portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

forest defense | gender & sexuality

Cascadia Forest Defenders Needs People

Call to Action in the Willamette National Forest

The Cascadia Forest Defenders are in need of conscientious people willing to live and work in a full time occupation of an endangered olde growth rain forest within the Willamette National Forest. This includes Womyn and Trans who are specifically interested in helping maintain the W+T action as well as people who are interested in the general action/occupation. There are a lot of places to work that require a large body of diverse of people. People who can come, learn and work, for any length of time are greatly appreciated... REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!
There is also an alarming amount of work to be done on the town end of the campaign, anyone that is interested in helping with that, particularly people living in the Eugene area are urged to call and find out how you can help. Any amount of time is useful, please don't feel like you have to be on board full time to be helpful.
Also if you are intersted in organizing a work party ( you and your friends come out for a day or two to work on a specific project) please contact us for project ideas and information.
I'd like to take a moment to say this is not your average call to action, we arent looking just for volunteers, we are looking for people interested in evolving the campaign as much as plugging into it.
No Experiance Necassary. Trainings are available all of the time.
Thank you for your time. We hope to hear from you soon, as do the forests.
Cascadia Forest Defenders

homepage: homepage: http://www.forestdefenders.org
phone: phone: 541-684-8977
address: address: PO Box 11122 Eugene OR 97401

have you yet 07.Apr.2004 16:21

me or maybe you

have you enacted a policy to deal with sexual assault yet? cause forest defense has previously been a pretty dangerous place to be a woman.

Policy on Sexual Assault for Forest Campaigns 13.Apr.2004 00:00

They Can't Give You What You Already Got

In lieu of waiting for some external authority to come up with laws to make you nice and safey-safe (doesn't that sound nauseatingly familiar; it's called The System), why don't you consider establishing your own policy around sexual assault? Here's some ideas to start with:

1. I will clearly state, verbally, and, when necessary, physically, my boundaries around my personal space.
2. I will not get too high or drunk to articulate those boundaries.
3. I will exercise my right to speak and act, without waiting for men to show how progressive they are by 'allowing' or 'encouraging' me to speak/act.
4. I will treat all men equally, and not give extra attention to alpha- and high-status males.
5. I will help other women learn how to establish their boundaries.
6. I will strive to promote an atmosphere free of coercion and manipulation, on the part of both men and women.

If every woman would stand up for herself, embrace responsibility for her own behavior, and take just one less-experienced woman under her wing, men would not even bother trying their shit.

I in 4 19.Apr.2004 13:35

Pissoff Rophie Wannabe and Get a Safer Space Policy

The key to destroying rape culture is not just self -defense and assertivness. These are great reactive tools that we have needed to adopt. They don't always work, are seldom taught and are sometimes ableist. Don't mock a safer space policy. Main point..... we should not have to watch our backs all the fuckin time. I want someone else to step up and make places safer... fuckin demand it! I want it to be mandatory. I want my community to watch my back. I want my community to destroy the rape culture that it has created. Communities current failure to be pro-active or even reactive surrounding it's rape culture dosn't / can't change the responsibility the community has to this issue. My loud ass mouth and gun alone can't stop the 1 in 4.

0 in 4 19.Apr.2004 15:57

They Can't Give You What You Already Got

You are obviously talking about the larger culture. I am speaking specifically about forest campaigns.

To my knowledge (in 6+ years of being involved with treesits and west coast forest activism), not one woman has been raped by a stranger while traipsing along a trail in the woods at an established treesit.

There IS a need to have processes and policies around assault - sexual and otherwise, for established and new campaigns - just as there should be processes and policies for dealing with dog-bringers, people with substance abuse problems, slackers, etc. And I am not disputing that there have been problems.

But the writer's tone indicated that somehow having a policy would make him/her feel that the forest was 'safe'.

If you saw an ad asking you to visit Paris, would you write to the travel bureau and ask them if they have laws there against sexual assualt? And if they wrote back, and said yes, would you then feel safe? Would you then feel that you didn't have to take any responsibility for your behavior? Would you also assume that everyone you met was just great, and relinquish all judgement as to whether an individual was trustworthy?

Because Big Brother wants more laws. But laws (or a "policy") doesn't create safety.

Free people, exercising their right to self-determination, and looking out for one another, create a safe space.

fyi 21.Apr.2004 00:34


fyi CFD does have a written policy on sexual assault and is one of the most aware groups around issues of sexual assault and sexism within the entire activist movement that I've ever seen.

They've been attacked by folks for being too militant on anti-patriarchy and anti-rape culture organizing!

contact them for more info  forestdefenders@riseup.net, 541-684-8977.

