Collusion and Complicity Questions
Given how relational this process is, we aren’t able to share every single question & process we’ve engaged in, but we want to share some easily digestible and reproducible parts of our work both for transparency as well as so people can draw inspiration from them in their own processes/reflections of accountability.
The following are some Charlie- & team-generated questions for tracking collusion and harm. Wherever possible, screenshots and emails have been included. The processing of the questions has taken the form of a “potential complicity” spreadsheet, additional documents, and discussions sessions between Charlie and various pod-members.
The spreadsheet was formally created September 2019 and has been in progress since, with links to new documents or source material as needed. For example, based on some of the small-group discussions, Charlie went through the Potential Complicity sheet (including the screen shots he dug out and linked to in the sheet) and looked at the actions and messages that he tracked, using the lens of “many of the ways in which some people spoke with me or acted themselves were enabling me to continue in my harmful and abusive patterns, even if they did not directly participate in them or support me in doing them.”
As of August 2020, these are documents that are still live and being updated. For more information about next steps with these documents, refer to the August 2020 Medium Update.
The following questions are organized on a tabbed spreadsheet, with individual sheets for People Charlie Spoke With, Organizations, and People Charlie Emailed. Below are the specifics (slightly edited for privacy).
People Charlie Spoke [in Real Time] With
- When you spoke
- Folks who propped you up/helped you stay stuck
- Genesis of interaction: how did it start, what was happening around that time of the contact for you?
- What was your emotional response/aftermath after the contact?
- As far as you know, were they in touch with your ex about this?
- Did they express concern and/or empathy for your ex, you, both, neither? How did they do so?
- What were the modes of communication with this person?
- What was the result or impact of that conversation?
- Were there ways in which it perpetuated harm?
- Were there ways in which it enabled your harm?
- What was the impact of this conversation on this person?
- Are there potential challenges or barriers to talking with this person?
People Charlie Messaged/Emailed
This is organized further by specific communication/reasons for reaching out (e.g. generic outreach, draft of documents Charlie made public later regarding the situations with his ex, notice of “you may hear things about me coming up,” and so forth).
Questions were same as above, but with the following additions:
- Did they reply to the email/communication?
- Did you speak in person or on the phone?
Same as above, but with sections for organizations Charlie reached out to and/or were involved in some way (by people reaching out to them about Charlie’s harm, by making comments about the situation, etc.), venues that hosted him after his harms went public, and “other.”
For the document where Charlie dug further into these themes after various meetings with pod-members, some questions that arose and were answered are as follows:
- In more detail, how did these people enable you? What did people do that was unhelpful? How did their actions enable continued harm and/or stuckness?
- What knowledge, ideas, and/or assumptions do you have about their motivations for acting in these ways?
- What patterns that we’ve been discussing with you came up in these interactions?
- How could they have done things differently to reduce harm to your ex/the community while still being supportive of your humanity? If they had done that, do you feel it would have changed your perspective at the time?
- What do you do and how do you stay non-abusive when people DO want to disconnect from you due to your actions or their perceptions of your actions?
- How much of it was you looking for someone to give you containment when you didn’t know how to ask for it and they didn’t know how to see/give it?