[Debate] Occupy Wall Street: How About We Occupy Rape Culture?
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 23:04:00 GMT 2011
Tony award winning playwright, performer and activist
Posted: 11/11/11 04:37 PM ET
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I am over rape.
I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.
I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real
names without shame.
I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it
freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.
I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over
being told I don't have a sense of humor, and women don't have a sense
of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking
funny. We just don't think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our
vagina is a laugh riot.
I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape.
I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.
I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for
the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.
I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South
Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a
place, still waiting for justice.
I am over rape happening in broad daylight.
I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that
are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.
I am over one in three women in the U.S military (Happy Veterans Day!)
getting raped by their so-called "comrades."
I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to
have an abortion.
I am over the fact that after four women came forward with allegations
that Herman Cain groped them and grabbed them and humiliated them, he is
still running for the President of the United States.
And I'm over CNBC debate host Maria Bartiromo getting booed when she
asked him about it. She was booed, not Herman Cain.
Which reminds me, I am so over the students at Penn State who protested
the justice system instead of the alleged rapist pedophile of at least 8
boys, or his boss Joe Paterno, who did nothing to protect those children
after knowing what was happening to them.
I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.
I am over starving Somalian women being raped at the Dadaab refugee camp
in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and
being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is
fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth,
as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.
I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to
believe it's their fault or they did something to make it happen.
I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority
when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime --
the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction
of life itself.
No women, no future, duh.
I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and
physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want
it, as much as they want, any time they want it.
I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual
exploiters -- film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie
stars, athletes -- while the lives of the women they violated are
permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and
I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you?
You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us,
get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren't
you standing with us? Why aren't you driven to the point of madness and
action by the rape and humiliation of us?
I am over years and years of being over rape.
And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5-years-old.
And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape.
And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour
of every single day.
I am over being polite about rape. It's been too long now, we have been
We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station,
household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room,
night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try
and imagine -- once and for all -- what it feels like to have your body
invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need to let our
rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of
There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been
ONE BILLION WOMEN.
The time is now. Prepare for the escalation.
Today it begins, moving toward February 14, 2013, when one billion women
will rise to end rape.
Because we are over it.
On 2011/11/11 09:16 AM, Jessie Lazar Knott wrote:
> At last, an echo, is heard, 'out there' in the multi-verses:"Listen,
> if your revolution doesn't implicitly and explicitly include a
> rejection of misogyny and other intersectional marginalizations, then
> you're not staging a revolution; you're staging a change in
> management." [McEwan].
> Take it from me, the authority, (knighted by the goddess herself ;-))
> who has been raped many times, and repeatedly, by what appears this
> time, especially in this day of gender complicity in subjugation and
> subjection, to be women, intent on keeping Patriarchy intact, in their
> unwillingness to challenge, and resist, and speak out against (without
> dire effects, the cold shoulder, is a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry cold shoulder
> in the professional world) the abuse of power, every second, of every
> day, from those in 'management', or 'directorship' positions. You
> so-called 'men', and 'women' on the 'left' have not assumed the
> revolutionary position at all, when it comes to Patriarchy, and the
> abuse of power. It can therefore be argued, pretty succinctly, that
> you have therefore, NEVER assumed the revolutionary position despite
> your raving revolutionary discourses and speak. The effective reality
> produced is consequently same old, same old. Pardon me, whilst I YAWN
> into my coffee.
> Abuse, abuse, abuse, abuse, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, harm, harm, harm,
> harm, harm.
> I know it.
> Many do.
> And I am 'sick to death of your shit' [Erykah Badu].
> And as for those friends whom have donned the cloak and mask of
> 'mysoginists' in order to flush out the stinking parrot (read fox),
> and her mini-me 'rat', from their corrupt, twisted hell, of a hole:
> masks become /embedded/ without the courage of 'out in the open', I AM
> THAT I AM declarations. You should be ashamed of yourselves, for the
> rigidity of your schedule, keeping the masks on, for as long as you
> have, the stigmata/stigma, the proverbial stench of the 'role' you
> took on, (we're documenting this, as mentioned by one of my colleagues
> and operatives on the case, through my emails: 'your days are
> numbered'; archives of evidence are built) with such dispassion,
> detachment, and cruel intent, will NEVER leave you, unless you
> part-take, and take part in my constructed 'streap-tease' of the century.
