Home > General > Open letter to occupy glasgow in response to gang rape

Open letter to occupy glasgow in response to gang rape

November 5, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
This open letter has been written by women in Glasgow in response to the gang rape that occured at the occupation last week, and the response from the group afterwards (distancing themselves from the woman who was raped, as she was homeless, referring to her only as ‘an individual who was co-inhabiting the square’ and talking of an ‘alleged sexual assault’)

There’s also a thread about it on libcom here http://libcom.org/forums/news/occupy-rapes-26102011

Below is an open letter from Glasgow Women’s Activist Forum to Occupy Glasgow. If your organisation would like to sign the letter, please email glasgowwomensactivistforum [AT] gmail.com

We, the undersigned, are writing to those involved in the Occupy Glasgow protest because our voices have hitherto been marginalised and our concerns systematically ignored in the days following the rape that occurred at the protest on Tuesday.

Our decision to write this letter is not based on political or ideological rejections of the Occupy movement, but is motivated by a very real concern for the physical and emotional well-being of all those involved in Occupy Glasgow, with specific concern for women and vulnerable people.

We believe that those involved in the protest failed to ensure the safety of its participants. The safety of the most vulnerable amongst us must be paramount in any organisation or movement, and a failure to construct and implement a system which ensures the safety of all its participants constitutes a failure of the movement as a whole.

In light of the gang rape that took place on Tuesday, we condemn the decision to continue with the occupation. Not only does the rape itself constitute reason enough to end the protest, but the reaction in the days which have followed has only convinced us further.

Allowing rape apology, victim blaming, and accusations of ‘fabrication’ or ‘conspiracy to bring the occupation to and end’ to be voiced in statements both on the official Occupy Glasgow facebook page and at General Assemblies without question demonstrates a complete failure of those involved to grasp the severity of the incident.

There has been insufficient effort to make necessary changes to the physical space or the safer spaces policy following the attack.

Women remain at high risk at Occupy Glasgow, and openly voiced this at the women’s meeting on Friday 28th October. Prior to Tuesday, verbal and physical intimidation had been reported by occupiers to the group, yet these issues were not addressed.

Our decision to write an open letter followed attempts to reach out to Occupy Glasgow by attending General Assemblies. However, women who have attended meetings and facilitated workshops have experienced verbal and physical intimidation from occupiers, leaving us no option but to make this official appeal to the women of Occupy Glasgow to take our concerns seriously.

We consider this matter urgent, and cannot stress enough that this appeal is motivated purely by our desire to create safe spaces for women not just within activist movements, but everywhere in society.

  1. November 5, 2011 at 22:10

    This is the response from Occupy Glasgow & since I am not in Glasgow (in NY) is this all Occupy Glasgow GSA has done – apologized, held one vigil and asked LGBT activists for input? Is that enough or is that not enough and so the entire Occupy Glasgow should be shut down? As I said I am not there so I do not know and I cannot form an informed opinion. I suggest that women in Glasgow Occupy Occupy Glasgow web page and post your demands there.

    26 October 2011, Glasgow

    On the evening of Wednesday 26th October 2011, a general assembly was held of people participating and supporting the Occupy Glasgow movement, concerning the tragic event that occurred the previous evening. A young woman supporter was raped while staying at the occupation camp in George Square. There was lengthy discussion about this abhorrent and intolerable crime and its repercussions.

    We unequivocally condemn the rape that took place against one of our supporters. This is totally unacceptable. We believe it beyond question that our society should neither tolerate or allow violence against women, in any place, at any time.

    The sad fact stands that the human right to safety and security is a goal not currently attained in our society which frequently falls far too short of this aim.

    We take camper’s security extremely seriously and have had a Safer Spaces Policy for the site since day one, and are continually addressing how best to carry it out.

    To further highlight these issues, we are calling for a solidarity vigil this Friday 28th October, at George Square, in place of the regularly scheduled general assembly. We urge everyone to attend this vigil to show that Glasgow does not tolerate violence against women or any form of hate crime.

    We invite women’s & LGBT organisations and all those campaigning against violent hate crimes, to help us raise awareness of this issue and stand in solidarity with the victims of them.

    Vigil starts at 6.30pm Friday 28th October · 18:30 – 21:30 – Facebook event page

  2. November 5, 2011 at 22:50

    The fact is this woman was subjected to male sexual violence not because she was supposedly ‘vulnerable’ but because like all women she is female and hence men view her as ‘sexual prey.’ The focus must be on holding men accountable for their continuing crimes of sexual violence being perpetrated against women and girls with impunity.

    For too long women who report a male(s) has/have raped them have been dismissed as ‘liars’ and this misogynistic women-hating/women blaming ensures the male perpetrators’ actions continue to be ignored and/or rendered invisible.

    Feminists have repeatedly stated the real issue is male domination and male power over women and because there has been a fear of speaking out and holding men accountable this has allowed men to continue their war against women with impunity. No longer – women demand their fundamental human right not to be routinely subjected to male violence in any shape or form.

  1. November 7, 2011 at 17:36

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