Pod Member’s Personal Statement: Rachel
Our pod has been working together for a few years to help bring Charlie into accountability for his harms. Each of our members has a wealth of experiences, resources, and personal beliefs that influence why we’ve committed to doing this work; in the coming month, we’ll share personal statements from each of our members to help give more perspective on who we are and what we want to accomplish through this work.
Composed: April 21st, 2021
Updated: May 26th, 2021
We have been doing this accountability pod thing for a while. Yeah. It’s been a haul. It was recently brought to my attention by several people that our outward reporting has been ambiguous — using a lot of big words without really saying anything.
I feel that. I took that feedback to the pod and named it. Full disclosure: we have had a lot of talks about how to do more public updates and the tone they should take since we started the public part of this process in 2019. We are working on solutions for how to report to you in a way that is more frequent, transparent, and frankly, real-talk. We hear you. We thank you.
That feedback is a huge part of why I made the decision to speak up here… in my own voice… without the filter of what we “think” this should look like.
This is new. Meaningful public accountability flies in the face of the punitive -blame culture. A culture that perpetuates a cycle of harm, victim-blaming, and ostracism. By asking for better from ourselves, and the various communities which we belong, we are creating a culture shift. And we can’t do it alone. It has to be all of us, together.
Survivors are speaking out — louder than before. Their voices are being heard and supported by more people and communities in various ways. And those who choose not to speak out publicly are being respected and supported for healing in their own way. Believe Victims and Do Something About It, is the unified message regardless of the way we do the work. It’s about fucking time.
In response, more folks are willing to hold others accountable. In my coaching and consulting practice, I’m seeing more communities wanting to put processes in place to prevent harm from even happening. These same community leaders want to know how to use trauma informed practices to help those who have been harmed. And when harm does happen, using a transformative practice to hold people accountable.
As the punitive practices are being replaced, a growing number of folks who have caused harm are becoming willing to listen and be still when they are called into accountability. Those who have caused harm are learning to take responsibility for the harm they caused and make meaningful amends. Some, but not enough, perpetrators of harm are turning towards accountability.
The way things have been done in the past induces lasting trauma. The victim-blaming, rape culture which uses punishing tactics, like blackballing victims when they speak up, as tools to leverage compliance, silence, protect the status quo. The old ways are being gutted. The trauma-informed care processes, which include collaborating with and advocating for vulnerable, marginalized people who report harm, are still in the infancy stage.
These processes aren’t fully formed. You are witnessing a huge social revolution. As accountability challenges punitive measures there will be mistakes. Not everyone who is trying to find a better way, or help, is trauma informed or well trained. As new accountability processes take hold and become more widespread, even well-meaning folks with good-intentions can compound or even cause trauma. This usually happens when someone who feels violated is trying to get help. Hell — just trying to get someone to hold your hand, listen, actually believe you, or simply bear witness when you have been through a hellish experience without centering themselves is near impossible. I’m so down to shift a culture that is causing more trauma, intentional or not.
I was asked what my philosophy is about doing accountability work… It is first and foremost trauma-informed. I have been there. I have been harmed. I’ve been sexually assaulted, physically battered, and survived some pretty horrific emotional, spiritual, sexual, and financial abuse in my life. I’ve worked hard — still working — on healing the lasting effects of the hell I have endured. I work hard everyday to transform the pain that comes in waves.
I have caused harm, too. I have chosen to take accountability, make amends and learn how to do better so I don’t keep acting out in harmful ways in the future. Sometimes the person I harmed is a willing participant in my accountability process and sometimes they have walked away to protect themselves. It was challenging at first for me to be vulnerable in taking accountability, but the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I do my best to live a daily intention of healthy consent and accountability.
I have also been at the helm, leading organizations in accountability processes. Doing trauma informed training, education and teaching folks how to write, implement policies and follow through on procedures that offer a 360 accountability healing process. The process also includes addressing the need for leadership and organizations to examine their own behavior and make repairs where they were responsible for the harm that occurred.
I do this work to help transform experiences with a focus on care, curiosity, and compassion; through accountability and learning. Specifically through the lens of consent, sex positivity, trauma, and transformation.
I take actions by being a steward of the experiences shared, and helping people find a deeper understanding of themselves.
In community, I help leaders build a solid foundation through education about the impact of trauma, consent, and transformational processes. I do this work to help heal the rippling effects harm has on communities.
I am here in service of stopping harm and promoting transformation. I am here, in this process with the Pod and Charlie to address specific patterns of harmful behavior. To find the selective thinking around philosophies; guide the understanding and creation of better policies and procedures in Charlie’s professional practices.
I am here to be an unrelenting voice for those not in the room and help those who have been hurt by Charlie, had their trust violated, lost community — their sense of safety — and even hope to be transformed in a positive way.
I am not a savior. I cannot “fix” it.
In this work, I commit to employing trauma informed practices, cultural humility; compassion, care and curiosity and fierce protections of the agency and autonomy of those who have been harmed. I do what I can to be a positive influence, and support with the aspiration of transforming the experience in a positive way.
I am an abolitionist and believe that our current punitive “justice” system is broken. It is “justice” to the highest bidder right now, with vulnerable and marginalized people paying the ultimate price of loss of life and freedoms. The punitive foundational philosophy of culture permeates so many aspects of our lives and ways of being. It is a hard thing to deprogram. I get it. I have patience for the change which happens at a human pace.
I believe in transformation and accountability.
I believe in the individual’s power to grow and change.
I believe people have innate wisdom to heal themselves.
I believe we all have a role to play in holding each other, and ourselves, accountable.
I believe in our collective power to make positive change.
I believe in you.