> So, my friends, brothers-in-arms, and back-watchers - *chanting* -
> 'take it off', 'take it off', 'take it off', 'take it off' ...
> Francois, Nkosinathi, Suresh, you're my brothers-in-arms, let's see
> that rippling naked bodkin (built like Xhosa warriors), as you assume
> your place, next to your sister, as 'indoda, yendoda' ... As an aside:
> "Ashwin, you're welcome to join us too ... "
> Clapping for the naked ones, and lighting incense at my alter to the
> Goddess Kali ... What did Madame de Farge utter over her knitting in
> 'A tale of two cities'? .... "TO THE BASTILLE [my legitimate] comrades
> ... "
> Occupy Wall Street: How About We Occupy Rape Culture?
> "Our unity must be complex. Our unity must be emancipatory." --
> Angela Davis, Oakland's General Strike, Nov 2.
> "Listen, if your revolution doesn't implicitly and explicitly
> include a rejection of misogyny and other intersectional
> marginalizations, then you're not staging a revolution; you're
> staging a change in management." -- Melissa McEwan
> On Wednesday November 2^nd , more than 15,000 people participated in
> Oakland's citywide general strike as part of Occupy Oakland. And I
> wish I could write about that right now. I wish I could write about
> the 100,000 protestors that were there. I wish I could write about how
> amazing it is that demonstrators effectively shut down the Port of
> Oakland, the fifth largest port in the U.S.
> I wish I could write about how the media keeps treating the day as a
> violent outbreak
> or just plain-up dismissing it
> I would love to expand on the metaphor handed from the gods of how a
> white man ran over two protesters with his Mercedes Benz because he
> was "frustrated" and was then given police permission to drive away
> Instead I think we need to occupy some goddamn rape culture. Let's
> start from the top.
> In Zuccotti Park, Tonye Iketubosin, a kitchen worker with OWS, has
> been charged with groping an 18-year-old female demonstrator
> as well as being a suspect in the rape of another 18-year-old
> In Glasgow, a 28-year-old woman was raped at the George Square
> <http://www.theglaswegian.co.uk/glasgow-news/news/2011/10/26/woman-raped-in-occupy-glasgow-camp-in-george-square-102692-23516323/> early
> in the morning and police are currently investigating the attack.
> That's just this week alone.
> Then there's the rape of a 19-year-old disabled woman at Occupy
> <http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rape-alleged-at-occupy-cleveland/>, (who
> was then accused of secretly working with the government
> the sexual assault of a 14-year-old runaway at Occupy Dallas
> (another "isolated incident"
> and the still-standing controversy around Occupy Baltimore with
> alleged sexual assaults within the camp
> to the memo released by organizers on ways to report sexual abuse
> a notice which left many feeling like the issue was being rerouted as
> nothing more than personal complaints, as opposed to actual sexual
> According to (NBC) reporter Tom Beres, the big question is: "How
> much damage this will do to all the work that has been done and
> the future of the occupation." Really? Is that the big question,
> or is it, "Was this woman raped and if so by whom? The report gets
> worse from there... After a recitation of the charges and what
> amounts to a denial by organizers, i.e. we don't make sleeping
> assignments (sic), the report goes completely off the rails. We
> get a reaction from someone who isn't named and reportedly isn't
> part of the protest but is "familiar" with it: I don't believe any
> of these guys would do anything like that there. So I think
> someone probably brought her here, set her here and to spend the
> night and hang out with them for one day just to say she was
> raped. -- Local NBC Butchers Occupy Cleveland Rape Case with Bias
> (highlighted on Occupy Patriarchy <http://occupypatriarchy.org/>)
> Occupy Lawrence dealt with their own sexual assault case
> well as Oakland <http://www.insidebayarea.com/oakland/ci_19139575>. A
> Seattle man involved with the Occupy movement
> <http://www.komonews.com/news/local/132064518.html> was caught
> exposing himself, and Occupy Portland urged the suspect of the sexual
> assault of a young women
> to leave the camp before police arrived and at Occupy New Hampshire, a
> woman has been charged with pimping out a 16-year-old girl
> Ashwini Hardikar spoke on her own experience
> and she is not alone
> Greenstreet created "Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street"
> and Julian Assange became a fixture of Occupy London
> Then there's this little gem tweeted by Occupy LSX
> <http://www.mobypicture.com/user/OccupyFS/view/11096131> and also this
> diamond by Joseph Hunter, aka, @anti_feminist
> <http://twitter.com/#%21/anti__feminist> and his thoughts on the matter:
> Did I mention that November 19^th is "Occupy a Vagina Day"
> <https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175488869201551>? From their
> Facebook page: "With the occupy movement growing so much it is time
> that everyone occupies a vagina! Unless of course you have one, then
> you need yours occupied!!!"
