But, this post isn't at all about what's happened to me. I'm a male in this patriarchal society, a very confident and determined male (read that patriarchal privilege). So, nothing I've experienced here will sustain any long term impact on me. What I'm actually shocked and amazed at is how easy it is for male dominance; physical and mental, to exist and consequently, how widespread it is, especially within these so-called movements for social change and revolution. What I'm talking about is the very social fabric that permits, supports, and enables this abuse. For example, in each of the 16 instances I'm discussing, the abused women are faced with financial (and probably emotional) struggles from the trauma they experience. As a result, in none of these instances where relationships are involved (some of the situations, the males are just predators on any woman they meet in the organization(s), did the woman end up leaving the man. This phenomenon creates an awkward scenario where it can feel almost as if the survivor is moving as if nothing wrong had previously happened. I know this is not true, I'm just speaking directly to the strange feelings and conditions you can expect to encounter when you actually confront bad behavior. Actually, I even recall in practically every occasion, with most of the people involved, those who initially called me to inform me of these incidents, the very same people who were there to debrief the incidents (repeatedly) after they happened, these same folks who during those debriefs expressed over and over how overwhelmed they were by the occurrence, soon afterward, seemed to restablish what appeared to be very similar, if not the same, levels of relationship that they maintained with the accused before the incident. At least that's what it looks and feels like.
Since we are revolutionaries and therefore we would never involve imperialist, racist, police in our community concerns (all of our work is focused on building community among community, not including the enemies of community), they are not called out. So, with the people surrounding the accused and the survivor seeming as if all is forgiven (and forgotten) the accused has all of the environmental ingredients to craft out a revised version of what happened and completely and unquestionably deny committing any form of abuse whatsoever.
I want to make it clear that I'm not saying the survivor or the people around her are creating this environment of "moving forward" on purpose. I don't believe that to be the case. As it relates to the survivor, I believe no one can judge that woman's decisions. I may not understand them, but I don't judge them. I only offer whatever support that I can. As for the other surrounding people, I believe their responses are shaped by the fact that despite how much many of us try to front as if we have training and experience dealing with these issues, the reality is most people don't have a clue what to do on any type of sustained basis. And even if they do know, there are painfully few healthy resources for survivors and this is a real problem that we must find a way to address. So, the intent here isn't to chastise anyone, but it is important to point out how the way in which things land, whatever the reason, ultimately ends up serving as an open invitation for bad behavior from men to continue.
All of this is important because I'm here to tell you that an abuser is in your neighborhood. He's in your organization. He's talking about the need to eradicate patriarchy all the time and so is everyone else, but when he acts out and the time comes to confront him on his behavior, he may acknowledge everything initially, but as the dust settles, his story will change. He won't humble himself. He won't address it. He probably won't do anything that can be mistaken for sustained work to heal himself and neither will any of the people who call you to come and address the issue. None of this will happen. It's clear that very few people are willing to put themselves e.g. their bodies, on the line when it counts. It's not a problem that will impact what we do though. You see, I can tell you that I have this issue where I have a very difficult time sleeping at night if I believe I have done anything to compromise my mission to the ancestors. This feeling so torments me that I decided a long time ago that I'd rather face down any human and stand on principle than have to face my ancestors if I don't. You can laugh if you want, but my track record clearly illustrates what I'm saying is true. I have put my body on the line. Repeatedly. I've gotten pretty good at living with being physically and mentally uncomfortable and although I'm far from perfect, I do try to hold myself to a high standard of conduct. As a result, you better believe I'm going to hold you to the same, whether you like it not.
So, excuse me if I'm not impressed by anyone waxing on patriarchal theory. That goes for whether you are a man or woman. When you are ready to talk about how we will respond - as community - to these incidents when they occur, and what role you will play, then come and get me. If you are truly serious, then make it fast because we literally just got another call about another local incident. We will respond because that's who we are. That's what we do. And, because we know talk won't get us liberation. Only blood, sweat, and sacrifice. We will respond. We will probably make mistakes in responding. As a result, our mistakes will end up receiving as much attention, if not more, than the patriarchal abuse that generated the issue. Regardless, that won't stop us from engaging, no matter what anyone says, because we know that the more we engage, the better we will get. The better we get, the more we can create a healthier atmosphere and cultural environment where abuse of any kind against women, LGBTQ members of the community, etc., is no longer tolerated. We don't need your approval. That's more than enough to help me sleep at night.