During the 2004 Pointless Fest, at events connected to Pointless Fest, 3 people were sexually assaulted. People spontaneously came together to emotionally support the survivors, carry out survivor demands, and hold perpetrators accountable. Out of this organizing, two local groups formed to work on sexual assault within our “radical” communities. Philly’s Pissed is a group formed to support survivors of sexual assault; Philly Stands Up works with perpetrators.
Over the past year, lots of folks have been telling us about things that made them feel unsafe at Pointless Fest last year and may have contributed to the assaults that occurred. We are taking seriously the organizers’ commitment to make Pointless Fest a fun and safe event. We want to be proactive and do whatever we can to prevent sexual assaults from happening. If some fuckers make people feel unsafe and/or sexually assault them, we will be there and accessible to support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. We will not tolerate sexual assault within our communities; we made that clear last year by our actions and will continue to do so by doing the following:
-Childcare: We will provide activities, supplies, snacks, care, and volunteers to do childcare this year at Pointless Fest. The Pointless Fest organizers have agreed to provide the space to do childcare.
-Housing: We will assist in safe space housing. THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE
DOING ALL HOUSING! If you arrive in town and find yourself in an unsafe space you can call the Philly’s Pissed/Philly Stands Up hotline for immediate assistance; (267)978-1411. If you are coming to Pointless Fest and have a particular need such as; you are coming with children, you need queer or gender variant safe housing, you are recovering from an addiction, etc., please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Security: We will be training all the security and organizers in order to raise awareness about dealing with safety and sexual assault issues. With more people trained in how to be supportive allies, there will be more support available if a situation arises.
-Support: We will also have designated people from our groups that will make themselves known at the beginning of each show and will be available throughout the event to offer support. We will also be running a hotline number in case of emergencies or concerns related to sexual assault or safe space: (267)978-1411.
-Education: We will be tabling with resources and information, as well as presenting a workshop every day of Pointless Fest.
-Publicity: We are trying to get this information out prior to Pointless Fest to address some of the concerns expressed to us by people about their safety. We will have flyers available and posted, and are working to get this information out to other media and people. Please feel free to copy this statement in full.
We developed this proactive safe space model in preparation for the recent Biodevastation convergence in Philadelphia and feel confident about the ability of other communities to use similar models to create the safe space that is needed everywhere.
We want to thank everyone who has supported us, both within Philadelphia and around the world, over the past year. We also want to let you know that one year ago none of this organizing existed. We saw sexual assault as a serious problem in our communities and organized both to react to and to prevent it. We’ve had to be creative and teach ourselves how to do this work; we’ve certainly made some mistakes as we’ve been learning. One mistake was during initial organizing: all of the people who worked on supporting the survivors identified as women and used restrictive gender language to describe their work. Since then, our communities identified that as alienating to people who don’t have that identify and we organized around the work that we do rather than a restrictive gender identity.
A pattern that has become apparent is that perpetrators flee communities where they’ve been called out and move to an area with no group to continue the work that was started. There are communities around the country that are addressing sexual assault in their own ways. If every community did this, we would be able to hold perpetrators accountable no matter where they went. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT SEXUAL ASSAULT IN OUR COMMUNITIES; YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER. We’d like to offer our groups as resources to help you in your organizing efforts; we’re certainly not experts but we can tell you our experiences and what we’ve learned.
Philly’s Pissed and Philly Stands Up