How We Have Fulfilled Requests, Part 9 of 10

A Table of Contents for all posts by Charlie’s pod, including the dates each article was published and a brief description of the contents of each post, can be found here

This post (9 of 10) is a portion of our larger report on “How We Have Fulfilled Requests of People Who Have Reported Harm.” Follow this link for an introduction to our terminology, how we facilitated and organized requests, and for a table of contents for each request.

Accountability Request 9:

Monetary reparations for Harmed Individuals.

Requests for monetary reparations, such as reimbursements for expenses related to harm Charlie caused and restitution for potential lost income, have been presented to and considered by Charlie on a case-by-case basis. Primarily Bee and Rachel directly collaborated with Respondents about their needs and asks. No one was required to communicate directly with Charlie, or create an ask for reparations on their own. The team as a whole gave support for creatively thinking through these asks and ways to fulfill them, as well as challenging Charlie around stuck points or defensiveness.

Some requests were specifically made for the reimbursement of Charlie’s coaching session fees. Another request was for Charlie to cover living expenses and restitution for long-term damages. And still others were to cover personal therapy sessions and to recoup the cost of business expenses.

Though each request for monetary reparations was carefully presented by the narrative collection team, Charlie didn’t fulfill every request, nor did he fulfill them exactly as requested. In many instances, Charlie expressed immediate willingness to fulfill the request as asked. Other instances involved longer discussions, with the narrative collection team encouraging Charlie to investigate any places of defensiveness or his resistance to accepting responsibility. While we intentionally avoided taking on the roles of negotiators, we did work hard to advocate for the underlying needs and interests of our Respondents.

From our perspective, Charlie based his final decisions on monetary requests on a number of factors:

  • His understanding of his harmful impact on the individual, their health, and their livelihood.
  • His understanding of the scope of his impact and what parts of a request fell within or exceeded his scope of responsibility.
  • His own financial resources and limitations (e.g. an initial request was equal to four or five times Charlie’s annual income and would have been impossible to provide).
  • The particular nature and power dynamics of his current or past relationship with the person making the request.
  • Logistical or time limitations (e.g. he was asked by a Respondent to provide funding to create elaborate community infrastructure, which would have involved a long-term financial commitment).
  • A reluctance to put a specific dollar value on harm, mimicking the punitive practices of the justice system (where receiving meaningful resolutions is rarely possible for individuals without access to wealth and privilege).

In instances where Charlie was not willing to pay what was asked, the narrative collection team, in consultation with the Respondent(s), advocated for other amounts or for alternative forms of reparations. For instance, one Respondent requested a sum of money equal to more than half of Charlie’s annual adjusted gross income. Charlie was unwilling to agree to this but, instead, chose to offer enough restitution for the Respondent to cover six months of weekly therapy sessions. The amount offered was based on information given to the pod by the Respondent, as well as our own research into how many therapy sessions, on average, it takes to facilitate recovery from an incident of harm similar to what happened between Charlie and the Respondent. Though the funds were given with the intention of supporting therapy, there were no stipulations placed on how the money could be used. This instance of harm also occurred in a professional space and had professional repercussions for the Respondent, so the narrative collection team spent time with the Respondent, discussing career-related concerns. Based on these discussions, the team researched and offered relevant resources and provided external career coaching options.

Finally, one Respondent who engaged extensively with our process also received compensation from the pod for their labor in doing research and educating us on issues beyond the scope of simply reporting the harms they experienced and/or observed. This wasn’t part of a request, but it was given out of a commitment to the practice of “tipping out” community members who spend time contributing to our personal learning. The pod has also provided mutual aid support in the form of collected funds and community resources for Respondents who were in crisis.

Follow this link to go to the Request 10: To put survivors in contact with one another.

Follow this link for an introduction to our reporting on requests and a table of contents for each request.