Clemence Dujardin (right) at an Occupy Justice action
A leading Occupy Justice activist has stepped away from the pressure group, with her husband, activist-blogger Manuel Delia, warning that she had grown sick of constantly facing vicious abuse.
Clemence Dujardin was a key member of Occupy Justice since its inception in the wake of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, but announced her resignation in a brief Facebook post last night.
“Please note that as of today, for personal reasons I am stepping away from Occupy Justice. I am sure that the girls will keep fighting with their incredible spirit . Keep strong ladies .. there are still many battles that need to be fought.”
In a blogpost this morning, her husband Manuel Delia expanded on the reasons behind her resignation.
“My wife, Clemence, who was there since the very first day, told her friends and me that she also has had enough,” Delia wrote. “Her job supports our family since I have stopped working to do this. For as long as she was giving time and effort to the cause, she was happy to do so. But now she has been singled out and the matter has been personalised. She made the front page of Il-Mument yesterday in a story that accuses her and her friends of fraud and exploitation of gullible donors.”
The PN paper yesterday published a front-page story alleging that the NGO Commissioner is investigating Occupy Justice because it is collecting donations despite not being a registered NGO. It came a week after Il-Mument published a story alleging that some Occupy Justice activists have come out in favour of abortion.
Delia warned his wife has faced particularly vitriolic abuse on Facebook, with people “enthusiastically speaking about her promiscuity”.
“One went as far yesterday as saying I wrote about the migrants at sea because she wanted to sleep with them,” he wrote. “As we do that we contend with onslaughts of abuse in our electronic mailboxes and we can’t go to a restaurant without being looked at like child rapists. All the while she is risking her job and our only income.”
“They tell you it’s a taste of your own medicine. Labour had actually drawn up an arms length website with that name designed to burn Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life before other, more definitive methods were found.”
Blogger-activist Manuel Delia
“Trolls are out there in droves telling Occupy Justice people they must now “resign because of the allegations”.”
“Resign from what? They have no position, draw no compensation, seek no election and pursue no ambition they can resign from. Resignation is not what these people want to secure. They want to secure silence so they can have the world for themselves to bustle in and profit from.”
“They have won my wife’s silence. She never promised to give up her life and her children for this. She never promised it to the many who supported her cause and the cause of her friends while they went on with their lives and took no risks.”
“The risk has become unreasonable and the consequences disproportionate. Because whatever the PN might believe, these activists are not a political party. They are not professional politicians. They are not campaigning for elected office which some might see as some form of reward for all the shit you’re made to eat.”
“They call the leaders of Occupy Justice “desperate housewives” because of course “women” and “housewives” are the same thing in these people’s minds. They are desperate because they spoke up, because they gave up their time for the public good.”
“But sometimes they ask themselves if they’re desperate enough to be beaten in the street, to be losing their job, to be called whores on public platforms like Facebook by people they do not know, to have their names and their reputations plastered on political newspapers, to face down accusations of fraud when they denied their children a holiday to spend the money and the time on a public cause.”
“Sometimes their answer is the same as the answer so many people give as they egg you on to protest and march but tell you they don’t want their face to be seen because they’re not ready to give up anything for the cause they say they believe it. Sometimes their answer is no. My wife said no yesterday.”