Narrative Collection — Summary of Harms
Drafted July 2019 — Revised June 2021
Table of Contents
~ Our Narrative Collection Process
~ Themes of Harm
~ Requests for Reparations
This report summarizes the narratives of harm the story collection team (Rachel and Bee) have received since first launching Charlie’s public accountability process. With this summary, primarily written by Bee and Rachel with input from the rest of the pod and primary consultant, we seek to share publicly the themes of harm and specific accountability requests that have guided the pod’s work.
While an initial draft of this document has been used internally to steer Charlie’s accountability process since July 2019, we have always intended to share this report via Medium. We will provide updates as this process changes and evolves. We have treated this Summary of Harms as a living document and will continue to as long as this process is active.
We hope doing so will bring greater transparency to this process, and offer concrete examples of the harmful patterns and behaviors Charlie engaged in so that his communities can be better equipped to identify and address them if they occur again. Publishing this document and the disclosure of its contents, therefore, is also part of the pod’s accountability to community safety and the reduction of future harm.
By reading further, there are some risks that you should be aware of. We have done our best to provide additional context, content warnings where needed, and to be as clear as the confidentiality agreements in place allow. Although there is no personally identifying information, and we either have explicit permission to share or have incorporated things that have been publicly posted elsewhere, you may find some of the content to be sensitive. There is the risk that some things disclosed here may cause emotional discomfort or may be distressing to you as you think about your experiences.
If you would like to reach out to pod members to ask specific questions, or for any other reason, you may email us confidentially at email@example.com. Only pod members — not Charlie, and not the pod consultants — have access to this email account. Emails sent to this address will not be shared with Charlie or anyone outside of the pod without the sender’s express, affirmative, and informed consent.
Before we continue, we wish to offer sincere gratitude to the individuals who entrusted us with their experiences and accountability requests. We know first-hand how challenging and frightening it can be to disclose experiences of harm, especially with people you may not know. Those who have come forward to contribute to this process — by submitting narratives through our online form, offering public statements, or sharing informal reports — made a decision to demand better for themselves and for their communities. In a world that so often silences and punishes those who seek accountability from people with power, privilege, and influence, such a decision takes courage. Throughout this process, we have strived to honor that courage and live up to our Respondents’ trust. And we hope this report will serve as a testament to their efforts to create a better and more just world.
Scope, Time Span, and Definitions
The themes and instances of harm and requests detailed in this document come from:
- Reports submitted directly to our narrative collection process
- Experiences shared informally with the pod and consultants from 2018 to June 2021
- Harms publicly disclosed via social media posts from 2014 to June 2021
In all of these cases, we have worked to clarify each individual’s confidentiality requests and respect their preferences. This has involved empowering individuals to decide when to disclose information and how much detail will be disclosed in public reports and communicated to the pod, consultants, and/or Charlie. Confidentiality agreements have been a guiding factor in acting on clear and specific requests for accountability as well.
What can feel safe for individuals can change over time; requests can evolve. Treating this summary as a living document is one of the ways we empowered and made space for those evolving requests. This is one of the many reasons why it took time to outwardly disclose to the community about reported harms. The public release of this document was a collaborative effort done with care and thought.
Within this document, we will use the following terms to specify certain groups of Harmed Individuals. These terms represent real people. As such, we will be using the following as proper nouns when referring to people throughout this document.
- Respondents will refer to individuals who submitted experiences of harm to our formal story collection process.
- Contributors are all individuals we are aware of who have named Charlie’s harmful behaviors, either formally or informally.
- Harmed Individuals is our effort to acknowledge that there may be people who have been negatively impacted or experienced harm and not spoken out. In this work, we have also kept those folks in mind.
We intentionally set no limits on what types of experiences of harm could be submitted, nor did we specify a period of time in Charlie’s life. This was intentional with the purpose of helping us build a well-rounded understanding of Charlie’s patterns and their impacts. The narratives we’ve received to date span a period of time from 2015 to 2020.
Statistics and Demographics
You may wonder why we didn’t include standard demographics, number of people harmed, or percentages in this report. There are several reasons, but the most important is in service to the Respondents.
We want to protect the identities, experiences, and privacy of those who reported.
