Thank you for so much for articulating this in such a thoughtful and considered way! It must have taken a lot of courage to share these difficult experiences but I'm so glad you did.
Your suggested actions are really helpful, and I would encourage anyone who cares about building a strong community based on altruism to take the time to think on this.
As someone who has had a similar experience with a partner I trusted, this paragraph felt incredibly true:
"The realistic tradeoffs as a survivor of sexual harassment or assault often push the survivor to choose an ideal, like justice or safety for others, at the expense of their time, energy, and health. While reeling from the harm of the situation, the person experiencing the harm might engage in a process that hurts them in an effort to ensure their safety, protect other potential victims, educate the perpetrator, or signal that the perpetrator’s actions were harmful."
I spent the weeks following the incident going over the facts in my head, considering his point of view, minimising the experience, wondering if I should have been more direct (anyone who has met me in person will know that's not something I usually have a problem with), discussing with friends who were disgusted by the story, then finally organising a meeting with him to outline why his actions were unacceptable, the next steps he needed to take and to make clear that he was not to contact me again.
I'm lucky that I have an incredible support system, had read enough on consent to feel able to stand up for myself and that he was immediately full of regret and shame. I am lucky that I have been able to process what happened with professionals and my friends to the extent that I am in a great place now. But I am forever changed by it and would unfortunately rank that short event as one of my clearest memories.
Hopefully, readers of this comment can see that this is not a reasonable process. I would be horrified if someone I loved told me that this had happened to them and that they were planning to mediate the aftermath like I had done.
Harms can be caused by poor judgement and selfishness in the moment. Actions that the individual might regret or feel shame over and potentially learn and grow from. However, the responsibility to protect other people, educate the perpetrator and repair the damage should be distributed.
The purpose of this comment was to give an additional piece of anecdotal evidence of the problem. I don't have any clear answers nor am I qualified to say what should be done in an ideal world here. If you'd like to discuss anything I've written here, feel free to DM me here or on Twitter @glpat99
Thanks again Emma - this is such an excellent post.
Please add your donations here (attendees or non-attendees :D): Giving What We Can
Hi! Thanks for sharing - I also found Nick's answer very helpful but also wanted to suggest checking out charities launched by Charity Entrepreneurship:
OUR CHARITIES | CE (charityentrepreneurship.com)
They publish lots of research into why they think the interventions would have a large positive impact. Some of the charities they have launched that I find particularly inspiring include:
- Lead Exposure Elimination Project · Giving What We Can
- New Incentives · Giving What We Can
- Suvita · Giving What We Can
This is awesome - thanks Rasool. Super good overview
What does 50 FTE mean? Do you mean 50% full time equivalent.