This is a blog created in order to raise awareness around the issue of sexual / gendered harassment that occurred in the Helsinki (Finland) squatting scene autumn – winter 2007 – 2008. The main focus of it, was targeted against myself – a feminist activist woman – and brought on severe silencing attempts and shaming and blaming from within the movement. January 18th, 2008, I was kicked off a mailing list related to the project of creating a social centre in Helsinki. And after sending an international call for solidarity, as a response to this action, I was completely banned from all activity.
I’m still looking for a process, where I could be heard on this in a democratic fashion. There has been many requests made on my side, but still no action towards creating a space, where I could hear the specific reasons for why I was banned, have the opportunity to respond, and create the dialogue necessary before any balanced decision can be made on my inclusion / exclusion from the Social Centre project.
It has also proved very difficult to get heard on the original procedure of excluding me from the mailing list. The harassment (mental illness declarations, verbal aggressions and so on) that came both before and after this exclusion, has still not been possible to address in a house meeting.
This blog is also created to show what my goal and aims are within the Social Centre Project. Apart from bringing important issues like safe environments free from harassment on the agenda, I would also like to focus on creating positive inclusive structures in order to have a vibrant and creative community.
I’m not saying that this would have to be instead or on top of the current system. I only wish to show that I do have concrete goals, and that I would like to have an equal opportunity to make this happen. So the persons feeling strongly connected with skulls and molotovs – could easily live side by side with persons like myself, not feeling comfortable with or wanting to be represented by symbols that for me would mean death and violence. I’m into symbols like hearts and flowers (new school).
What I wish to show here, is that the Social Centre can be represented by many different blogs, home pages, expressions. This would in my mind not be a threat to the unity of the project, but instead open it up for more people, and in that way make it stronger. So persons like myself, who would feel highly uncomfortable with having links to projects with homophobic and pornographic references (like Megafoni) could have a safe space, free from the issues we constantly work against having around us, and Megafoni people wouldn’t have to feel scared by getting criticism from “within” the movement.
Since I’m tired and saddened of how my case has been dealt with so far, I would also express a clear wish to create an alternative house meeting. So people who can not relate to my politics or person would in no way have to feel that their activity would be threatened by having me around (since there’s been clear wishes of not working with me expressed). I’m willing and wanting to create the kind of community I would feel comfortable with from scratch. Just by the simple act of having a different time for it. Same space, many different ways of being. That’s what I’d like to see happen.
“We are powerful because we have survived.”
“I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
“Your silence will not protect you.”
“…we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.”