You are not immune! No one is. 21.Apr.2004 01:04

1 in 4

There have been rapes in your community period!

Rape is rape. Stranger rape is less prodominant. I don't understand your point.

There are plenty of survivors that need to be assured that their community is working on destroying rape culture. Yes, it helps to see safer space policies and a community activily working on these issues, supporting survivors and holding perps accountable. Yes, I do check my destinations surroundings before traveling this is the burden of many survivors. It makes sense.

A safer space policy may just be words. True. However, the fact that people are behind those words helps. The fact that people in a community came together to work on this issue is powerful. It is a starting point and it makes survivors feel supported and considered. The movement has lost wonderful activist due to lack of effort around issues of rape and sexual assult. Not taking action is not an option. It won't vanish on it's own.

Please note "Safer Space" not "Safe Space". There are no safe spaces.

Agreed! 24.Apr.2004 14:05

They Can't Give You What You Already Got

I totally agree with you - the work that CFD has done around this issue is important, and not taking action is not an option. And I really agree with your comment that there is only 'safer' - not 'safe' spaces. That is true wherever we go, whatever we do.

My comments were very specific to the original poster who claimed that 'forest defense has previously been a pretty dangerous place to be a woman', which seemed designed to discourage women who might otherwise heed CFD's call to action and implies, in my mind, a level of risk that just isn't there. I just don't think forest defense is 'dangerous', certainly not more dangerous than many things we take for granted (living in an urban area, for instance; many of us don't live in nice quiet little lala lands like Eugene), and the writer does a disservice to our movement by suggesting otherwise in such a driveby way.

From my perspective, we are standing up against the entire weight of this fucked up country and system; surely taking on a few stanky stupid boys is not beyond our abilities!

That said, I truly believe we need proactive committment, strength, and action, on the part of each individual, in addition to identified campaign paradigms and a codified approach to problem resolution.

Thanks for responding to my post. I hope someone other than ourselves has been reading this and that it sparks thoughtful engagement with this important issue!

One is too many 24.Apr.2004 19:54


Rape culture is currently beyond our control. People are being raped. People are being raped in the forest def. community. This is a rape culture that is and has been infecting this community. This is a rape culture that down plays and hides the damage done by sexual assult, rape and domestic violence. The ways in which we can recruit and retain activist is to take a stand on this serious and overwhelming issue. We can not ignore or underestimate the severity of this problem and we must acknowledge and expose the history of rape in our community. We owe the survivors. Questions- How do you deal with perps in your community? How do you support survivors?

And.... 31.Jul.2004 17:47


Some people have the experience of being blamed and judged because they try to say that rape is an issue. Others are judged and blamed because they try to draw attention to things other than rape as also being worthy of attention and effort. My question is: how can these things happen together?

Believe it or not, the skills used in being aware of other people's boundaries AND of self-assertion are both useful in activism.....not only on a personal level but on the level of taking the truth and speaking it, powerfully, to power, until the whole world is really watching.

These skills are related to the concept of truth-force, or satyagraha, that was practiced and advocated by Gandhi - except that Gandhi also sought to define what was violent and what wasn't. The approaches taken by those who know how to assert themselves and accept others as power-with-fully as possible, without assumption or blame, reflect a knowledge that all concepts of violence and nonviolence are subjective. The strength in this approach has to be experienced to be believed, and it can be learned by understanding that the oppressed can become the oppressor, and by studying how to treat all beings, at all times, as though they have potential for both - or neither.

The forest defense community has a reputation for rape culture: how much of that is due to the fact that an individual rape is sometimes brought before a community of hundreds, who actually try to find justice together around it, and how much is because of the kind of activism it is, I don't know.

One thing I do know is that force and coercion can be applied by comrades, in all fields of activism, if they choose. People from all walks of life are, overwhelmingly, raped more often by acquaintances - yes, with physical force used or by way of threat to children, reputation, or cause ("Better not tell anyone or it'll disrupt this whole campaign - and make your life hell, too.")-than by strangers.

I would love to see the fact that a community is up-front about what it contains celebrated, and to see awareness around the fact that it happens everywhere - yes, even in super-feminist urban lesbian sepratist spaces. I don't know which community it happens most often in, because generally when it happens, it happens in secrecy and shame.

I would love to see acknowledgement that the earth is being raped too, and for people to find ways (like the trans/womyn's action at Straw Devil) where people can act towards the end of all that and be physically safer as well.

I would love for the skills that people build from discussing and learning how to deal with these topics can be seen as radical skills in their own right, and to see these applied to activism internationally, to the benefit of all.