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Confronting Sexual Violence At Occupy Wall Street & Beyond

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posted on Nov, 5 2011 @ 06:33 PM
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I'm glad OWS has finally publically addressed these issues and the measures they use to handle violent crime. It was easy to see to on chatrooms, livestream GA's and forums that there was serious concern and an encouragement to seek help from the police and that the media (especially NY Post) and Mayor Bloomberg were getting it wrong, intentionally or otherwise. However, it's understandable that non-supporters and opposers of Occupy wouldn't be inclined to visit those places. I hope this clears up misconceptions.


Statement by members of sexual assault survivor’s team at OWS

New York, November 4, 2011: We are writing this statement to inform our fellow occupiers about an incident of sexual assault at Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and the response to it. We are also writing this statement to respond to media accounts that blame the survivor, and that attempt to use this horrific incident to attack OWS. We write this statement as supporters of OWS, as fellow survivors, and as allies.

On the morning of October 29, a woman participating in OWS was sexually assaulted at Liberty Square. The person who she identified as having assaulted her was arrested on November 1 for a previous assault and is currently incarcerated.

On the morning of the assault, the survivor was accompanied to the hospital by a group of women from OWS, including a social worker, to support her and act as advocates. From the moment the incident was discovered to the present time, the survivor has been surrounded by a network of allies and trained advocates offering resources to provide emotional, medical, and legal support. At every step of the process, and in line with the core principles of survivor support, her wishes as to how she wanted to proceed have been honored, and information from a range of sources has been provided to her about her options. The survivor knew immediately that she wanted to make sure that the person who assaulted her did not harm anyone else at OWS. Community members honored this demand by asking that this person to stay off site, and, when he refused, monitored his activity and ejected him from the space.

...

We are creating and sharing strategies that educate and transform our community into a culture of consent, safety, and well-being. At OWS, these strategies currently include support circles, counseling, consent trainings, safer sleeping spaces, self-defense trainings, community watch, awareness campaigns, and other evolving community-based processes to address harm. We encourage survivors to connect with support and advocates, and to access medical, legal, and social services, as well as available community-based options, many of which are listed below. We stand together as a community to work towards the prevention of sexual violence and harassment, and to provide unwavering support for anyone who has been assaulted. We commit to creating a culture of visibility, support, and advocacy for survivors, and of accountability for people who have committed harm.

With hope and solidarity,
Members of the survivor’s support team at Occupy Wall Street


Full article at occupywallst.org



posted on Nov, 5 2011 @ 07:20 PM
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reply to post by Kali74
 




The survivor knew immediately that she wanted to make sure that the person who assaulted her did not harm anyone else at OWS. Community members honored this demand by asking that this person to stay off site, and, when he refused, monitored his activity and ejected him from the space.

I do appreciate the fact they have moved beyond covering it up. At least at some locations they have. However, this is totally unacceptable at any level as a response to rape or other sexual offense. This is part of what has driven me out of OWS.

I feel very strongly about this, so bear with me for a moment. OWS has decided to make small communities with planning and intentions go the long term. At any level, the 24/7 camps aren't protests, they are true occupations. With that comes responsibilities and security is one of them.

OWS has apparently chosen against the option of hiring bonded and certified guards with a current guard card to maintain a standard of reaction and response. I know as personal fact that this option has been addressed with more than one occupation camp and pushed rather strongly by local authorities as a step that would be helpful for community relations.

Since a professional guard force isn't forthcoming, for whatever reason, the burden to deal with crime...and legal liability by the way...falls on the people most directly acting as leaders and/or security. With that in mind, there is only one response to sexual deviants and rape. That is as non-violent a citizen's arrest performed by the camp security as the offender allows it to be.

Handcuffs for the security people would be a GOOD idea....and annoy the cops to no end at the same time. Legal though, and necessary. After the rapist is handcuffed, the police will be more than happy to come pick him up and process the arrest. It might even impress local police that responsibility is coming to the movement and they need not worry quite as much.

Simply telling the guy to leave the camp is like releasing a criminal, outright. It solves nothing and leaves a bad situation to get worse. I watched that as a 1st hand experience and it really is taking the cowards way out of just confronting a serious problem and solving it.

So bottom line....when people committing serious crimes inside camps start being arrested in citizens arrests, as the law allows for and is more than appropriate in sex offenses in particular, I will consider the attempt to address crime in the camps as sincere. That includes handing over to the real authorities. Until then...it's more dancing around an issue no one seems to want to just handle and be done with.

One other thing to keep in mind....when these policies are set in GA, you have people who KNOW they ARE among the offenders helping to shape the policy by which they may be caught. If a pro- security presence won't be hired to cover it, then the internal volunteer security needs to take that job as seriously (with camp support) as the situations they have to deal with.



posted on Nov, 5 2011 @ 09:16 PM
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I like your handcuff idea.

Here in Occupy Montreal, the problem has been addressed weeks ago, as we had a case of sexual assault. The guy was arrested by the occupiers and brought to the police. We don't know what happened to him after that, and we have been free of any problem ever since the security committee was created (in reaction to this very incident).

I don't know how they're doing it in OWS, but here in OMTL, crime is absent ever since and I see nothing wrong in the way we're dealing with that.

I'll go ask OWS how they're dealing with this (we have a tent where we can contact any other Occupy movement, including OWS. The WIFI was gifted by Anonymous to maintain a certain cohesion and communication between the many cities having a Occupy event.)



posted on Nov, 6 2011 @ 01:39 AM
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reply to post by Gab1159
 

I'm glad to hear Montreal didn't play any games and just took care of it. I wonder if you haven't had less problems since that as a result of people getting the idea you'll just turn them over for arrest if they commit crimes in your protest camp. That gives hope for more following your city's example.



posted on Nov, 6 2011 @ 07:18 AM
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reply to post by Kali74
 


Explanation: S&F!

I concur with this sentiment 100% ...


We commit to creating a culture of visibility, support, and advocacy for survivors, and of accountability for people who have committed harm.




Personal Disclosure: Bumped for Justice! She may be blind but OL isnt!




 
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