This Week in the Mercury


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sexual Assault Reported at Occupy Portland Camp

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 11:10 AM

The Portland police are investigating a sexual assault that allegedly occurred at the Occupy Portland camp on Friday night.

According to protester D. Jackson, after the victim reported the assault to Occupy organizers, they pressured the suspect to leave the scene immediately. The assault was reported to police and there are activists at the camp on hand to talk about sexual assault resources—they're wearing pink armbands.

The protest so far has been surprisingly safe and violence free—this terrible allegation certainly casts a shadow over the encampment. Amid all the friendship and excitement, keep on your guard, everyone.

Here's the report the police sent out last night:

The Portland Police Bureau is investigating an allegation of a sexual assault that occurred last night in Chapman Square where "Occupy Portland" supporters are camping.

Last night, at 11:15 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to Central Precinct were flagged down at Southwest 5th and Main by representatives from "Occupy Portland." The representatives told the officers that a sexual assault may have occurred inside Chapman Square. Officers learned that a female in a tent at Chapman Square may have been sexually assaulted but that she was not willing to be identified. It is not known at this time if the victim is an adult or a juvenile.

Officers worked with representatives from "Occupy Portland" throughout the day to identify the victim and to determine if a sexual assault actually happened. At this point, the information has been documented but no victim has been identified and the allegation has not been substantiated.

The Portland Police Bureau has advised representatives from "Occupy Portland" to monitor activity at the park closely and immediately report any criminal activity.

Nearly two dozen officers will continue to monitor Chapman Square and the surrounding area throughout the weekend.

Anyone with information about this possible sexual assault is encouraged to contact Sgt. Ken Whattam at (503) 823-0242

UPDATE: Writer Lauren Hudgins has this frustrating account of trying to get more info about the assault.

I am furious and concerned. Tonight at around 6pm, I went down to the camp to see what progress on sexual assault response had been accomplished since Friday night. I inquired at Info about the sexual assault advocacy group. Info told me to talk to Safety (right next to them). Safety told me to talk to Info. When I complained that Info had just told me to talk to them, they told me to talk to Medical. Medical told me to look for anyone in a pink armband. I had already been looking for them and hadn't found a single one. Then someone at Medical took down my name and information so that someone who could answer my questions could get back to me eventually. This is not an acceptable response. Every single person at Info, Safety, and Medical should know how to immediately contact someone in the sexual assault advocacy team. What if I had been a victim of sexual assault and wanted to talk to someone? I would have gotten the run around. Someone could say that if this had been an actual case of sexual assault I would have been given more attention. But a victim shouldn't have to reveal to Info, Safety, and Medical (all represented by males at that time) that s/he had been sexually assaulted in order to access help. Medical reminded me that the pink armbands had been working really hard and been doing wonderful work. I absolutely have faith that they are. The problem is that there is no system to connect with them. It doesn't seem to me that there has been much progress since Friday night. When I complained that more should be done to make people safe and there should be more of a conversation about sexual assault at Occupy Portland, I was constantly met with the apology "Sorry, but we were so preoccupied with the Portland Marathon."

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Comments are closed.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy