How Oxfam Sacrifices Women on the Altar of Social Justice

“White women’s experiences of sexual violence enter a world in which ‘protecting white womanhood’ is really about protecting racial capitalism and white supremacy.”

A recently leaked training document from the charity Oxfam has slammed “privileged” white women - not for the usual benign reasons - but for reporting sexual assault and rape. The document claims that ‘privileged white women’ support the root causes of sexual violence for the sin of wanting justice for themselves. 

It’s rich how Oxfam, who have been embroiled in scandal after scandal relating to sex trafficking and the prostitution of minors, first in Haiti and now in the Congo to provide a training manual for their many volunteers and employees on how to essentially coerce women into not speaking out against the very organization that is responsible for the violence against them. 

It’s almost as if Oxfam doesn’t want the world to know what it’s really up to and it’s finding new ways to cover its tracks. Instead of addressing the storm of sexual violence, rape, and human trafficking that plagues the organization, its employees are being given a guide on how to effectively silence their victims. And they’re doing so through the rhetoric of social justice. 

It’s the logical conclusion to the social justice movement, and sociologist Alison Phipps, Professor of Gender Studies at Sussex University agrees. The leaked Oxfam training manual, which tells women not to report their rapes is, ironically enough, based upon the work of the self-proclaimed feminist. 

In a recently published book called Me Not You: The Trouble With Mainstream Feminism, Phipps claims that white women weaponize their identities as a “racial capitalist protection racket.”

If that sounds like a mouthful of word salad, allow me to dissect what she means.  

Using examples like the so-called “Central Park Karen” Amy Cooper, Phipps claims that Cooper weaponized her white womanhood to falsely accuse a black man of a crime in order to get him arrested. And certainly, some women have definitely done so -- Emmett Till’s accuser comes to mind. However, Phipps goes off the rails with her claim that “White women are deeply, and often deliberately, complicit with white supremacist violence, and our complicity usually takes the form of victimhood that appeals to the punitive power of the state.” 

“White women’s experiences of sexual violence enter a world in which ‘protecting white womanhood’ is really about protecting racial capitalism and white supremacy,” writes Phipps, essentially arguing that white women who report their rapes are complicit in white supremacy. 

In all these ways, sexual violence is a pivot for the intersecting systems of heteropatriarchy, racial capitalism, and colonialism. The acts and threats that keep us afraid, that make us docile subjects of capitalism, also drive us into the arms of the carceral-colonial state and enable many other kinds of violence in the service of capitalist accumulation. By pulling the levers of carceral systems, white feminism is a willing participant in this racial capitalist protection racket. 

To truly understand where Phipps is coming from, one must first understand Critical Race Theory, which views the world and its problems solely through the lens of racial oppression. Let me provide you with a few scenarios viewed through the lens of Critical Race Theory:

  1. When a white woman is raped by a white man, the rape is in and of itself a white supremacist act conducted by a white supremacist man who is asserting his white supremacy over another human being. 

  2. When a white woman reports her white rapist to the police, that too, is a white supremacist act because it reinforces the white supremacist carceral-colonial state that enables and requires such violence to exist as crimes. 

  3. When a white woman is raped by a non-white white man, that is an underprivileged minority asserting himself and voicing the rage built on hundreds of years of historical oppression.  

  4. When a white woman reports her non-white rapist to the police, that is a white supremacist act that reinforces the incarceration of disproportionately affected minorities under a white supremacist system. 

And this reasoning is precisely what Oxfam is using to train its employees. Any support of the so-called “carceral-colonialist” system i.e. criminal justice system that exists in every civilized society, including those that most people in the West would not even be considered to be “civilized” at all, is considered an act of white supremacy. 

Indeed, the year is 2021, and reporting your rapist to the police is considered an unpardonable act of white supremacy. With this logic in mind, the social justice movement has provided criminals with the justification to commit acts of violence -- as long as they direct it toward an expendable demographic.