Our decision to write this letter is not based on political or ideological rejections of the Occupy movement, but is motivated by a very real concern for the physical and emotional well-being of all those involved in Occupy Glasgow, with specific concern for women and vulnerable people.
We believe that those involved in the protest failed to ensure the safety of its participants. The safety of the most vulnerable amongst us must be paramount in any organisation or movement, and a failure to construct and implement a system which ensures the safety of all its participants constitutes a failure of the movement as a whole.
In light of the gang rape that took place on Tuesday, we condemn the decision to continue with the occupation. Not only does the rape itself constitute reason enough to end the protest, but the reaction in the days which have followed has only convinced us further.
Allowing rape apology, victim blaming, and accusations of 'fabrication' or 'conspiracy to bring the occupation to and end' to be voiced in statements both on the official Occupy Glasgow facebook page and at General Assemblies without question demonstrates a complete failure of those involved to grasp the severity of the incident.
There has been insufficient effort to make necessary changes to the physical space or the safer spaces policy following the attack.
Women remain at high risk at Occupy Glasgow, and openly voiced this at the women's meeting on Friday 28th October. Prior to Tuesday, verbal and physical intimidation had been reported by occupiers to the group, yet these issues were not addressed.
It is extremely alarming that women at the occupation confirmed that the group only reported the rape after a group decision was taken to do so. Even after members of the occupation took this decision - which, we cannot stress enough, was not theirs to take - the occupation continued to refer to the rape as 'alleged'.
Our decision to write an open letter followed attempts to reach out to Occupy Glasgow by attending General Assemblies. However, women who have attended meetings and facilitated workshops have experienced verbal and physical intimidation from occupiers, leaving us no option but to make this official appeal to the women of Occupy Glasgow to take our concerns seriously.
We consider this matter urgent, and cannot stress enough that this appeal is motivated purely by our desire to create safe spaces for women not just within activist movements, but everywhere in society.
Glasgow Women's Activist Forum