> Though really, the worst is that there are folks who think these are
> just isolated incidents
> and that there are things bigger than us
> That's what it keeps coming down to. There are "bigger things" than
> all of us, though these things seem suspiciously easier to deal with
> when you aren't necessarily the target of rape culture. It's also easy
> to believe that you don't stand for rape culture when it is a more
> concrete example of power, like the threat of sexual assault from
> police officers. But when it's your own assaulting your own? Well...
> then it's different.
> Well, "us" says hell no. "Us" makes up this movement- and "us" ain't
> just women with a capital W. "Us" are not down with excusing rape
> culture for the cause. From Sarah Seltzer's "Where Are The Women at
> Occupy Wall Street? Everywhere--- And They're Not Going Away":
> The dozen women I spoke to for this story---most of them
> queer-identified and/or women of color---have witnessed varying
> amounts of offensive behavior, such as unwanted touching or use of
> casually misogynist language, within the movement. And they also
> differ as to the extent to which they think they can elbow the
> "isms" out of their space. But for the most part they share a
> defiant hope; just maybe, they say, for once, a mobilization for
> social change can get it right: maintain a broad base of support,
> connect the dots between different kinds of injustice and achieve
> staying power. Their fervent wish is that the movement's careful
> attention to inclusive structure, including "safe space" caucuses
> and working groups and a commitment to anti-oppression training,
> means not that misogyny will vanish altogether but rather that
> diverse voices will remain a core part of the movement.
> OWS organizers have responded by creating a guarded sleeping area and
> have emphasized the need for safe spaces within OWS
> but the fact remains that growing security concerns, especially sexual
> assault and rape, are becoming a serious issue
> While many are still cautious in throwing themselves into such
> environments, there are those taking measures for the creation of a
> less threatening environment. I spoke with Suzy Exposito
> <http://twitter.com/#%21/senorita_ex>, an organizer in Occupy Wall
> Street's Safer Spaces Committee on the actions that are being taken.
> From Suzy:
> Safer Spaces started out by making impromptu announcements at the
> general assembly about consent, boundaries and offensive language.
> We often had to wait until the end of the assembly to make these
> announcements, until we became an official working group. Now we
> have a member report back with the other groups at the GA. We've
> recently collaborated with a group of radical social workers and
> trained mediators in scheduling anti-oppression workshops and
> "Community Watch" shifts for anyone at the occupation. The
> Community Watch is a new thing. In tandem with the Medical,
> Security and Mediation teams at OWS, we started a program in which
> we schedule shifts for people to walk around the space. They walk
> in pairs, or sometimes as a group, throughout the night. This is
> just to look out for people who need help, who are being violent,
> or who are using drugs/drinking out in the open. The current
> method of confronting violence, though, is to identify and isolate
> the perpetrator/assaulted, call the Mediation/Security folks and
> talk to them individually. In cases of sexual assault, the
> survivor would be asked whether they'd like to go to the hospital,
> call the police, and/or (as these are not mutually exclusive) go
> forward with an accountability process.
> Accountability processes are usually tailored to the survivor's
> needs. They may not want to face their attacker. The attacker may
> be removed from the space temporarily or indefinitely, but
> meanwhile they would have to go through an educational process on
> consent. They also usually make a statement, publicly or
> privately, of apology and accountability. Safer Spaces is trying
> to work out whether we would allow a perp back into the space,
> with or without an accountability process. In the meantime we've
> been drafting a community agreement, a document that states the
> conditions under which people are allowed to stay in the park.
> This has been reviewed at the GA and is still a work in progress.