Another reason for not including demographics is a philosophical one. We have and continue to treat each experience of harm with the utmost importance, regardless of the number of reports or how “minor” the harm may be perceived by others. This is an intentional act to weaken the tendency in the world to make comparisons and rank severity of harm as an excuse to victim-blame and do nothing.
These reports were made by humans who each have their own way of interacting with and navigating the world and each have their unique history of trauma. Therefore, what may seem minor to one person, could be life altering for another. We honor the individuals and this complex aspect of accountability work.
A contributing factor to our decision is that we and some of our Respondents saw how other public accountability processes have reported demographics using percentages, numbers, and other metrics. That type of reporting felt like it opened up space to minimize the harm that was experienced, and criticize the Respondents.
Additionally, we received the following requests and statements with the following themes:
- Do not reveal any information about me
- I don’t want to be treated like a number
- I’m not just a percentage
- I am not a science experiment
Our decision to not use demographics, numbers, or percentages in this report is an effort to honor requests and statements made by Respondents, and in support of our personal philosophies.
Please note: Some Contributors to this process have asked us not to share any themes, details or requests from their narratives at this time. While their narratives and requests have been kept in confidence, their contributions have certainly shaped our accountability efforts. This summary only reflects the information we have been given consent to offer publicly.
Our Narrative Collection Process
Many steps went into our story collection process and the creation of this document. We felt it would provide helpful context to include some of those behind-the-scenes details here.
- Creation of the Form.
First, in consultation with the pod and our primary consultant, the story collection team (Rachel and Bee) worked to create a form that allowed for the anonymous submission of experiences of harms and requests for accountability from individuals willing to contribute to Charlie’s accountability process.
Note: Before we even created this form, we had some preliminary narratives, comments, and information that had already been shared with our primary consultant and some members of the pod. There was also a preemptive set of steps and focus areas for this work, including but not limited to A) helping Charlie understand the harms he caused to / around his past partner and figure out tangible ways to make amends as well as B) focusing his personal therapeutic, trauma work on grounding and self-regulation to improve how he showed up for this work.
2. Public invitation.
Next, we partnered the launch of our official story collection process with the public announcement of Charlie’s accountability process, encouraging the public to submit narratives of harm and/or accountability requests to us. The story collection form was created using Google Survey and the open reporting period, launched on June 16th, 2019 and closed August 16th, 2019. The purpose, confidentiality policy, and next steps in the process were outlined in the survey. We were also thoughtful and strategic as a team about how and where to conduct outreach, so that people and communities Charlie had interacted with would have access to this.
3. Connecting with Harmed Individuals.
Next, the story collection team reached out to individuals who submitted narratives to answer questions, clarify confidentiality considerations, discuss accountability requests, offer additional support and resources, further explain our role as stewards, and hold space for their experience if requested. Our primary consultant also shared, with people’s permission, informal yet often extensive accounts of harm and observations of harmful patterns from people in Charlie’s communities. Depending on requests for contact or lack thereof from the latter individuals, we stayed in touch and/or offered thanks and left it there.
4. Reviewing the Narratives.
The set of experiences shared with the story collection team were then reviewed, with attention to themes and Charlie’s patterns of harmful behavior.
5. Building our Accountability Roadmap.
Drawing from this review, we drafted a preliminary version of this document, outlining the themes and patterns identified. We then used this preliminary document as a roadmap for our pod’s focused accountability work with Charlie.
With a roadmap of harmful patterns, the pod and primary consultant created exercises, opportunities, and activities to bring awareness, learning, and integration to Charlie about the impact of the harm he caused and places he needed to change. This is in addition to / in concert with any specific requests for reparations or direct engagement with people he harmed. This part of the work, some of which had already begun prior, focused on:
- Reducing Charlie’s access to platforms and power
- Increasing Charlie’s understanding of and willingness to account for his harms as well as why he perpetuated harm
- Combating white-male fragility and shifting narratives of Charlie’s own perceived powerlessness or trauma excusing away his actions
- Building Charlie’s resilience, especially to prepare him to be confronted with longer or more activating accounts of his harm
- Lowering Charlie’s defensiveness and controlling behaviors when he felt critiqued, ganged up on, or put on the spot; regardless of if he externally was or not
- Practicing non-abusive ways of interacting together
- Reaffirming a community-oriented understanding of anti-violence work that could acknowledge both personal responsibility and community responsibility
Examples of engagement include:
- Assigned readings followed by reflective journaling, feedback, and small group discussions
- “Inventory” and experiential exercises where Charlie had to consider his harms from others’ perspectives, read about harms similar to his own, create timelines of actions or lists of harms he needed to acknowledge even if people had not reported him for it, etc.
