Addressing sexual violence in the IWW

Women Workers in the IWW poster

An article by Madaline Dreyfus, replying to some of the recent discussion on instances of sexual violence within the IWW. Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on March 1, 2014

Trigger warning: Discussion of sexual violence.

Recently, within our union, the issue of sexual assault and rape of women members has been proposed to be a primary cause of the women leaving the IWW. As a member of the Edmonton General Membership Branch (GMB) for nearly seven years and a survivor of sexual assault, I wanted to respond to what I perceive to be a disturbing discourse surrounding the issue of sexual violence against women.

I am doubtful that the failure to address sexual and gender-based violence is the leading or even one of the leading causes of women leaving the organization or campaigns. While I do think there are factors which contribute to women leaving that are rooted in androcentric and patriarchal practice, I would absolutely not call them violent in the vast majority of cases. Not all patriarchal acts are acts of sexual violence, and by giving disproportionate attention to assault, we render many of the everyday oppressions of female members invisible, and overlook other contributors to gender imbalances in our union.

In conversations with other sister workers, experiences which I know to have directly contributed to women leaving or reducing their involvement include: being asked out by much older men, having men enter their personal space in a way that made them feel vulnerable or unsafe, and derogatory comments made about their interests/capacity/value in the branch. Additionally, although much harder to track, there are a large number of women who leave the union due to messy personal (not political–and I do differentiate) relationships with other members. I attribute much of this messiness to immaturity, unkindness and the inherent complexity of sexual and romantic relationships. I think we need to intervene when conflict begins to affect the safety or continued involvement of members, and in these cases I think we need to act proactively as often as possible.

There is always a need to be mindful of the enormous difference between situations where we can exert personal or organizational influence and easily interrupt patriarchal behavior and cases of sexual assault. While many of us are rightfully suspicious of state structures, until we have the capacity to deal with all aspects of sexual assault appropriately, I believe the only responsible course of action in the case of a report of sexual assault is to encourage and help survivors to contact sexual assault support services in their area, such as helplines, hospitals, police, sexual assault centers or mental health care. We simply do not have the organizational resources or expertise at this point to assist survivors in the ways that are necessary to prevent awful outcomes, such as re-victimization, unwanted publicity, exposing them to further sexual or domestic violence from the same offender, drug and alcohol abuse, or suicide. Being a member of the IWW is important, but not nearly important as being healthy and safe.

Imagine if a woman reported a rape and instead of taking her (with consent) to the hospital or police station for a rape kit, we “dealt” with it ourselves first and physical evidence of the crime was lost? Or she wasn’t able to obtain an abortion and psychological counseling from a qualified health provider in a timely way? Or her attacker was a person within our community, and she was encouraged to find shelter within that community instead of at a shelter? Those are horrifying possibilities. Whenever I hear suggestions of “direct action” around issues of sexual assault, it becomes clear that the consequences of this course of action have not been fully considered— and that is a far greater danger to women in our organization than anything we are doing now. It is very important that we are honest with members about our limited capacity to address sexual assault within our organization in order to ensure that survivors make informed decisions about whether to access other forms of support and do not feel as though they are betraying the union or their community’s principles in doing so.

Sexual assault is not an issue that can be addressed by direct action for one clear reason: there is no “winnable demand,” which is the key characteristic of any direct action we engage in. The only things that we could win back for a person who has been sexually victimized—their self-worth, happiness, sense of safety, or physical health for instance—are not things that we can ever “win” for someone else. We cannot erase what has happened and therefore we can only take revenge, which puts neither the survivor nor us in a position of power. A worker runs the risk of feeling terribly betrayed if these unachievable aims are the goals of our organizing, because no matter what we win, it will never be a victory.

Additionally, it’s important to imagine the possible danger if we “lose.” Any of us who have been active organizers in the IWW know that any campaign loss can be extremely difficult emotionally, even under the very best circumstances. Can anyone take responsibility for pinning a worker’s hope for recovery from sexual assault on an organizing drive? Can we inoculate against what might happen if we lose, and the perpetrator has accomplished a second victimization of the worker? Any conscientious organizer knows that we must never raise the stakes so high.

