Occupy, Sexual Assault and Justice Without Pigs

(ed. Originally published March 27, 2012 – here!)

On Friday 23rd March, a group of empowered OLA women came together to announce the following to the General Assembly, and seek their assistance in finding a solution. This announcement and ensuing discussion was livestreamed and recorded in the minutes of OLA’s General Assembly. The women’s circle has decided to meet again this week to decide on their next course of action in holding Sam Resnick accountable. A women’s hotline and support group for fellow victims of assault will soon be starting.

On February 16, 2012, Sam Resnick, a former medic from the Wellness committee sexually assaulted a young woman who wishes to remain anonymous. Anonymous was woken up to her crotch area being groped by Sam Resnick as he was heavily breathing which Anonymous is assuming he was masturbating. Post-incident, the victim did not know who to turn to regarding her assault and felt compelled to addressing the issue on her own by trying to confront Sam Resnick herself, and in doing so Resnick’s response was “Sorry, I don’t know what to say.”

Anonymous wishes to not take this matter to the police and seeks to work this issue out as a community. A women’s circle was formed and letters were drafted to Resnick asking that he not attend Occupy LA-related actions for a month to ease Anonymous’ comfort with attending actions and feeling safe. Inclusively, he has been contacted many times to attend a women’s circle to hear the stories of other sexual assault victims and how they have dealt with the emotional damage in hopes that he can understand and provide Anonymous with an honest apology. Sam Resnick has admitted to his actions but has declined to comply with these terms, has not tried to contact us after declining, and has stated on his Facebook: “Taking my professor’s advice and taking a break from activism outside of school for a while. I’ll be back on M1GS.”

Sam Resnick asked us to ”Not Parade his personal issues” but we believe that it is important to alert our community, especially the women in our community, of what Resnick has done, to prevent further incidents from occurring. This is not a personal issue, this is an issue that affects everyone within our community. There have been some similar incidents that occurred when the camp was still on that went by unaddressed and we feel that is because women did not have a safe space or support group within the occupation to bring awareness to these incidents.

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