Thursday, March 4, 2010

Community Accountability and the Question of Violence (Part 1)

[Trigger warning]

[This is my post for asking questions, but, whatever direction our comments and thoughts take, there will be 1 or more posts for answers.]

Oh hey ladies!

I've been talking with other ladies lately (great ladies! smart ladies! radical ladies.), about the feminism and the activism and the rape culture, and it's been pretty nice. Don't worry, we're not friends yet or anything. We do talk about community accountability, however! Here are some methods, from zines, personal experience, and tales, that Oly/Seattle folks have used to keep rapists and rape apologists out of their space:

-Dude shows up at a party. Friends of the survivor see him and tell him, "You make people uncomfortable. You have to leave."

-Problem with a performer or performance? Bring many people and Boo the fuck out of it. Be able to explain why. (Anyone know more about direct action and the Lesbian Avengers than I do? Have only just learned of them.)

-Hunting the dude down and beating the shit out of him. Favored by one of the finest Oly musicians (I would tell you she's on yr Smashin' It! cd, but that wouldn't narrow it down), and suggested (and dismissed) for actors who perform rape, as a joke, in a show.

-Smear campaign. Tell the dude he has to meet the survivor's demands (such as learning about consent and sleazing in different social circles!) or we will put posters of his face, labled as rapist, all the fuck over Seattle. This happened to a dj who was huge on this coast (and assaulted folks all up and down it), and the posters ran him out of town. Can't get business here anymore.

-Spread the word around, local business refused to serve him, and he couldn't book a show at any venue in Oly anymore, so he left. (This is someone else, more low-key than the DJ)

-From Boy&Girl zine: break into his house at night with your friends, pour your menstrual blood on him to wake him up, and read to him whatever you've been dying to say. Friends will share, too. He left. (This is also an oly incident from the 90's.)

So. I love every single one of these, though some are more legal than others. The reality is typically that the rapist gets to keep his business (Hello, Issac Brock) or keep attending college, the survivor is the one who has to lose her friends, move, or drop out of school to avoid seeing the agressor and to stay safe (emotionally, physically, what have you), which is why these example of community are Fucking Exciting. But what about when the survivor is outside of a community to begin with, or if the agressor is a very charming and trusted member of the community? How can we create structure for accountability, and do you, dear ladysquadron, condone the violent aspects?

Last week, one person mentioned the importance of having a space to relish the visceral experience of all the varying degrees of shit, and that resonated with me. After all, the Oppressive Powers That Be use violence to enforce their stance all the time. I would like to fight back on the same level, because that is what my body and mind are aching to do, and hey, it would get some attention.

Over winter break, we used a lot of energy trying to figure out how to make Certain People into feminists. It is clear that most of those people are content to remain Disgusting. I am thinking about how it would feel for one or more of us to say, "You make people uncomfortable. You have to leave."


  1. I have Thoughts. And I'm on spring break, which gives me time and energy to express them! Can I do a follow-up post, is that it? And then: Dialogue! Yes?

  2. Okay, then! I have written something and I look forward to being disagreed with. We are allowed to disagree, right?

    Also: I cannot picture Kimya Dawson beating anyone up. Is it someone from S-K? Sooo curious.