This is not to say that a worker who has been sexually assaulted, at work or otherwise, should not be involved in an organizing campaign, if they feel able to be. It means only that the sexual assault should never be considered an organizing issue within the campaign. A worker might feel deeply empowered by successful direct action around other issues, meaningful connections with others, and solidarity, all of which may help that worker to survive an assault. We should ensure the worker guides all of their interactions with the perpetrator in order to protect their physical and emotional safety.

If individuals within the IWW know that it is our policy not to turn over cases of sexual assault to legal authorities or outside organizations, we are creating spaces where perpetrators are protected from the consequences of these acts. Furthermore, we are putting at risk the safety of both assault survivors and other members who may become involved in a conflict with the offender. Restorative justice can be an empowering process for survivors and their political communities, providing a way to move forward from destructive sexual violence. It is important that engagement in these processes be guided by individuals who are knowledgeable, experienced, and supported by others with expertise, such as social workers, etc.

I have participated in several IWW meetings where sexual assault and policies surrounding this issue were discussed for extended periods of time. This particular practice is for me, and can be for others, enormously triggering of difficult memories, thoughts and emotions. While survivors are often very invested in the processes we use to address sexual violence within our branch, making these subjects a regular topic of public discussion is a practice that I strongly discourage. Given that nearly a quarter of all women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime, we need to be cognisant of the fact that the practice of bringing these topics up in public meetings may in fact be harmful to the very group of individuals meant to be empowered by it.

I don’t think we can underestimate the complex processes that contribute to sexual violence, in our union or in society at large. The statistical truth is that strategies which rely heavily on punitive rather than preventative strategies are unlikely to be as successful as desired, in part because punitive strategies ensure that a sexual assault must occur before we can take action. For instance, statistics indicate that the vast majority of sexual assaults occur when the perpetrator is impaired by drug or alcohol consumption.

A simple practice which has the potential to reduce the risk of sexual violence, although far less glamorous than violent retaliation, is for IWW branches to be highly aware of drug and alcohol use amongst members attending union events and socials. Having a designated pair (preferably of different genders) of sober individuals at each event allows the event organizers to keep a watchful eye on interactions that seem like they could become coercive or violent, and provides capable point-people who could handle the report of an assault reasonably and promptly. Additionally, all branch officers should be provided with a brief guide for what to do if an assault is reported to them, including numbers of hotlines, local hospitals, and sexual assault centers in the area.

Certainly, it seems clear that under no circumstances should men ever be involved in interpreting, determining priorities around, or writing legislation for women’s issues. No matter how wellmeaning, these acts always serve to silence women. While we may value male allies in our fight, the fight is our own. We do not need male “enforcers” to protect women with macho violence, nor do we need male “protectors” to publicize and act as experts on our oppressions. It is important that while men and other non-female IWW members should remain engaged in these discussions, and recognize that as union members they will have a vote on any legislative changes, women should always remain the sole representatives of their own concerns.

The first priority in all cases of sexual assault should be the physical and mental health of the survivor, second the protection of our members, followed finally by the attending to the needs of the organization. Rather than focusing on the actions of the perpetrator, we must always address physical harm to the survivor, much of which may not be immediately apparent; internal injuries, shock, sexually transmitted infections, or pregnancy, for instance.

It is AN INDIVIDUAL SURVIVOR’S RIGHT to decide how she would like others to respond to her assault, including who is made aware of it, what treatment she consents to, and the response of her organization. Policies that encourage any type of “automatic” action, such as the expulsion of members accused of sexual assault, are unhelpful and discourage reporting of sexual violence. Aside from potentially drawing attention to an issue that the survivor may wish to remain confidential, the experience of the assault belongs to the survivor, not the organization— and she should be empowered to make any decisions needed, with an understanding that her organization will provide options and support. Where a worker has had her right to consent violated, we must not repeat the same crime in addressing her assault.

