Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Attempted Rape

We are at the evening G.A. Of course a white male is facilitating again. I am tired, recovering from the arrest and catching up on sleep so I'm late for the G.A.

We are at the report back from actions part. The man I was handcuffed to jumps up to give a report back about our arrests. I am too slow and not recognized by the facilitator.

He is wearing the same misogynist shirt. He speaks of our arrest and then puffs out his chest to show off his shirt. He reads the 'slogan' outloud over the microphone to a scattering of laughter. Then he proceeds to say how the police LOVED his shirt and he has promised to bring many back to them. More laughter.

Then he turns from the microphone with the most slick, evil, lewd grin on his face, heading straight towards me. I look right thru him, refusing to acknowledge his slimy presence. And I mourn for the womyn he has hurt.

4 more arrested

Two womyn, two men are arrested attempt to testify in the armed services committee hearings, I believe. We thought 10 more were arrested but only 4.

I don't know what happened to all the people willing to risk arrest - or were they just willing to risk arrest for occupying and not for shutting down business as usual on the Capitol? hmmmm

Rape

Three of us, Janine, myself and a man, are still sitting in the small holding room of the D St city jail, waiting to be brought into the next room for paper processing.

We are still handcuffed behind our backs. And we are talking. The man, I totally forget his name, has on the very shirt I was supposed to be standing by Magdalene when she challenged the sexism and violence inherent in this shirt.

I point to the shirt and say to him I'd like to talk about it and maybe come up with a better way to say what the author was trying to say.

He looks at me incredulously and bellows, his previously soft voice I was straining to hear now loud and authoritarian, there is nothing wrong with this shirt.

Janine & I look at him and I say, well it is equating sex with getting fucked over, with rape, with violence. He snorts and flashes his credentials: he's a psychiatrist and counsels battered and raped women, and he knows for a fact that if I or any woman has 'issues' with this shirt it is because she hasn't dealt with her own rape.

I am frankly shocked and furious. I tell him calmly I can see exactly how he counsels victims of male abuse and exactly what he feels about rape and I do not need to talk about it with him anymore.

Janine agrees. We talk about the other arrestees, especially David, who had called for this action. We hear that one of the other arrestees is a former judge and was arrested because he kept shouting into the megaphone of the officer who was trying to give us warnings! I'm thinking I'll try that next time!

We get taken into separate rooms, one male and one female, handcuffed to a wall hook together. I have the luck of being handcuffed with the misogynist male. My face reveals nothing of my disgust.

He begins to tell me he has been married 5 times, and has fucked hundreds of women, he's even had a few homosexual relationships, and so he's an expert on sex. I ask him to please respect my wishes: I will not talk with him about this at this time but will at some point.

Consciousness. GeesusHcrist.

6 arrests! to be continued

Janine is sitting by herself on the female side in the paddywagon when the police point the way for me to go up into the back. There are two white males on the other (male) side of the paddywagon. I don't know either of them.

Another white male gets inside after me, and then Eve is brought into our side.

We are 6. We are waiting for the other. No others come.

Getting arrested

I return to the Hart Building, minus the banner and Kevyn. People are still chanting and I can see a couple of small banners individuals are holding. I also see Dennis being arrested on the first floor.

I hurry to the 3rd floor, where there are banks of TV cameras and lots of activists along with persons who are working in the building or visiting. I join a group of activists chanting over the balcony.

The police have given their three warnings on the megaphone downstairs. It looks like most of the activists have dispersed. Maybe they are on these floors.

I chant with everyone as a police officer approaches and once again asks us to stop chanting or be arrested. He tells us we have already been given many repeated warnings.

I ask him how does that work? We have given our government many repeated warnings and we are just ignored. He kinda smiles and nods in agreement. He asks if we want to be arrested. I say hell no, we want Congress and the President arrested for continuing old and starting new wars.

I walk off around the corner and run smack into a dozen TV cameras. I decide I might as well give them something to record!

"We are the 99% and We are against all wars" I shout. I hear some voices joining me. And a young woman walks by my side, chanting.

A couple of police officers come from behind and tell me gently I need to stop chanting or be arrested. I chant louder. They put their hands on my arm and I slip slowly to the ground. The young woman is at first afraid but I try to mouth to her "delay tactics". She gets it and immediately tries to take my pulse.

Several police officers gather around as does the press. Several more officers are called in. The Lieutenant asks me if I need a medic. Several times. Several times I feebly say no.

My young doctor friend tells me my pulse is irregular and I should rest. She helps delay and occupy the cops.

Then four of the officers try to pick me up, which is a feat for anyone! 155 pounds of dead weight! Poor fellas. But they do & I shout the whole time. I do NOT want to be arrested! I want all our wars to end - 6 countries we are invading, $2 BILLION a DAY for wars. I want the president to be arrested! I want Congress to be arrested! I want corporate war profiteers to be arrested!

I hope my message gets on the news. The police are very slow, very careful not to hurt me, I'm making them work. And four are arresting me. And they are still kind and careful, even after the elevator doors close and the cameras are off of them. I have a moment of distress when the doors close on just us, but they maintain their cool. I am white and have an activist community full of lawyers in my corner.

