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Socialist Community Accountability

The ghosts that tweet amongst you

For a start – I don’t want to talk about theorybros. I don’t want to talk about Novara. I don’t want to talk about twitter justice, or moral outrage, or Vampire Castle, or B10, or George Galloway or any of these actors and circumstances that are making up the current conversations going on about rape and community accountability in the British Left.
Continue reading “The ghosts that tweet amongst you”

Our first seminar back in the house

Approaching the first seminar in the house since we started the community accountability process around the disclosures of rape was a very frightening situation. The seminar’s team, which was formed months before, consisted of members of the team who were distanced to the process by either having a very intensive summer or coming for the first time – or after a long time – back to the house. Half of the people didn’t attend the Team Seminar where the Confi Team disclosed what had happened to us.
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Naming rapists is speaking truth to power

We want to believe rape is a social catastrophe – like the falling Tower of Babel – something so monumental and culturally altering that it is not something that could just pass us by. It is this that shapes many of our reactions towards rape as an act, as a violation and as a crime. It is this that brings about the shock and concern that greets the very radical act of naming our rapists. But if you want to know the really shocking truth, it’s that rape is mundane. Heartbreaking, demeaning, destructive and life changing – but none the less; ordinary, routine and everyday.
Continue reading “Naming rapists is speaking truth to power”

The stages of disclosure

Central to community accountability is the idea not only that a community comes together in practically dealing with rape and sexualized violence, but also that as a result of these realities not being hidden, that a community can also share the emotional labour connected with dealing with disclosures about such acts.

Due to the nature of how disclosures are made, and the sensitivity involved in this (especially in the early stages of a process), it is very likely that different groups of people will receive the information at different times.

Continue reading “The stages of disclosure”

The Woodcraft Folk’s issues with accountability, or, the most terrifying thing I’ve ever written

By Alice Griggs

Since I was seven years old, Woodcraft has been an integral part of my life, to the extent I have the motto inscribed on my forearm very, very permanently. However, since I was sixteen, since I was raped, by a now ex-member Lucas Baumard, at a District Fellow event (the semi-autonomous 16-21 age group), I have felt myself questioning my adoration for WCF. Now, four years later, another rapist has been uncovered within our community. Kirst, a well known and respected leader of the movement, has raped at least two people. This may not have happened within a strictly WCF context but it was related to the Kurt Lowenstein House in Berlin, and an event we attend with sibling organisations, so we are undeniably involved.

Continue reading “The Woodcraft Folk’s issues with accountability, or, the most terrifying thing I’ve ever written”

Q&A: How can you stop yourself being complicit with a rapist

Since we have discussed the disclosures with members of our community, one of the most frequent questions that has been asked is, “How do I stop myself from being complicit with this, or with other rapes and sexual assaults?”

Living in the society that we do, we don’t have many examples of how is best to act when faced with rape and sexual assault in our communities, especially when the perpetrator is someone we many have been close to. The following is in no way a comprehensive list but provides some starting points when thinking about being aligned with and supportive of survivors.

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“Rumours and gossip” – why calling these disclosures “allegations” is complicity with rapists everywhere

As a community, we are trying to make a collective effort to address the harm caused by Kirst – focussing not on handing out “justice” or punishment, but on keeping people safe, and challenging the underlying social patterns and power structures that continue to support, enable and minimise abusive behaviour.

Safety means so much more than dealing with the perpetrators of sexual violence. Rape culture and patriarchy infiltrate all of our lives. We cannot say that the process we are undertaking is perfect – we are unable to genuinely ensure that Kirst complies with the demands we are making of them; the process is emotionally exhausting, time consuming and risks burnout; and there’s a strong chance of losing members of the community along the way. But one of the biggest challenges we face is those appealing towards and attempting to enforce a juridical model.
Continue reading ““Rumours and gossip” – why calling these disclosures “allegations” is complicity with rapists everywhere”

How we started on our journey

We have a rapist in our community. We are a geographically dispersed, international, socialist youth group made up of 1000s of people from across the world. We work out of a seminar house in Berlin, running at least 3 seminars a year. Some people come to every seminar, every year – others attend specific ones yearly, and some still may have only visited the house once, but feel very much connected to it and its community. Continue reading “How we started on our journey”

Your silence will not protect you – anonymity and sexual assault

“[Voice is] having the ability, the means, and the right to express oneself, one’s mind, and one’s will. If an individual does not have these abilities, means, or rights, he or she is silent” – Shulamit Reinharz

By our political standards, the two people who have disclosed their experiences of rape and sexual assault have an ultimate right to anonymity. Yet it is because of how society reacts and deals with victims of rape that survivors need this. Continue reading “Your silence will not protect you – anonymity and sexual assault”

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