Part III of “Complaint!” by Sara Ahmed is called “If these doors could talk?”

During the two chapters contained in this part, various testimonies are told in which doors have represented a role amid sexual harassment and assault situations, encounters of oppression and misuse of power in different institutions, mostly against women.

In some examples, the infrastructure of the places where such violence occurred was justified as allowing the abuse to take place or even used as a weapon against the victim. For example: if the space between the oppressor and the abuser was too narrow, then the victim won’t come out of the room easily.

My concern was, how in many situations the behaviour of someone is justified by the scenario in which the scene occurred, if there were witnesses or not, if their reputation doesn’t match with the acts, among many other things. I also related this questions with the name of Part III of the book: What if all of those doors of the rooms in which once many misconducts and violations have occurred could talk? What would they say? Who would they put into the spotlight? What would change in the institution?

But what if the door and its big role had a shift? What if all of these doors were made of glass? And everyone around could have seen through. Would the oppressor acted the same way? Which would have been the outcomes of the different violences? Also, would anyone dare to force a violent act against the door knowing how fragile it is?

This also leaves me a question on if these barriers were more transparent and the physical infrastructures of institutions were reformed, then would people act completely different? Their actions would be justified if there were witnesses or not. But most importantly, injustices will be visible for everyone.

And at some point it seems to be what most matters when doing a complaint… if you don’t show enough proof, if there is not any witness, if there is no footage to support your complaint then it is not viable.

I made a poster to support the big question Part III of the book left in my head.

Image 1. Poster, “IF THESE DOORS COULD TALK? WERE MADE OF GLASS?”, Weimar, 2021, Parra.

By gabriela parra

21. bauhaus universität weimar

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