> It's also controversial, as some complain that we're basically
> policing the space (except, you know, we don't have weapons or
> structural leverage). But it's called a community agreement
> because, as people bring it to the GA for amendments, it is a
> public document developed by the community.
> In addition to these measures, "Safe Space Sleepovers," as mentioned
> before, have been becoming more frequent. Two people take shifts and
> while it is currently not a regular event, the Safe Spaces committee
> are working together to make it another part of the Occupy movement.
> Which is great, because there are folks bussing in from all over
> Support is pouring <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79QaklzY0YE> in
> from folks everywhere.
> The Safer Spaces Committee has released an official statement as of
> this afternoon, which you can read here
> Here's the thing, though. What does it mean if those who say they are
> fighting against the system are recreating the system? What does it
> mean when rape and sexual assault are excused because there are
> "bigger things than us"? What does it mean when you disenfranchise the
> same folks you are claiming to fight for? Why are specialized spaces
> having to be created for those affected most by rape culture or gender
> based violence? Why can't everyone be able to be full participants in
> the same space? Where is the miscommunication about that whole 99%
> thing happening?
> Many---typically straight white men---claim that talking about
> gender and race will only divide us, when what we need is to be
> standing together and focusing on how we're all the same. But the
> reality is that we do not all experience oppression in the same
> ways. There is value in uniting--the 'Occupy' movement's slogan
> that "we are the 99%" is a powerful one--but our experiences still
> differ based on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. It is
> perhaps a well-intentioned notion to imagine that we can unite in
> a way that transcends these categories, but it's a notion that has
> no basis in the reality of our society. Because these categories,
> however artificially constructed they might be, still play a huge
> role in how and to what degree we are exploited, it is impossible
> to fight oppressive forces without acknowledging the reality of
> how they function. We can stand in solidarity with one another
> without pretending that our experiences are identical. In fact, I
> would argue that the only true//solidarity is one in which we
> fully recognize and respect both how our struggles are alike and
> how they differ. -- Angi Becker Stevens. "/Why Safety Is Essential
> In Order For Women To Fully Participate in the Occupy Movement."
> Though really, the salt in the wound on this whole manner is the
> sudden interest in rape and sexual assault by conservative media
> an attempt that's enough to make anyone see red because when the right
> isn't expressing this concern, they sure are doing everything they can
> to take
> away plenty of
> fight against rape culture
> and see no problems with using aggressive language to degrade people
> like Elizabeth Warren
> Women deserve to start the conversations about the impact of
> economic inequality, to participate in the conversations, to
> change the conversations, and to end the conversations---and they
> deserve to do those things while not facing police brutality,
> while not experiencing sexist attacks, and while not being
> sexually objectified. All those things work in tandem to further
> take away power from women, and we need women in this fight.
> We support the Occupy Together movement while acknowledging that
> it needs to work to make spaces safe for women, and to fight
> sexism and misogyny when it creeps in. -- Women Occupy's mission
> statement <http://womenoccupy.tumblr.com/>, Women Occupy Facebook
> The sexual violence and harassment that is happening in Occupy camps
> cannot be ignored and cannot be thrown to the side in favor of the
> "real issues." These are the real issues
> they don't lie <http://sarccp.weebly.com/statistics.html>.
> People wonder why women don't "fight back," but they don't wonder
> about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted,
> purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less
> emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in
> conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are
> ignored. They don't wonder about all those daily social
> interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible,
> because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to
> women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in
> the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.
> And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural
> and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman
> wasn't truly raped. Because she didn't fight back, or yell loudly,
> or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was
> obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She
> stopped saying no, after a while. -- Harriet J, "Another Post
> About Rape
> Cause folks, we are either fighting for it all
> or it's just new folks and the same old shit.
> / For more information, follow @womenoccupy
> <http://twitter.com/#%21/womenoccupy> or the following hashtags:
> //#occupyrapeculture #occupypatriarchy #womenoccupy #evictrapeculture/
> Related Posts:
> * What is Rape Culture?
> * Let's Talk Brogressives
> * Occupy Wall Street: Where We At
> * Occupy Wall Street: Where We At?
> * Occupy Wall Street: Where We At
> An Fhírinne in aghaidh an tSaoil
> *swish and swish*
> Debate-list mailing list
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