In March this year, I was approached as a prominent member of the University of Auckland’s Campus Feminist Collective. Some young girls had concerns about one Omar Hamed, a member of the (unaffiliated) Socialist Aotearoa university club. He had a pretty nasty reputation, having been run out of Wellington for very inappropriate behavior to young, drunk girls; in particular: ‘he has consistently behaved towards women in a misogynistic, disrespectful and sexually predatory way. Comrades from across the left have brought up problems with his behaviour and he has consistently failed to understand the importance of meaningful consent in sexual relationships.’
Now to me, this is a VERY serious issue that needs addressing immediately. I then found out that the girls who had come to me, had only done so because Joe Carolan of UNITE and the president of SA had both been told of these concerns, and not only dismissed them, but allowed Omar to dictate the meeting where they were to be addressed. They had no other options left. So I and several other members of the CFC decided to address the issue directly. On the 14th of April we as a collective, went to a SA forum on Bahrain, in the AUSA’s Clubspace. We walked in as a group, with myself at the head. I was holding a bunch of flyers on consent. Our intention was to talk to the SA as a group after the forum. This is not what happened.
Omar went off*. He stood over me, screamed and assaulted me. It was horrible, and not only did no one from SA do nothing, some members *** openly laughed. After this, when he calmed down enough to allow us to speak our concerns, we attempted to do so. I would say calm was not the right world. ** He claimed that it was conspiracy against him, amongst other things. After the meeting, Joe Carolan gave me his card, and told me to email him the next day, which I did. Still waiting for that reply, Joe.
This is a copy of the complaint I sent to AUSA, (the president and GM, Tom O’Connor.):I would like to make a complaint against Omar Hamed. On Thursday the 14th of April, a forum was held in Clubspace. I was invited by a female member of Socialist Aotearoa, along with a number of other women, to attend the forum and talk to Omar about his questionable behaviour with women after the speakers had finished. I walked in first, followed by the other women who all sat down silently. I walked to the front to put a stack of educational materials on consent on the table, also silently. Omar’s reaction was totally disproportionate to what anyone had done (I reiterate: walked in, sat down, put some paper on a table). He stood up as soon as he saw us, and began yelling that we needed to leave. He singled me out, stood very close and loomed over me, yelling in my face. He grabbed the paper I was holding and tried to yank it away from me violently, continuing to yell and yank even after I refused to let go. I felt incredibly intimidated at the time and have spent the days since then off-balance and upset.
After months of pestering Joe and Tom, getting the WRO to pester them, I finally got a email about a month ago, saying (essentially) they couldn’t do shit and to go to the police. To say I am unimpressed with AUSA is one of the big understatements of the year. But this post isn’t about them. This is about the recent protests at the Uni, and Omars prominent role in them. Admittedly the posters set the whole movement off to a bad start (putting males in dresses to belittle them is fucking stupid), but the real issue is the support Omar continues to get from the AUSA and university in general. People need to know what he is, how he behaves, and to understand that these current protests are just a giant ego fest for him. The ‘we are the University collective’ has alienated a huge number of supporters by letting Omar take such a huge role. Women are automatically threatened by this, and he diminishes support for the real issues.
I’m tired. I’m sick of this. I am sorry I had to write this, that it came to this point. But here we are. I welcome feedback, and am happy to post more if people request clarification on any points. For now, many kisses. I’m going to try and relax (HA!).
Edit: As someone who has mental health issues, I am aware of issues with the language I have used in this post. I also know I am very upset and so used emotive language. I use the terms ‘nuts’ and ‘insane’ to mean behavior I think is highly inappropriate and irrational. People who know me know how I speak, and I wrote as if I was speaking to friends. I am sorry for forgetting where I was. I have removed the language in question.
* originally said Omar went ‘nuts’. By which I meant that he acted disproportionately to the situation.
** Originally said ‘ I genuinely think Omar is insane.’. To be honest, I do think he shows signs of being a psychopath. But that is my own opinion, and I understand I am unqualified to say this.
*** Name removed at the request of someone who has better opinion of the person mentioned than I do. I am placing my trust in their belief in said person. I hope they don’t get let down.