Girl thanks Glastonbury organisers for reaction to her sexual assault


An open letter addressed to 'Glastonbury', which was shared on Twitter by a woman named Laura Whitehurst, has gone viral in recent days, and seeks to highlight the lengths the festival's organisers went to in order to protect and care for the victim of a sexual assault.

In the deeply moving acknowledgement, Laura explains that she and a group of friends had managed to get their hands on tickets to the iconic event for the first time, and were hugely excited at the prospect of attending one of the world's biggest known music festivals.

However, in a sickening turn of events two months before Glastonbury 2017, Laura was sexually assaulted by two men in the group she was due to attend the festival with.

"At the crisis centre the next day, as I lay sobbing on the table being photographed and probed by 4 nurses, I received a barrage of phone calls and threats from certain friends telling me to go home, to not report it," she wrote.

"Telling me that no it wasn’t consensual but ‘don’t ruin the group’ and ‘don’t ruin Glastonbury for us all.’ The nurses were asking me to report it to the police, but I was receiving 15 voicemails a day with threats from these friends, and with every threat received, another inch of my fight would disappear."

Having gone to the police and endured a lengthy interview in the aftermath of the assault, Laura was advised by a police officer to contact festival organisers to explain that she would be seeking a refund for her ticket.

"I was gutted, but we agreed for my own personal safety whilst investigations were ongoing, it was the best route to take," she wrote.

Upon his advice, Laura contacted the organisers and recalls receiving a response from "an amazing human being – Marianna" who assured her that the Event Operations Lead would be in touch.

"I received a call off Adrian a few days later. Adrian is an ex police officer, and asked me to tell him what happened. It felt difficult disclosing the details over the phone to a stranger, but he made me feel at ease," Laura explained.

"He told me he would do everything in his power to make sure I could attend the festival, and would put a safeguarding procedure in place to ensure I could."

"He contacted the DC at the police station dealing with my case, and together they devised a plan. Despite the fact he – as the Events Operations Lead – had one of the busiest jobs in the world weeks before the festival, he dedicated himself personally to me."

Laura's letter goes on to explain that Adrian sent her "a car parking pass in the post", so she wouldn’t have to get the coach with the friends who had been threatening her.

"I arrived at the festival with Tom at 8am on the Wednesday, and pulled into the staff car park, far away from where the rest of the revellers would be arriving. I was asked to call Marianna at this point and let her know I had arrived," Laura explained.

"Marianna arrived, with a beautiful girl named Kerry driving a security vehicle, and both greeted me with the loviest hug someone driving through the night could ever ask for."

"They helped us load our stuff into the van and told us to jump in. We had no idea they were going to take us anywhere, we were prepared for the long, sweaty trek to the queue like the rest."

"They drove us up the the gate, and got out with us, with all of our things. At this point my anxiety was through the roof, I was looking over my shoulder frightened of catching glimpse of the perpetrator and their friends," Laura revealed.

"Marianna noticed my worry, took my hand and walked us up to the security guard at the front of the queue. They had a quick chat and he ushered us right through, Marianna making sure she didn’t let go of me the whole time."

Laura goes on to explain that Marianna gave her a letter which she could provide officials with throughout the weekend.

"The letter was from Adrian addressing whomever received it that ‘the bearer of the letter must have her requests for her safety taken seriously and she must be taken to safety immediately.’ I was asked to carry this letter, along with a list of numbers, with me throughout the whole festival, just in case."

"I was also passed two hospitality wrist bands, one for Tom and one for me. These offered us a space behind the Pyramid and Other stage which had quieter bars only accessible to hospitality wrist band holders so in case I became overwhelmed or needed a place to clear my head a bit, I had it."

"They dropped us off at a camp where they wouldn’t expect our friends to be, and took us to our reserved spot behind the stewards, who were all briefed about the circumstances. They all greeted me with hugs and helped us carry all of our things from the van and get ourselves set up."

At this point in Laura's post, she reveals that the hospitality and understanding she was shown by Glastonbury officials brought her to tears, and she insists she will be forever grateful for the time and effort they put in to ensuring she enjoyed her much longed-for weekend.

"I was safe. I was really really safe," Laura said.  "I didn’t feel like a victim, I felt like someone who had finally been to Glastonbury."

"So, this letter is to say, thank you. God I wish there were a stronger sentiment. Not many people would be aware of the amazing work you did for me – you didn’t do it so you could write about it, or get a pay rise, or for glory, you did it because you really cared."

Concluding her post, Laura sought to remind her friends and followers that there is significant strength to be found in the kindness and compassion of strangers.

"Sometimes when you lose all hope, the unbelievable and altruistic kindness of strangers can help give you the strength to keep fighting. I have met some really awful humans in my life, who have killed my spirit and, in all honesty, made me feel life wasn’t worth living anymore.'

"So, Adrian, Marianna, Kerry and the rest of the team, I hope you see this. If you don’t, I hope you know that you made a difference, and you made me feel like a survivor again."

You can read Laura's full post here.

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