International Day of Action for Community Responses to Sexual Assault – Saturday 1 December

Speakout at the State Library

A world without sexual assault

(These photos are frames from video footage, so not the best …)
Flanked by banners calling for “A world without sexual assault” and the declaration “Consent is Asking & Listening, Verbally and Non-verbally” people gathered in a large circle on the lawns outside the State Library to share feelings and experiences.
Declaration regarding consent

The callout which brought them together, as well as much else, can be found on the website:
http://communitiesresponsetosexualassault.wordpress.com/ – here is part of it:

“We want a day of action calling for community response to sexual assault. We are calling for support for survivors of sexual assault, and a process of community response that prioritises their needs, safety and healing. We are calling for processes that try to change the underlying myths and power dynamics that lead to assault, before it happens. We want processes that deal with perpetrators in a way that challenges their beliefs and behaviours, and gets them to take responsibility for their actions and for trying to change.

“This day is about healing and empowerment of survivors and supporters. It is about saying that dealing with sexual assault is important, and that we all need to work together in our communities to make that happen.”

Some of the participants …

Considering the importance of the issues the response of Melbourne’s activist community woud have to be described as disappointing, though it seemed from the words of one speaker at least that she was not surprised, with hard words indeed for the ‘anarchist and punk’ community. Proceedings began – after a lunch provided by the wonderful people from Food not Bombs -
The Food not Bombs table

with some of the organisers reading a statement, followed by an open mic for those who wished to share their stories or viewpoints:

At the open mic

and ended with a group reading based on Andrea Dworkin’s 1983 address “I Want a Twenty-Four Hour-Truce During Which There Is No Rape,” (www.icasa.org/uploads/dworkin.doc).
More later, hopefully with video.
Links:

http://www.worldwithout.org/

(contact via worldwithout@post.com)

http://communitiesresponsetosexualassault.wordpress.com/

13 December – video now on EngageMedia:

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/ida1dec07engage.avi/view