Launch of our first research project!


Launch of new research project on gendered harms in UK activist communities. 

This project aims to create knowledge about the lived experiences of harm, violence and abuse in radical activist communities in the United Kingdom. It has a particular focus on exploring the experiences of survivors affected by sexual violence including women, gender-queer and transgender individuals. We aim to critically explore how activist movements reproduce social power relations of gender, race, class and sexuality that shape experiences of harm, violence and abuse. The research also aims to discuss how useful the tools commonly used within activist groups to combat sexual violence are (for example reading groups, community accountability projects, calling out/in, zines, discussion groups and workshops, safe(r) space or zero tolerance policies). The goal is to co-construct knowledge and develop a network of survivors to work towards creating effective challenges to heterosexism within social justice movements and activist communities.

Call out to get involved in a research project on sexual violence in activist communities

Was your sexual abuser a high-profile activist? Have you felt unable to speak out about it? Or have you spoken out about it only to be accused of making it up and/or dividing the movement? Did your anti-state activism and/or experience of police brutality rule out going to the police? Were you able to kick out your abuser using other methods? Did the accountability process backfire? Did your abuser just move on to a different group and do the same thing to someone else? Was the trans community so small that you didn’t want your partner to lose it? Do you want to be involved in taking action and challenging sexual violence in activist communities?

We want to hear from survivors who identify as women, gender-queer or trans who are ready to talk about their experiences of sexual violence within current or past organizing in radical social justice movements in the UK. This may have happened once or multiple times, we are interested in hearing from folks with a variety of experiences of sexual violence including unwanted touching, flashing, harassment, stalking, sexual assault and rape.

The salvage collective aims to bring together self-identified women, queers and transfolks who have experienced gender oppression, violence and abuse in activist communities to share experiences, resources and  build communities of belief, support and action. We got together through a workshop on survivor-led approaches to gendered violence and abuse at AFem 2014. This is our first research project. We aim to develop resources, information and practical recommendations to work towards creating effective challenges to gendered violence, abuse and harms within social justice movements and communities.

If you are interested in getting involved and/or want more information about this research project:

E-mail: julia.downes at
Phone: Julia 01908 655455
Twitter: @Project_Salvage

Our project takes the issues of safety, confidentiality and research ethics very seriously. This project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at The Open University HREC/2015/2041/Downes/1


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