And I'm arrested, handcuffed, and helped into the paddywagon.

Welcome back Senators!

We closed down the HART building for a hot minute today, beginning at 11:30a.m.

Kevyn & I were strolling from the plaza to the Capitol with about 4 or 5 other people plus 2 legal observers, when we arrived at the HART building just as folks were starting to chant. In other words, we were LATE!

We went thru security to see about 40 or 50 people marching around the rotunda, shouting "We are the 99% and we are against all wars & wall street".

Kevyn joined that group and I left to join the team that was going to drop our "End Wars NOW" banner from the 5th floor balcony. I had to hurry.

I rush to the elevator, get in, and an arm snakes around the closing door to push all the buttons! It is one of the activists whose action was to jam the elevators up, disrupting business as usual.

I jump out and race up 5 flights of stairs to see two young men from my team being detained by police in a corner of the balcony, with the banner bunched up on the ground about 5 feet away, in the other corner.

I walk up to the banner, swiftly gather it up in my arms, and head around to the other side of the balcony. I escape the officers that have detained the guys but run smack into two other police officers. They grab the banner and attempt to jerk it out of my arms but I hold on tight.

I know my rights. They cannot take my banner out of my arms.

They are both female officers. I tell them again they cannot take my banner. They tell me I cannot demonstrate inside the Hart Building. I tell them I am just walking around.

They finally let go and I begin to walk shadowed by two angry police officers almost tripping over my heels. People part to let us walk thru. I'm scanning, trying to escape.

We finally get to the opposite side of the building from where I first entered and rescued the banner. There are no people here, or other police so I attempt to talk with the officers.

I ask them to protect my First Amendment Rights of Free Speech instead of the rules of the rich. I ask them to head the opposite way and give me two minutes, just a little photo opportunity.

They refuse. They have no sense of humor - or sense of commadre-ness. They want to be tuffer then their male counterparts.

I want to save our $50 and much time spent banner.

As I am negotiating and they are steaming, a breathless white male police officer comes running up to us. He points to my banner and claims it was confiscated by him earlier.

I am surprised as it looked to me when I scooted in earlier, like the guys were given a warning and they obeyed, NOT risking arrest. I insist this is my banner and it was taken from me. He insists it's evidence.

He asks if I am willing to be arrested rather than turn over the banner. I say of course. The women police officers move to put on their rubber gloves and he backs off a little. I reiterate, it is my banner, it was taken from me (the guys did take it!), and I am not demonstrating (right at that moment...).

The officer asks me if I am ready to leave the building with my banner. Of course I respond. One of the female officers proclaims I need to be escorted out of the building and she will do it. I smile sweetly and push the button for the elevator.

I am watching for a moment to escape but she is on me like white on rice. The male officer also accompanies me down to the ground floor and points to the door which I entered earlier. Kevyn sees me and we leave the building together.

The cop tries to give me a warning but I am totally ignoring her. I give Kevyn the banner, thankful that she has responded so quickly. I return to the action inside.

Sex equals rape T-shirt

A womon takes me aside to tell me her story. We are leaving one of the womyn's support groups the two young womyn on the plaza have called.

Rampant sexism, unwanted sexual attention, lack of respect and valuing of womyn's voices, and the shushing of CodePINK were all on the agenda. One of the ONLY African American womon involved spoke adamantly and long about racism, lack of even minimal Black representation on the plaza, the high level of prejudice against homeless people, who happen to be predominantly people of color.

We are meeting again in a couple of hours and Magdalene wants to know if I will support her in our next group.

Her young 28 year old daughter was recently murdered by a man who was infatuated with her. We weep together.

Magdalene expresses her anguish over a t-shirt I first felt discomfort with but then laughed at yesterday at the anti-drone action. It says something like "I no longer need sex! I am now getting fucked daily by Corporations"

I am horrified that I didn't go with my first discomfort seeing that shirt and slipped into finding it "amusing", as certainly was the author's intention.

But how can we laugh at being raped? Being fucked over? 

Magdalene wants to raise our consciousness: we cannot allow sex to be equated with rape. I think because I associated it with heterosexual sex where male dominance prevails, I didn't go the step further.

I promise I will stand behind her and I apologize for my lack of consciousness, grateful she has the courage to speak up and stand against this wrong.

Misogyn alive and kicking at Freedom Plaza

I have set up several tents, including my big one, together in a corner of the grassy area for womyn - a no smoking area.

Several men are going ballistic, accusing me of segregating, "causing" divisions, promoting "special interests" and not unifying us.

I have attempted to speak with these older white men - and a couple of younger white men as well - and frankly, their level of misogyny is scary, especially among the so threatened younger ones.

At first, I thought they were attempting a sick joke but they are certainly for real. I had no idea I would be fighting for the right to have a womyn's space within the plaza.

The most disheartening thing is the devaluing and disrespect accorded the conversations we are having - as if the mere talking about sexism, racism, classism, etc., is not just 'divisive' but a total waste of time.

I want to quote Martin Luther King Jr - the one about making the time to have deep, meaningful, hard conversations. As always, he said it much more eloquently then that and I can't remember his exact words.