- Regular group meetings in various configurations
- Individual and group evaluation of his personal ethos and philosophies as well as professional protocols, with close reading of various organizations’ codes of ethics and discussions of how they did or didn’t relate to his own
- Support through somatic exercises
- Direct confrontation of Charlie’s evasions, misdirections, outright lying and misinformation, etc. in group calls
- Multiple circles for Charlie to confront his own harms toward the pod and primary consultant
- Assignments that Charlie dig through his own documents for critical information rather than leave it all up to others to name and describe his harm in detail
- Requests and exercises where Charlie explored — individually and then with members of this team — issues of collusion and organizational protection that benefited him
- Writing prompts to rewrite old materials and blog posts, evaluate his evolving understanding of what he had done wrong in certain texts or situations, point out his abusive patterns and deflections, practice apologizing in various ways, and more
- Creating internal documents that gave examples of Charlie’s destructive and/or abusive communication patterns and could later be shared more widely as a way to empower community-members to keep addressing this once the pod formally ended
- Specific challenges and boundaries around work and new opportunities, including putting an indefinite freeze on teaching, and more
7. Confronting Charlie with Harms.
The story collection team, with support from other pod members and our primary consultant, presented the preliminary version of this report to Charlie, directly addressing his harmful behaviors and presenting our Contributors’ specific accountability requests.
8. Follow-up with Harmed Individuals.
When appropriate and as requested, we provided our Respondents with updates regarding the fulfilment of or progress on their specific accountability requests.
9. Negotiating Requests.
At times, some of our Respondents’ requests and/or needs related to disclosure and confidentiality conflicted with other Respondents’ requests and/or needs. Handling conflicting priorities required nuanced coordination. This took care, time, and effort to navigate.
As the overall accountability process proceeded, this preliminary narrative summary served as a constant tool for reflection, keeping the pod’s work centered on the needs and requests of Harmed Individuals and the greater community.
11. Outward Reporting.
Finally, we created the document you’re reading now, which is a revision of our preliminary narrative summary. In this final version, we have updated the themes of harm with information from more recently received reports and we added this description of the document’s purpose, scope, and our process as an introduction.
A note from Rachel: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. This process has not been linear or as neat and tidy as presented in this numbered outline. There have been times when we have had to circle back, repeat steps, or start over completely. What feels safe changes over time and healing happens at a human pace. As individuals, we have also experienced harm during this process. The experiences we have held space for have, at times, been triggering and forced us to look at our own old, deep wounds as we have navigated this challenging work. Charlie has flared up with emotionally abusive patterns while we have continued to hold him accountable. Sometimes we have had to take breaks to heal, and assess; which allowed us to come back to this process with a new perspective.
Themes of Harm
Content Warning: While all identifying details have been omitted, the following section includes examples of inappropriate, manipulative, and abusive behaviors, as well as the use of the word rape.
In addition to the examples of “engagement,” found in the process section above, we will be reporting in the near future specific ways in which we have brought the following harms and their impact to Charlie’s awareness. We will also be reporting about how the pod has worked to honor the explicit and implied requests of Respondents, tangible ways in which Charlie has grown as well as places where there is still more work needed, and the safety measures he is putting in place for those who come in contact with him and the community at large. You can read about our plans for future posts in the closing section of this report.
The narratives and informal reports describe the following patterns and occurrences of harm related to Charlie’s behavior. It’s important to note that these harmful behaviors aren’t exclusively from the past. While we are limiting this report to only include the information we’ve received from our Contributors, the pod and our consultant have also noticed and named many of these patterns of behaviors during our ongoing work with Charlie.
~ All Respondents reported being at a disadvantage with professional power dynamics because of Charlie’s gender, reputation, status and influence within the field. We also acknowledge that this may be a factor for Harmed Individuals, too.
