As reported earlier on Breitbart.com, a woman was allegedly raped at Occupy New Haven camp on Tuesday, but it’s celebration time for Occupy. A party is planned because attorneys for the city of New Haven, Connecticut have allowed the Occupiers to stay. Meanwhile, Occupy New Haven has attempted to distance itself from the assault, with decidedly mixed reactions.
According to Fox News:
The "Occupy" group, one of the last remaining camps from last year's national movement, had been under fire from city officials who say they have commandeered a public space at the expense of citizens who should be able to enjoy it. The city had ordered them out by noon Wednesday, but the protesters won a reprieve from a federal judge who gave them until at least March 28 to stay put.
Police were called to the scene on Tuesday by witnesses who found the victim in distress in a tent. They quickly zeroed in on Gamble, who is listed on the state's sex offender registry for a first-degree sexual assault conviction in 1991. Gamble was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Meanwhile on their Facebook page , a scrambling Occupy New Haven released the following statement:
NBC Connecticut is reporting that a woman was raped on Monday at Occupy New Haven. This is the first we are hearing of this heinous crime. We take safety at the protest very seriously, and we take many precautions to make sure we are policing ourselves and keeping everyone safe. However, NBC Connecticut did not tell the complete story -- this woman was not part of the protest and was asked to leave the movement for allegedly using illegal drugs.
Occupy New Haven's "Good Neighbor Policy" prohibits the use of illegal drugs and alcohol on-site. Through mediation, it was determined that she would have to move away from the protest, because those who violate the zero-tolerance policy are no longer welcome as part of our protest. This policy has been active since very early on, and is posted on-site. She apparently decided to stay even after having been asked to leave, and she moved to a more isolated area of the Green.
While we very, very strongly condemn crimes of any kind happening, and we hope the perpetrator is sent to prison if he is found guilty, it is unreasonable to believe that the protest can act as the police force for the entire New Haven Green outside of the protest's boundaries. This story is an important part of what actually happened, and we call on all news media to include these facts as part of their reporting. The media has been incredibly good with getting facts correct thus far, and we ask that they do not stop now.
This is Keith Olbermann-level logic: a woman who is in a tent in the same park as the Occupy movement is allegedly raped. She WAS ‘part of the movement’, but was allegedly asked to leave because of her alleged drug use. And this allegedly has nothing to do with Occupy; why? Because it looks bad.
A number of comments on the Occupy New Haven Facebook page seem to reflect these sentiments. Here are a few that are critical of Occupy New Haven and their response...
“...for a "leader-less" movement, it's also interesting that at least some of you felt that you had the authority to ask this woman to leave the "movement." If Occupy is as open and welcoming as it claims to be, asking a woman to leave the movement is incredibly hypocritical.”
“Your ass-covering, victim-blaming, cop-relying, internal-policing, prison-loving nature is inherently rape-supporting. Defend yourself first, make sure that you SUSPECT the victim is a drug user, clarify that she wasn't supposed to be in a certain space at a certain time so you aren't responsible but she is, and then tack on a nugget at the end to clarify that, oh yeah, rape is abstractly bad. Whether or not the media report is true or she is an informant or whatever (and that is something I would hardly put past the police/city), your own response is appalling.”
“My point is that ONH has no authority to administer the green or enforce their rules on people who are camping on the green. If they believe they have that authority then they need to take responsibility for what their authority leads to. They overstepped their powers by making her move to an area far from their encampment alone, which makes a single woman sleeping alone in an area vulnerable to rape. Occupy may have rules, but what gives them the right to enforce them on people in a public space? The citizens of New Haven never voted to allow the occupiers to administer encampments on the green or enforce their rules on people at any spot (even within the occupy camp) on the green. They have no right to do that, and their unlawful use of authority contributed to a tragedy.”
“If there is no clear evidence of a plant, then it's best to assume that this wasn't one. It's not hard to imagine that a predator with no place to go might see the camp as a place to find a vulnerable person, and an intoxicated woman wandering around the outskirts of camp fits that bill.
Instead of focusing on who or what to blame, we should take this as an opportunity to be a good model for the world that we want to create. Why not have a serious discussion about ONH's possible vulnerabilities to predators, and how to prevent something like this from happening in the future?”
That last comment is just plain common sense, but so far the knee-jerk reaction by Occupy movements nationwide has been to simply shift the blame and move on. Few within the Occupy movement have acknowledged the simple truth -- the encampments that they have set up that are administered by people with an antagonistic relationship to the police have created security problems.