**** [les 4 étoiles sont faits par un modérateur, nous avons décidé d’enlever les références personnelles]
For me, an Autonomous Center is an open, self-governed, anti-authoritarian, secure space for people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, or whatever else to come together, create projects together and make it a safe places away from the cruel and capitalistic world.
The so called Autonomous Center in Rollegem (I will from now on refer to it as „the house“ as I dont want to call it AC) is the farthest thing from that and I feel obliged to tell about it.
I am not from Belgium, but I lived in this place for about 4 months in 2012 and it was the most horrible time of my life.
They call themselves squatters, but the house actually belongs to the father of one of the guys (I will refer to this guy as ***). In the beginning they all lived there for free but when *** left for a travel his friends suddently had to pay rent to his dad. It would have been possible to talk with his father and avoid the rent, but no attempts had been taken.
Since he returned from his travel his friends still have to pay rent. Again he didnt try to stop the rent.
They call themselves autonomous, but actually no one is allowed to decide anything but ***. If you change anything to make the place nicer he will yell at you and rip it down.
They call themselfes Anarchists, but decisions are not made together, no discussions, no consens, no meetings. It was ***’s way or no way.
They call themselves ecological, but the garden was a mud hole, where all the time people slipped walking up to the house and hurt themselfs. To avoid further injuries I put alot of work into the garden, making a path out of stones I collected in the fields, sewed gras next to it and made a little vegetable bed.
His reaction: he yelled three days and threatened to destroy it all. In the end he didnt but he showed no respect to the little plants. While a few meters away he made his own vegetable bed and became furious if anyone touched it.
The sentence I heard most was „Don’t do that, *** wont like it.“
They call themselve left, but they where all open about their anti-gay opinions (which in respect to my beloved gay friends i will not quote here) and their disrespect against women was also more than obvious. Degrading comments about your girlfriend as soon as she left the house was an every day joke.
Over all, there was alot of yelling at each other, people that disagreed with *** got yelled at and insulted, called „stupid retards that should go kill themselves“ and thrown out of the house.
I got to live in the house because of my then-boyfriend ****.
He always talked about Buddism and RiotGrrrl-Bands but sarcastically was a very violent person, who repeatedly beat me up when I didn’t do what he wanted.
I was not allowed to talk to any of the other guys while he was not there because he was so heavily jealous. Whenever I wanted to break up with him he beat me through the living room, took my stuff away, threatened to thrown me out without my phone or money, while locking me into the house. When I tried to run away once he followed me to the train station and pulled me out of the train and threatened to kill himself, me, my parents and all my friends if I left him. He broke my glasses so I wouldnt find my way to the train.
He repeatedly jelled at me, pushed me, and used physical and mental force and manipulation to make me stay with him against my will.
When I finally found the strengh to get away from him, he continued to harras me and my friends via internet for 3 months.
I dont know this for sure, but I just cannot believe that no one in the house noticed how horrible the situation was for me. Still, no one said anything and it was clear to me that they either didnt care or where on his side.
I admit that I was a bit naive at the time and I just didnt expect anything like this when I first got there. For a long time I blamed myself for letting myself get into this and not beeing able to leave sooner.
But now I can finally say: NO! This was NOT my fault!
I am not responible for the behaviour of others and I cannot accept a place like that and a person like that to continue doing political work, calling themselves something they are not and maybe risking some other women to get into the same situation like me.
So please! Keep your eyes and ears open about the „AC“ Den Ezelhoek. Tell others to watch out.
Don’t let anyone destroy our safe places in this fucked up world.
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