TW: sexual violence/abuse/r*pe mention
After recent (and less recent) events we feel the responsibility to back up stories and show support as a collective to the people who endured Kwinten Keesmaat’s violence and abuse. We are people who in the past were in the collective with him. We know who and, how he can be. Therefore we deem it extra important to take a firm stand with survivors of abuse and violence, and back up their stories.
Please read on.
From what we know of is that people that know the supporters of the survivors have contacted the venue that hosts his workspace. They informed them about his violent acts and therefore initiated dialogue through email, which grants the possibility of an answer. Unfortunately Maakhaven did not respond to this email, although we do not know if it was not discussed within the space. As we saw it online, after a month of not replying, it was decided to spread the information in the email again, but this time through a more public medium: Instagram.
The way Maakhaven reacted to this denouncement of his actions was very disappointing. They proclaimed their annoyance about the fact someone outed one of their tenants and proceeded to complain about there not being a possibility of dialogue when it is them who did not reply to the first initiated contact.
They should have taken a more proactive stance and take the accusations more seriously, no matter who made them. And not make actions depend on the ones who came out.
As in this situation, until now to us, Kwinten Keesmaat keeps trying to leave his past in the past. He victimizes himself and chooses not to address the harm in an appropriate manner. And also, our experience is that silence has only protected Kwinten and enabled him to continue causing harm.
We as the bookshop Opstand have worked closely with Kwinten Keesmaat before (he was once part of the collective) and have witnessed the process of the accusations against him and his reaction to it. We would be more than willing to sit with people from Maakhaven and share our experiences and therefore contacted them.
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