Sunday, October 30, 2011

#Occupy Movement Is Unsafe for Women: Attacks and Threats Show Dangers of Anarchist Organizing

by Brandon Darby

As the Occupy manifestation of the “Global Peace and Justice Movement” begins to decay and break down into the predictable anarchy, violence and arrests, it is becoming clear that the protests pose special dangers for women.

Even the left has begun to admit it. The Nation tries to laud the role of women in Occupy Wall Street but can’t avoid the truth:
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…
Ashwini Hardikar, one protest participant, recently wrote a powerful blog postabout two such experiences that occurred within an hour: a male protester giving her an unwanted hug, who then expressed shock when she responded (loudly) that she found his hug unwelcome and intrusive, and a young man chanting “Lady Liberty is a whore” and defending himself when she questioned his language. This kind of explaining and educating can be exhausting for women.
Here are a just a few recent incidents:
  • A 14-year-old runaway was allegedly sexually assaulted at Occupy Dallas.
  • A 19-year-old student activist was allegedly raped at Occupy Cleveland.
  • A man was arrested on charges of indecent exposure to children at Occupy Seattle.
  • A female reporter was threatened by activists at Occupy Oakland.
And even more attacks are listed in John Nolte’s “rap sheet” on the Occupy protests. The threats to women are not confined to the periphery of the Occupy movement but exist at the heart of the main Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. (more…)

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