~ Contributors cited Charlie’s patterns of emotional manipulation and abuse in the form of:
- Repeatedly negating or attempting to negate implied and stated boundaries
- Dismissing requests for no contact
- Dismissing a request from a peer to refrain from flirting and hooking up with peers and students
- Being deceptive about what was asked for in calls for accountability
- Using his trauma as a way to excuse abusive behaviors
~ Patterns of gaslighting were cited, including:
- Denying the experience of others and attempting to replace it with his own
- Denying his actions repeatedly until there was indisputable evidence presented,
- Denying abusive patterns
- Trivializing the abuse he inflicted on partners, peers, and the community
- Blaming intimate partners, peers, community members for his abusive patterns
~ There were specific examples of emotional neglect:
- Shutting down communication
- Tuning out calls for accountability
- Actively working to turn others against his former partner
- Indifference towards peers, partners, and community members
- Disputing the feelings of peers, partners, and community members
~ Contributors named attempts to control and shape the narrative by:
- Using the influence of others, his status, and privilege
- Hiding, moving, and deleting digital communications
- Feigning helplessness when asked for records of communications
- Communicating with individuals through video or audio (on the phone and in person), stating that it would be harder to misinterpret each other that way, but resulting in having zero record of communication which he later used to control and gaslight the individuals’ accounts of their interactions
- Blending fabricated and factual details of events to mutual professional contacts of a former partner
~Charlie used (or suggested the use of) his positive relationships and experiences with coaching clients to support his positions and perspectives. He did this when responding to calls for accountability made in public statements by a former partner and others in the community.
~ Harmed Individuals experienced Charlie leveraging his own ambiguous professional boundaries around sexual connection with peers, workshop participants, and new professionals.
- Charlie used his sexual relationships with established colleagues and the prevalence of sexual relationships within the sex-positive field as a way to normalize his pattern of violating asserted boundaries
- Charlie flirted with and sought sexual connection with colleagues, workshop participants, and new professionals when the power dynamics in place complicated the assertion and/or clarity of their boundaries
- Words used to describe Charlie’s behavior during these interactions included: creepy, confusing, shady, slimy, gross, uncomfortable, inappropriate, and violating
~ Harmed Individuals felt unable to address concerning dynamics and nonconsensual flirting because they feared exclusion or retribution from the sex educator and therapist communities because of Charlie’s gender, reputation, status and influence within the field of sexuality.
~ Respondents both feared and experienced professional repercussions for addressing concerning dynamics and nonconsensual flirting. This included the loss of connections and blacklisting, for either reporting Charlie’s behavior or calling for personal and organizational accountability. The impact of these repercussions were described in the following ways:
- Loss of desire to participate in the community
- Feeling unsafe
- Uncertainty of who to trust
- Impediments to and loss of professional development and growth within the community
- Reduction of potential opportunities
- Tarnished reputations
~ Contributors reported a rippling effect of community trauma from Charlie’s abusive behavior, citing examples of:
- Censorship and silencing of critical voices calling for accountability
- Paranoia and anxiety within communities
- The loss of trust between other leaders, organizations and the community at large
- Fractured relationships; reactions of those involved put community members at odds
- Witnessing individuals, organizations, and events benefiting from Charlie’s social capital
- Charlie’s continued public appearances, writing, and promotions after being asked to take a step back
Note: It is complicated to provide more context about the following experience of harm while respecting the privacy and requests of the Respondent. The word rape was used by an individual to describe what they experienced with Charlie while working as a workshop demonstration model. This is a significant report, which we have taken seriously. Our role is to honor the experiences shared with us in the ways they are described. And we have done our best to hold this Respondent’s narrative, respect their confidentiality, communicate their requests and asks for monetary reparations, and offer as much support as possible within the scope and limitations of our roles and capacities.
We have confronted Charlie with the specific dynamics, harmful behaviors, and impacts brought to light by this particular narrative. While the Respondent initially shared that the interaction between them was outwardly consensual, there were a number of factors that complicated the experience. So, in an effort to examine and confront rape culture and to honor the evolution of the Respondent’s feelings about this situation, we have addressed with Charlie how the Respondent experienced the interaction as rape.
