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Statement on the Right to Safely Occupy

November 9, 2011

Cross-posted from Occupy Wall StreetOccupy Patriarchy is a co-signer of this statement:

For as long as public space has existed, women and LGBTQ people have been trying to “occupy” it safely — with distressingly little success. Harassing comments, groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. Too often, these injustices are met with little or no response, regarded simply as “the price you pay” for being female, trans, or gay in public. As supporters of the Occupy movement, we believe that a world where everyone has the right to occupy public space safely is not only possible – it is essential to building a strong and lasting movement.

It’s no secret that the Wall Street 1% who wrecked our economy are disproportionately straight and male, despite countless studies showing the less organizations look like the 99%, the less effective they are. As we quicken the pace of social change, we must be careful not to replicate Wall Street’s mistakes. The message is clear: equality means impact.

But for women and LGBTQ people to participate equally in the Occupy movement, we must be safe in occupied spaces. We know that harassment and assault happens everywhere — and that the Occupy movement is no more immune to it than our nation’s parks and parking lots — but we also know that a movement where women and LGBTQ individuals are not safe is not a movement that serves the interests of the 99%.

In solidarity with those who are already working on the ground to make safer spaces, we call on all General Assemblies of the Occupy movement to adopt anti-harassment and anti-assault as core principles of solidarity. To realize these principles within the movement, we call on General Assemblies in every city to empower women and LGBTQ occupiers with the time, space, and resources necessary to ensure that every occupied space is a safe space.

Co-signed by:

OccupyWallSt.org
The Occupied Wall Street Journal
Hollaback!
BITCH magazine
DC Rape Crisis Center
Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
National Organization for Men Against Sexism
Feministing
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
The Feminist Wire
Barrier Free Living
Crisis Intervention Services, Oskaloosa, IA
Women, Action & the Media
Occupy Patriarchy
Marriage Equality NY
Safe Slope
Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI
Feminist Peace Network
Women In Media & News
Spark
Fem2.0
Talkin’ Reckless
The Organization for a Free Society
juliabarry.com Women’s Media Center
SisterSong NYC
MADRE
AF3IRM NY/NJ
Veterans News Now
Holla Back DC

If your organization supports this call for safer spaces, please email saferspace@occupywallst.org or emily@ihollaback.org to be added to the list of co-signers. If you know other groups that have not yet joined this call to action, please contact them and ask them to stand with us! Let’s work together to make a safer world for everyone!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 10, 2011 9:57 pm

    I’m very disturbed by the content of many of the replies to this post on the occupywallst.org site.

    If men were really our allies they would at minimum be able to acknowledge the very real dangers women are facing in the park.

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