Discussions about the assault should be directed by the survivor, and those confided in with these situations should be made aware of the need for confidentiality. Sexual assault is a form of disempowerment that cannot simply be reversed through collective action. We cannot undo the violence which has been done to survivors, however we can endeavour to provide as safe an environment as possible, as well promote organizational practices that allow for the long and difficult path to recovery.

Hungry56

8 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

'It is AN INDIVIDUAL SURVIVOR’S RIGHT to decide how she would like others to respond to her assault ... and the response of her organization.'

This can be problematic because all responsibility is being placed on the victim. The victim probably isn't going to say 'Expel him!!'. There was an incident in a Leninist group in my town where a member committed clearly harassing and stalker-ish behaviour to another member. A couple of leading organisers talked to the victim, told her about what a good, active, comrade the guy was, and then asked her what should be done to him. Of course she didn't say suspend or expel him. There is also the safety of other women to consider.

The same problem happens with other forms of assault committed towards members outside the organisation. The group will phone the victims outside the group, who always say they don't care what happens, and why would they? It is the responsibility of the organisation to discipline it's own members.

How have groups gotten around this problem?

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So a couple of years back a friend of mine in the IWW was sexually assaulted. Related to this another member began harassing me and her. So this is what I have to say about this IWW's process..
By far the worst thing about it is that it silences the victim. It requires everyone to not talk about what happened and not even inform IWW members in other branches that a complaints process is going on. At the same time it provides no way to enforce terms of relief. What this meant was that - despite agreeing to terms of relief that he not contact us, not be involved in union stuff while the complaint was happening etc, - the harasser basically just did whatever he liked, lied to people about it, contacted people all over the country to get them on side, got others to help bully and harass us. We couldn't do anything about this. When I finally tried to tell people there was a complaints procedure going on in response to him sending emails to a national list claiming that he was being persecuted, I ended up with a complaint against me and terms of relief that I wasn't allowed to be involved in the union.
It's legalistic. It doesn't work on any basis of believing the victim. It has a complaints committee that decides on the issue on the basis of "evidence". Fortunately in my case there was a huge amount of evidence because it was harassment not sexual assault. The process took way too long. I think a total of 3 months, during which the harassment just got worse and worse.
Leading IWW members and bodies were very slow to do anything. In my opinion quite passive aggressive in the case of members of the Australian ROC. We, along with other members and ex members, were harassed for a year after this person was expelled (actually it's still going on). Not just by him but by other IWW members who'd been his friends. Stuff was posted using the Perth IWW Facebook page attacking my mental health and also attacking another woman who was also harassed by a different IWW member in Perth. The members in control of this page weren't even in good standing. Yet it took literally months for the ROC to do anything at all. And they never issued any kind of public comment or retraction. The only people who did anything were Melbourne branch.
The culture in the IWW is horribly misogynist. I've been involved in the left for almost 2 decades and have never come across a group as unsafe for women as the IWW. I don't think this is just a problem in Australia. From what I've been told by women IWW members in other places it's exactly the same.
Also these problems with the complaints process aren't new. They've been brought up many times before and the IWW has refused to act.

Regarding this article, it's pretty frustrating. I don't even know where to start. I feel like you are well meaning but then you end up downplaying the problem in the IWW. Claiming that focusing on sexual assault somehow detracts from other issues about sexism (how?). Talking about how the IWW doesn't have the resources to help survivors - how about holding the perpetrators to account? Also of course relationships are political. Everything is political. It's not immaturity that causes women to be pushed out of groups after break ups, it's patriarchy. Men use their social power. And the thing about having 2 people designated not to drink... Seriously? Rapes aren't caused by men getting drunk. From my experience in the IWW in Australia sexual harassment and assault was used deliberately as a tool to keep women out of the IWW so it could remain a boys club with a cool name that never does anything.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm the former iww member mentioned above who was sexually assaulted and harassed by two separate members. I'm writing this on my phone, so won't be going into as much detail as I would like regarding the problems with this article but I wanted to say something.