In addition to presenting Charlie with the Respondent’s asks, we have given Charlie readings from respected scholars about the widened social definition of rape. We also acknowledge that we are not currently qualified or able to explore every aspect of the deep personal work Charlie needs to do associated with this report, and have, therefore, referred Charlie to his licensed mental health therapist.
~ During a professional workshop on anal play, Charlie harmed a demonstration model by:
- Prioritizing his own wants and needs, seeking personal sexual connection with the Respondent before engaging in a professional workshop where power dynamics, the social setting, and the vulnerable nature of the demonstration complicated the confirmation of sexual engagement and clear boundaries
- Not paying attention to the emotional state of the individual and their capacity to engage in a sexual scenario
- Being negligent in understanding power differentials and how they are influenced by different social situations, specifically the presence of a sizable workshop audience
- Personally neglecting the needs of the Respondent after the demonstration
- Failing to ensure there was adequate outside support for the demo model before, during, and after the workshop
Note: If you are feeling activated or find this distressing as you think about your experiences, this is a gentle reminder to step away and take care of yourself. You are also welcome to reach out to the story collection team to ask specific questions or to share your own experience. Our confidential email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Only Rachel and Bee — not Charlie, and not the other pod members or consultants — have access to this email account. Emails sent to this address will not be shared with anyone else without the sender’s express, affirmative, and informed consent.
Requests for Reparations
Note: This is a living document and many of these requests have already been fulfilled, while some are not feasible, or in conflict with other requests. We will be making separate reports about what has been fulfilled, how, as well as the outcomes in future posts. When relevant, we will also include accountability requests made by the pod in support of our Contributors’ requests.
Requests for Reparations from Charlie
Specific requests for accountability were made through both our formal story collection process as well as informal reports (including correspondence with Pod members, our primary consultant, and public or community social media posts). The following is a summarized compilation of the asks we have received from Contributors to date.
Reparations and accountability requests have been made for Charlie to:
~ Engage with the ethics committees of professional organizations he is/was affiliated with for accountability for harms caused
~ Refrain from one-on-one coaching without a supervisor
~ Publicly name his supervisor
~ Create a publicly accessible platform for the accountability process that
- Discloses the names of his support pod
- Reports about the process with distilled actionable points
- Details known harms
~ Call for community accountability in supporting those reporting harm
~ Commit and take action to unlearn abusive behaviors and beliefs
- Multiple asks specifically requested that Charlie attend regular therapy
- And one ask requested that Charlie enroll in a sex offender remediation program
~ Actively work to replace harmful patterns with behaviors and beliefs that respect his partners, peers, and the community at large
~ Apologize (when requested) in ways that are meaningful to individuals who have experienced harm, as well as to the sex-positive community
~ Learn how to address and own the impact of his harmful patterns, without excuses
~ Step back from and/or freeze on public teaching and writing
- Some asks specifically included caveats such as only restricting Charlie from writing about abuse, consent, and boundaries
- Other requests were for a specific timeframe, such as 6 months, 1 year, until the accountability process ends, and during his accountability and integration process
- There was one call for Charlie to stop teaching, speaking, writing, and coaching permanently
- Note: In support of these various requests, the pod asked Charlie to freeze all educational engagements and appearances, regardless of topic, for the duration of our accountability process. We will be assessing how long this “freeze” should continue after the process as we move toward integration and wrapping up.
~ Remove posts on consent and consent violation “accidents”
~ Revisit previously published writing to look for harmful patterns of language and beliefs
~ Take down his Sexological Bodyworkers profile
- Note: In support of this request, the pod also asked Charlie to remove all public signalling that he was teaching, speaking, or otherwise available for public appearances.
