Funding News!

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Some brilliant news to share. We have been awarded £4,434.90 from the Feminist Review Trust to deliver a series of workshops in London, Bradford, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh with social justice movement groups provisionally titled ‘How to Best Respond to Sexual Violence within your Organisation/Group’. They will run in summer 2016 after the salvage research project findings are launched. These workshops will enable us to share our research findings and help to put them into practice. Specifically the workshops aim to help activists identify and challenge sexism and abuse within their groups. More broadly they aim to transform social justice movements into safer, inclusive and more effective movements in which women can transform their lives and provoke social change.

We will start working on this project in the new year. If you are interested in hosting, co-facilitating or making sure your group and/or organisation gets the opportunity to attend please get in touch thesalvagecollective@gmail.com.

 

Last call for interviews as part of Salvage research project

not celebs no academics.jpgPictures by Lindsay Draws from this amazing free educational mini-zine for all the silencers, derailers, mansplainers, equivocators & apologists out there 

We are really grateful for those who have shared their experiences with us. We have met some incredible survivors and been involved in powerful conversations that dare to break the silences, transform the unspeakable and grasp for a new language to speak about and challenge the everyday harm, violence and abuse experienced within activist lives, groups and movements.

This is now the final call for survivors (self-identified women, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming) who have experienced sexual violence within past and/or current organising in a social justice movement in the UK who would like to take part in the interview part of our research project. You may have experienced this once or multiple times and we are interested in exploring a variety of experiences of violence, abuse and harm. We are now going to be winding up our interviews before Christmas. Interviews can be arranged at a time, place and method of your choosing (including face-to-face, phone and online). You can email: julia.downes@open.ac.uk or call 01908 655455 to talk through how to take part. There is an answering machine that is safe to leave messages on. You can read more about the research here.

If you do not feel comfortable doing an interview but would like to take part in the research in a different way  you are very welcome to show solidarity with the project by contributing something else. Options could include joining the working group and getting involved in writing, meetings, planning, administrating and facilitating workshops, web design, artwork, helping to spread the word and much more.

We have some exciting plans for 2016 and if you are interested in co-organising a session or workshop for your group, social centre, radical event or bookfair about identifying, responding to and preventing sexual violence in activist groups and spaces based on our findings we are interested in hearing from you. You can email us at thesalvagecollective@gmail.com and follow us on twitter

Update: Salvage Research Project

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We are really grateful for the interest that Project Salvage has attracted so far. On our trips out and about many people have told us that this project is timely, overdue and very much needed. Which is great. We are still keen on getting as many sexual violence survivors involved as possible.

We are interested in hearing about as many different experiences and situations as possible. We understand that it takes time to process abusive situations and the idea of talking about it to a stranger can be daunting. We’ve had positive feedback about our interviews so far, for example, one survivor said “I spent 2 hours talking to Julia this afternoon and she’s very nice 10/10 would recommend”. If you are unsure if your situation or experience fits or if you want to share your experience in a different way with us (e.g. by skype, email or online chat rather than a face-to-face interview) please get in touch with us to talk it through.

There is still time to do an interview. We are going to be doing interviews across the UK until mid-December 2015. Interviews can be arranged at a time, place and method of your choosing. You can email: julia.downes@open.ac.uk or call 01908 655455 to talk through how to take part. There is an answering machine that is safe to leave messages on.

You can read more about the research project on this page and follow us on twitter here

Launch of our first research project!

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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:

Web: https://projectsalvage.wordpress.com/research
E-mail: julia.downes at open.ac.uk
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

Beyond ‘The Honeytrap’

Sorry it has been a while. I have been busy moving jobs. You can out more about what I am doing as a job here. I am going to be presenting some thoughts about the backlash against safer spaces and community accountability processes in left, radical, anarchist and anti-authoritarian social justice movements and cultures as part of a panel called Making Feminist Sense of Left-wing and Radical Politics in Contemporary Europe at the ECPR Standing Group on Gender and Politics conference in June. Let me know if you are interested in reading it or if you know of any backlash articles and blogs that I should check out.

Next Workshop at LaDIYfest Sheffield 29 Nov 2014

Gendered Abuse & Violence in Radical Activist Communities Workshop 14:15 – 15:15

Content note: discussion about sexual violence, rape, abuse, rape culture, victim-blaming, collusion and silence Salvage 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. Experiences of gendered violence within activist circles undermine core principles and can leave women, queers and transfolks with little choice but to distance themselves from collective organisation and activist spaces. This workshop aims to bring together those who have been affected by violence and abuse in their activist communities to explore the barriers that survivors face in identifying and speaking out about gendered violence. This workshop will explore these issues using case studies and group discussion.

LaDIYfest Sheffield is happening on Saturday 29 November. Workshops are running in the Quaker Meeting House (10 St James’ St) between 11am – 5:30pm, with vegan food and refreshments for sale, zines, stalls, a quiet room and a supervised children’s area. These workshops are open to all genders and workshop guidelines and a safe space policy are available here. There is a suggested donation of £6 for the day-time event or £8 for both events (including the evening show at The Redhouse, 168 Solly Street), but people attending are welcome to pay as much or as little as they can afford. No one will be turned away due to a lack of funds.

Mission Statement

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Image by Emma Thacker

Survivor-led Challenges to Violence and Abuse in Activist Communities

To bring together women, transgender and non-binary people who have experienced gender-based oppression, violence, abuse and harm in activist communities to share resources and  build communities of belief, support and action.