A Statement on Zero-Tolerance: Rape Apology

TW: Mentions of rape.

Unfortunately, due to recent discussions in the left-wing sphere, it has become necessary to reiterate something that should go without saying. Rape apology is unacceptable in every form it comes in; be it covering up sexual assault cases, defending those who sexually assault others, asking the victim what they were wearing, asking how much they drank, or any other kind of behaviour that allows rape culture to develop, it is entirely unacceptable.

The issue at hand was brought back into discussion due to the SWP’s (Socialist Workers Party) attempt to rebuild itself after being exposed for its appalling treatment of sexual assault victims a few years ago. The history of the SWP, and the scandals relating to its abuse and subsequent dismissal of women is far too long to list in one article (though news cases from the time are available for reading at the bottom of this article). Recently, however, the SWP have been seen attempting a comeback via other left wing groups – including our own.

A petition by Media Diversified was circulated earlier this month relating to the need to boycott the Stand Up To Racism conference, as the organisation is ran by the SWP. As Media Diversified said:

The racialised violence that has followed the Brexit vote demands a strong anti-racist movement; this movement must be principled and intersectional. This means recognising what Kimberlé Crenshaw and other Black Feminists have shown, that sexism and racism do not operate in silos rather oppressions often overlap and intersect.

Birmingham Socialist Students has supported this open letter, and will continue to distance ourselves from the SWP’s attempts to get involved with our campaigning activities. Furthermore, Birmingham Socialist Students does not support any organisation or individual who blames the victim of sexual assault for being sexually assaulted. We are an inclusive campaigning group that fully supports the rights of women and victims of sexual attacks.

To bring about socialist change for the better and work towards a united and equal future, we as a group believe that supporting marginalised groups is essential. As mentioned in statements previously, this includes the rights of black and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ communities (including trans* and non-binary people), women, people with physical and mental disabilities, sex workers, victims of assault, and the working class communities across the world. This should all go without saying, but so there is no chance of confusion, we unequivocally support these groups in our campaigning work.

Charlie Jones; Integration and Intersectionality.

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