~ Address specific patterns of evasion, defensiveness, abuse of power, emotional abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, and non-consensually controlling people. With special attention to:
- The behaviors that harmed intimate partners, peers, and clients
- The social media posts made to protect himself and his reputation at the cost of others
- How he “triangulated” with others to gaslight them and the general public when he initially asked for accountability
- Leveraging the dynamics of sexism to exploit the emotional labor of women, femmes and non-binary people who initially invested in his growth and accountability
- Tactics he used to dominate and control the narrative
- The violation of professional and therapeutic trust by suggesting polling clients to provide validation in his dispute with the calls for accountability
- How his behaviors have functioned as community harms
- Using manipulation and evasive maneuvers with individuals and organizations to protect his reputation and status
~ Informing clients and potential clients about his abusive patterns and accountability process
~ Monetary reparations, including:
- Reimbursement for specific expenses related to the harm Charlie caused individuals
- Restitution for potential lost income
- Requests for living expenses
- Regularly contribute or provide monetary support to victims advocacy groups
- Create a fund to support the healing of survivors of harm within the sex-postive community
In Support of Explicit Requests
The examples listed above carry implied requests for Charlie to engage in:
- A reevaluation and clarification of personal and professional boundaries, professional practices, and ethical frameworks
- An acknowledgement of his (conscious or unconscious) use of professional status and power to influence relationships and access to employment and study in the field
- Explorations of how he may have benefited from the professional blacklisting of those who sought to address his behavior and call him into accountability
A Note on Requested Apologies
Wrapped within Respondents’ requests for public apologies are requests for concrete, substantive manifestations of change. In general, Respondents were not as concerned about Charlie’s process of reflection as they were with seeing demonstrable actions and new ways of being and interacting. This is, in part, why most of the reflective writing the pod and our primary consultant have tasked Charlie with over the last two years has remained unpublished on Medium.
Requests of the Pod
Respondents have explicitly listed the following requests of the pod which can be shared publicly:
- A review of Charlie’s blog and social media posts (previous and forthcoming), paying special attention to forthcoming apologies and acknowledgments
- Keeping Respondents informed (based on individual wants and needs) of the pod’s plans and actions
- Be mindful of how outward reporting is done, and refrain from using percentages, or other demographic breakdowns as well as overly academic language
- Replace ourselves with a team more qualified to facilitate sex offender remediation work
- Remove our primary consultant from the process
- Help gather resources and mutual aid for harmed individuals
Note: We were asked by one Respondent to put harmed individuals in contact with each other. We stated that we would do so if other survivors made the same request or showed interest in it. We also offered to pass along a letter to those who wished to remain in contact and receive updates about the process.
While there is much more to report about this process, we hope this provides some insight about the harms we have been addressing with Charlie the past two years. Again, we hold sincere gratitude to the individuals who entrusted us with their experiences and accountability requests. Without their input and vulnerability, we would not be able to do this work.
In the near future, you can expect disclosure around specific ways in which we have brought these harms and their impact to Charlie’s awareness. Specific patterns we have witnessed him exhibit which connect to past harm, and how we addressed it with him will be discussed. We will also be reporting about harms that we have personally experienced while engaged in this work, while attempting to hold Charlie accountable. Reported will be how we engaged with him in learning, change, and growth.
We will also be reporting about how the pod has worked to honor the explicit and implied requests of Respondents, tangible ways in which Charlie has grown as well as places where there is still more work needed, and the safety measures he is putting in place for those who come in contact with him and the community at large. We will be sharing content specifically to help Harmed Individuals and the community better identify and name Charlie’s harmful patterns. The latter is critical since we know many of these patterns take years to unlearn, and even still many can reappear. While it is largely Charlie’s responsibility to curb and minimize his harmful behavior, we believe it is also a community-wide responsibility to discourage abusive behavior and promote better ways of relating with each other. Finally, we also aim to share a sustainable, transparent way for individuals to call for Charlie’s accountability, as needed, in the future.
As always, should you wish to contact pod members privately, you can email us collectively at email@example.com. This email address is shared with pod members only; Charlie and our consultants do not have access to these emails.
Version History and Readability Statistics
We are tracking the publication dates and version history, for ease of use for readers, which is found below.
Additionally, in response to feedback about use of “Overly academic language” we started utilizing a website in 2021 to help with outward reporting and communications called Readable.com [insert link: https://readable.com/ ] The following statistics were generated about this report:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 10.5
(Readable.com suggested trying to aim for 10th grade level or below. Some words, such as “accountability”, “confidentiality”, and “individuals” are considered hard words by their standards.)
Accessibility: This text should be readable for 81% of your addressable audience, which equates to approximately 69% of the general public.
Sentiment: Neutral, Slightly Positive
Tone: Somewhat Formal
Personalism: Impersonal (based on the usage of “we” instead of you and your)
Version History: Narrative Collection — Summary of Harms, Version 1.0, Edited June 2021, Published July 27, 2021