all 54 women who spoke to the magazine during Coachella had a story about being sexually assaulted or harassed over that weekend.
Meanwhile, Indio police would not confirm to CBS2 how many complaints of sexual misconduct were made during the first weekend.
Papisova told the BBC she didn’t know where to go inside the festival to report the harassment.
“I would’ve expected to see something on their website, in terms of what to do if that happens to you since it is such a prevalent issue at music events, in general,” Papisova said.
“I think it is a boundary thing,” one woman at Coachella told CBS2 Friday. “Just because you see someone that looks great, doesn’t mean that you can just come up on them for no reason at all.”
At last year’s Stagecoach Country Musical Festival, also in Indio, a 17-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted by three men in a portable bathroom.
Last week, the program coordinator for the Sexual Assault Response Team at Eisenhower Hospital in Rancho Mirage told KMIR-TV that it sees a major spike in calls during Coachella, often getting a month’s worth of calls in just the two weekends. Many of the cases involve drugs, date rape drugs and alcohol, KMIR reports.
Coachella organizers did not immediately issue a response to the story.