Amy Ziering is the producer of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about American students fighting sexual assault on their campuses. In a recent panel, Ziering spoke of how women of colour are disproportionately affected by sexual assault in the US. The film, however, mostly depicts white women. She explains, “it’s because the only people [who] felt empowered enough to speak … were white women. So the film itself is a reflection, it’s a symptom, of our culture and of how brutally it silences women of colour.” I could not agree more.
In Australia, too, Indigenous and ethnic women are over-represented as victims of sexual violence but under-represented in positions of advocacy and leadership. At the most prestigious educational institution in Sydney, I was the only non-white woman on a committee founded to restructure response to survivors on campus. The strategies being discussed did not account for differences in faith, culture and norms of the student body. How could they? There were no diverse representatives. I found feminist “safe” spaces to be so exclusive that there exist entirely separate spaces representing women of colour. A search for online feminist spaces around Australia reveals that for most, there exists a women of colour alternative