To the People of the World:
Tonight at the Occupy Sacramento general assembly, five members of the Community and Outreach committee made a block on all announcements and proposals in order to address an issue that (if not resolved appropriately) could potentially cause them to walk away. They alerted their fellow occupiers to recently uncovered information that one of the core organizers of Occupy Sacramento has kept the presence of a rapist quiet because he identified with him, and wanted to protect him. This individual deliberately with-held information that the occupiers of Cesar Chavez park need to know in order to keep themselves aware and safe. He used his role as an authority figure to control the information he received in order to serve his interests. What he should have done was to make us occupiers aware that such an incident occurred. We, the five who did the block tonight, only found out about this information when he whispered it into the ear of one of our members, and then whispered that he had been accused of rape twice, and that he'd kept the information quiet because he was worried about what would happen to the rapist if anyone found out. What about what would happen to the rest of us if you don't tell us there's a rapist in our park?
We took turns on the mic and gave our perspective on the situation, and made it clear that if the issue could not be resolved appropriately and by consensus, we would walk away. We expected our fellow occupiers to feel just as shocked as we did, and many did. Some didn't. At least seven blocks were made in opposition to our block. You can see what transpired by following the provided link. In order to keep the peace, since the situation was getting pretty heated (it seems some of it was cut out on the live stream), the moderator proposed that we all take a break to discuss the issue in groups and reconvene in five minutes.
Instead of addressing this safety issue in discussion groups as proposed, a crowd rallied around the organizer we had just blown the whistle on about compromising our safety. Worried that said individual's male sex and masculine gender would undermine the information we'd just communicated, the womyn in whom said organizer had confided that he had been accused of rape twice (and withheld the information that a rapist was among us for that reason) stood up shoulder-to-shoulder with this guy and dropped that knowledge on the crowd.
At this point things got a little crazy. One of the Media/PR people who was upset about the information had one man follow her to the Media/PR tent, and try to comfort her by saying it wasn't a big deal. Multiple people kept approaching her, surrounding her, and lecturing her, in order to comfort her. The Community and Outreach people who spoke up were harassed by several occupiers who just wanted them to "see the light" (not all of the people who approached us were harassing us, but some were). What was especially disturbing and disgusting to us was the fact that several of the core organizers who we thought would get it clearly didn't. The dialogue used to keep our support, and our labor, in line with their agenda was amazingly sexist.
It is especially important to address the fact that the victim was put at risk by tonight's events. Unfortunately, someone informed the perpetrator of the alleged rape that he had been exposed, and next thing we knew we were being accused of "re-raping" the victim. WE DID NOT INFORM THE BOYFRIEND. We are unsure of who did, so we won't point fingers or play the blame game, even though we have our suspicions. In fact we intentionally omitted the names of those involved to keep the situation from possibly escalating. We only exposed the core organizer; we don't even know the names of the other people involved. If we had known that by coming forward we would put the victim at risk we would have used a different strategy, but accusing us of putting the victim at risk is a scapegoat to keep people distracted from the real perpetrator.
We had hoped that by coming forward we could pave the way for making our movement totally transparent, and open up discussion about checks and balances, accountability etc. Instead we were attacked for "destroying unity" and "breaking solidarity". WE CALL BULLSHIT! If our safety is more important than fracturing the movement then so be it. we won't be part of a movement that perpetuates rape culture or allows rape apologists to maintain leadership positions. We need a restructuring of the way we handle safety issues at the park. There's no room for a police state within this movement. All opposed can leave, and have left, so we are reforming our movement. A few of us have decided on Occupy Yourself as a tentative name. Everyone's worried about this revolution being co-opted by a political party. Political parties are not the only ones we have to be wary about. We want the people to know that Occupy Sacramento WILL NOT BE CO-OPTED by prejudice, violence, non-inclusiveness, or any of the other bullshit that's responsible for our oppression as the 99%.
Until we get our social media together, you can contact us by e-mailing community.occupysacto [at] gmail.com
if you have questions or want clarification about what happened.
Our competitors are predators! If you are in Sacramento and are upset about what went down tonight, come to the anti-oppression teach-in at the park tomorrow, Sunday Oct 23, at 1pm. If you already gave Occupy Sacramento a chance and were discouraged from participating because of sexism, racism, able-ism, criminalization of the homeless, and generally messed up paradigms of thought exhibited by some of the occupiers, we invite you to meet with us tomorrow!
Peace love and solidarity,