Feminism and Protest Camps
Entanglements, Critiques and Re-Imaginings

2: Safe Spaces and Solidarity: Confronting Gendered Violence in the US Occupy Encampments

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Despite its unifying cry ‘We are the 99%’, the struggle for solidarity and inclusion in the US Occupy movement faced many obstacles, including allegations of sexual violence and harassment in the encampments. Internally groups grappled with how to respond to the allegations of gendered violence. While some participants dismissed or questioned the legitimacy of the claims, feminists organised to demand better. The approaches they took, however, varied within and across camps, with some taking a more intersectional approach than others. This chapter examines the various tactics deployed by feminists to address the violence occurring in protest camps, as well as the challenges they encountered both internally and externally. It concludes that failures to adequately address sexual violence and harassment threaten movement solidarity and success; however, efforts that ignore or even replicate intersecting forms of oppression can do the same.

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