Everyone has the Right to Occupy Space, Safely

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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:

The following Occupy Sites:
Occupy LA! and the The Occupy Los Angeles Queer Affinity Group
Occupy Vermont
Occupy Gloucester (Maine)
Occupy Houston


And the following organizations:
The Occupied Wall Street Journal
BITCH media
DC Rape Crisis Center
Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
National Organization for Men Against Sexism
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
Talkin’ Reckless
The Organization for a Free Society
Julia Barry Productions
Women’s Media Center
SisterSong NYC
AIDS Action Baltimore
Media Equity Collaborative
Veterans News Now
National Organization of Asian Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)
Spinifex Press, Australia
Ms. Magazine
Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP)
CODEPINK: Women For Peace
Women Occupy
Bitch Flicks
Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry
Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER)
Anti-State STL
World Can’t Wait
1% A Peace Army
9to5, National Association of Working Women


If your organization supports this call for safer spaces, please email or 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!


UPDATE! Thanks to our site leader in Mexico DF, we now have a Spanish translation!

Durante el tiempo en que el espacio público ha existido, las mujeres y las personas LGBT han tratado de “ocuparlo” de manera segura – preocupantemente con muy poco éxito. Los comentarios de acoso, los tocamientos, la exposición de genitales y la violación son una realidad cotidiana y global para las mujeres y las personas LGBT. Con demasiada frecuencia, estas injusticias se atienden con poca o ninguna respuesta, consideradas simplemente como “el precio a pagar” por ser mujer, trans o gay en público. Como partidarios del movimiento “Ocupa”, creemos que un mundo donde todas las personas tienen derecho a ocupar el espacio público con seguridad no sólo es posible – si no que es esencial para construir un movimiento fuerte y duradero.
No es ningún secreto que el 1% de Wall Street que destruyó nuestra economía es de manera desproporcionada heterosexual y masculina, a pesar de numerosos estudios que demuestran las organizaciones que menos reflejan al 99%, tienen menor eficacia. A medida que aceleramos el ritmo del cambio social, debemos tener cuidado de no repetir los errores de Wall Street. El mensaje es claro: equidad significa impacto.

Pero para que las mujeres y las personas LGBT puedan participar igualitariamente en el movimiento “Ocupa”, debemos estar seguros y seguras en los espacios ocupados. Sabemos que el acoso y las violaciones ocurren en todas partes — y que el movimiento “Ocupa” no es más inmune a él que los parques y estacionamientos de nuestra nación — pero también sabemos que un movimiento donde las mujeres y las personas LGBT no están seguras no es un movimiento sirve a los intereses del 99%.

En solidaridad con quienes ya están trabajando en cada movilización para crear espacios más seguros, Hollaback Internacional en conjunto con otras 25+ organizaciones está haciendo un llamado a todas las Asambleas Generales del Movimiento “Ocupa” a adoptar principios básicos de solidaridad de anti-acoso y anti-abuso. Para hacer realidad estos principios dentro del movimiento, hacemos un llamado a las Asambleas Generales en cada ciudad para empoderar a las mujeres y los y las ocupantes LGBT con el tiempo, el espacio y los recursos necesarios para asegurar que cada espacio ocupado sea un lugar seguro.

Si tu organización apoya la convocatoria de los espacios más seguros, por favor, envía un correo electrónico a o a para que se te añada a la lista de firmantes. Si conoces a otros grupos que aún no se han sumado a este llamado a la acción, por favor ponte en contacto con ellos y pídeles que se unan a nosotrxs. ¡Vamos a trabajar juntxs para hacer un mundo más seguro para todxs!


“Asking For It”: PSA by Temple University Sophomore Kara Lieff


Second year Film and Media Arts and Women’s Studies student at Temple University, Kara Lieff, originally produced the short film for a class to highlight the common misconception of a direct correlation between a woman’s choice of clothing and her sexual availability. Lieff gave this background information to street harassment blog Stop Street Harassment:

“‘Asking For It’ was made for those who believe that there is a definitive connection between a woman’s clothing choice and her sexual availability. Many people think that women who dress a certain way are asking to be, or wouldn’t mind being, bothered, but this satirical take on street harassment shows that what a women really wants does not coincide with her attire.

This video was created for a class, and the assignment was to make a video that would get viewers to accomplish a certain action. I knew that I wanted my video to be a conversation starter – for my viewers to discuss street harassment, their experiences, why it happens, who is to blame, and what can be done to combat this problem. By featuring college-aged adults, I especially hope to reach out to my peers early on.

Street harassment is a huge problem, and any method used – whether it be talking back, writing, art, or videos – to fight back is a step in the right direction.”

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