ENOUGH WITH MALE CHAUVINIST AGGRESSIONS!!
[This statement can be signed by any people at individual level, or collectivities (social centers, organizations, collectives …)
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The purpose of this text is the urgent necessity to transform the private into public, the social into political. The urgent necessity of a real and effective political response to the chauvinist aggressions that we, women, experience on a daily basis.
In Santiago de Compostella, Galiza, in the summer of 2015 a woman, who could be any of us, suffered a chauvinist aggression at a festive night venue, a social space that is, a political one. She confronted him with it and he, not considering his action to be an aggression, questioned her and ridiculed the situation.
This woman felt that she had had enough, that all aggressions are important. She made the private public, and granted these intolerable attitudes, that we all suffer from, the importance that they deserve to have. She decided that it was about time to give a name to these chauvinist aggressions; so we organised and gave a collective answer. We materialised sisterhood. Without meaning to, the landscape of the leftist social movements of the city were deeply altered and thrown off, affecting many personal and group relations.
At this moment we explain again what chauvinist violence consists of. That micro level violence sustains violence on the macro level. It’s not about where he put his hands, it’s about consent.
We found ourselves having to explanation and defend this principle, because the man in question participates in alternative and leftist social movements. If he would have been part of different movements, the people that condemned our collective response, would have supported it without question.
During the whole process we witnessed how the aggression that we made public by means of a manifesto was questioned, discredited, and our text was taken out of context as to say things that we never wrote.
We suffered a lot of misogynist violence on the street and on social media. They called us historical, feminazis, resentful. We were questioned, enquired, and insulted. We witnessed brotherhood between men and how from there a movement was build in the defence of the aggressor. Many people concluded that its them who get to decide what attitudes are aggressions and which ones are not.
In search of a feminist conscience, through personal and collective reflection, in the centre of the movements and persons that declare themselves feminists, we created a reaction and a public denunciation. We reclaimed a public debate and collective reflection about that that we have been taught is private.
But the personal and collective reaction to our call turned into a war, which as such is irrational. We demanded an apology from Suso Sanmartín for an act that he didn’t deny doing, but that he doesn’t recognise as an aggression.
Before publishing the manifesto, we invited the collectives of which this man – who could be any man – is a part of, to reflect. We asked from the collectives that they take a stance and denounce Suso’s behaviour. There were different degrees of answers, but non of them were satisfactory.
We want to know whether our allies in the struggle and companions in so many other areas are willing to give up their privileges and enter into a conversation with us when we demand it so. We reiterate that the political and social left is only so when we are capable of working on ourselves and are willing to give up our own privileges. An essential task if are to really tear down power.
In the summer of 2015 we decided to shift the focus away from the aggressor and instead focus on the public debate and the political actions around chauvinist aggressions, its consequences and how to confront them to eradicate them from our lives and political spaces. We did just that, and took on a physical and emotional process of self-defence and the creation of alternatives to the sexist status quo. We did it and will continue doing so.
Last winter, the aggressor in question filed a law suit against several of the 186 women who signed the manifesto for “insulting his honor” and by this he showed his intentions of moving the political debate to judicial territory.
By doing this, the conflict that should be dealt with in assemblies and spaces for refleccion and debate, was delegated to insitutions that lack valid tools for the struggle against patriarchal violence, and which we we certainly do not recognize as an authority to decide what is or not a chauvinist aggression and how we should react in the face of it.
What also became clear is the ongoing validity of primitive codes of honor, which for decades covered up the most degrading treatment of women, their objectification and use.
As a result, this summer the women who were sued are called into a judicial reconciliation through which Suso Sanmartin requests a sum of €15.000, an apology and public rectification from all of them. We do not accept any kind of false reconciliation. Our struggle takes place elsewhere.
The fact that we publicly condemned a chauvinist aggression that happened in our own circles, shows to what extent sexist violence is a structural problem in our society and how it is socially consented. Aggressions towards women are internalised to the extent that they become invisible even to the people who think they are vigilant about them at all moment. Its urgent to think about who benefits from, and who is an accomplish of, the criminalisation of a feminist movement that is our only existent answer to the subtle, hidden and everyday violence. Who benefits from the fact that 186 women, who condemned and made visible a chauvinist aggression, are being sued for insulting the honor of the aforementioned aggressor? And who is an accomplish here?
When an aggressor request €15.000 for the damages made to his honor, and starts playing the victim, where does this leave the debate about chauvinist aggressions and sexist violence?
Through this whole process we are seeing that declaring yourself a feminist and reacting in the face of an aggression has consequences. However, together with all rebellious women in history who spoke truth to power and patriarchal violence, and in sisterhood with the woman what was harassed and all the others who had to face different kind of aggressions during this process, it is for us a vital and political necessity to give a strong collective response. If we have to go to court, we will go, but we will not take one step back in this path that we are certain about taking.
In the face of the victimisation of the aggressor, the dignity of the harassed women and their right to respond;
In the face of the “honer” of the aggressors, the of the rage of the feminists, our right to self defence;
In the face of the silence and blind complicity with everyday violence and the voices that name them; we will continue to stand up for our undeniable right to self defence against the patriarchy and its accomplice
ENOUGH CHAUVINIST AGGRESSIONS!
IF THEY HURT ANYONE OF US, WE ALL ANSWER!
In defence of women’s right to live without violence and to respond faced with any type of aggression.
In feminist sisterhood and support of the women and collectives that were sued