If immaturity was the main cause behind women leaving radical groups after relationship breakups, then men and women would leave in roughly equal numbers. Women are pushed out of groups because of sexist attitudes and social structures that place more value on the work of men than of women.

I had an intimate relationship with my rapist and not only did I stay with him after he raped me but I went back to him after he ended the relationship. This isn't unusual at all, any research into rape within intimate relationships shows that its quite normal for a survivor to stay with their rapist, and to be in denial, for some time (even years) afterwards. What it did mean though, was my actions were used as an excuse to not believe me and to call me an immature and unstable liar. Basically my leaving the union was seen by many as caused by immaturity and not as the direct result of bullying, victim blaming and rape culture. Other members, some who I hadn't even met or I'd only met once, even unofficially discussed the merit of my allegations, decided I was lying and rang or emailed my rapist to offer him their solidarity. I became aware if this and even came into possession of an email. This is when I resigned, I saw no point in staying in a union so hostile towards me. I emailed the roc with my resignation, explaining that there as a smear campaign happening labelling me as having lied about the assault. The only roc member who responded was the treasurer, though they made no mention of the smear campaign. The national secretary did not respond at all. I did not ask that the iww provide me with anything that was outside of their capacity, all I asked was to be believed and to be safe. If keeping good organisers on board even if they have committed abuses, then the iww is not a union for all workers, but a boys club.

Focussing on sexual assault does not take away from attention that should be given to other forms of sexism and harassment. Sexual assault doesn't happen in a vaccuum, both assaults and the attitudes that enable them are part of a wider culture of sexism and devaluation of women. It is not a case of fighting one or another but of fighting that whole culture and if the iww wants to be a union for all workers than it needs to do just that. You cannot expect members to put their other oppressions aside and work with their oppressors because you've decided focussing on more than one acid of oppression, in this case class, is too hard.

Juan Conatz

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not going to speak for the author, but I'm assuming this was written with North America in mind, specifically the recent Portland statement. I know technically Australia ROC is part of the IWW, but I don't think most of us here know anything about what's going on there, unless we're on libcom a lot.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've talked to plenty of women in the US IWW and the situation seems exactly the same. Also are you an international organisation or are you not? This was printed in your international paper. The Portland statement was written partly by people involved in the complaints committee hearing about what happened here. Just washing your hands of anything that happens overseas is disgusting. And the fact that most of you don't know anything about it is a fucking problem, because the IWW was supposed to have released the a statement internally about what happened. But hey, someone just got raped and at least half a dozen people harassed and stalked by multiple IWW members. Who cares?

And all that aside, the article is still full of victim blaming, whitewashing garbage.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not sure why what continent an abuse happened on matters, the structures and attitudes that enabled the harassment and bullying to continue are not isolated to Australia. I gave an example of what happened to me not because I thought the article was referring to any of what happened in Australia but because people should learn from what was done wrong here, rather than ignore it because it happened somewhere else.

Juan Conatz

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's nowhere in what I wrote that excuses, justifies or downplays what has happened in Australia. But a great amount of the information on it has been put out online, where not everyone spends a lot of time following. I don't remember seeing anything internally except information on the expelled harasser, nothing much on reflections on the process or stuff like that, although I could be mistaken, I don't catch everything.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, I wasn't aware that I couldn't talk about how the IWW failed me as a rape survivor, unless the author already knew about it. I was under the impression that it made it more important to discuss how attitudes within the IWW enabled victim blaming and to point out that some of those same beliefs, such as that sexism isn't the main cause for women being pushed out of the union after a breakup, were reproduced in this article.

Juan Conatz

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nah I didn't say all that. I was more attempting to clarify who the author was probably responding to, but as I'm not the author, I'll bow out of this.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why are people downing the comments of a rape survivor in a discussion about dealing with sexual violence?

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"I don't remember seeing anything internally except information on the expelled harasser, nothing much on reflections on the process or stuff like that,"

I wrote a comment above giving my "reflections" on why the official process (one which is the same internationally) failed. You just wrote it off as irrelevant because what happened was in Australia, even though most of the process happened internationally. And as I said, I've talked to a few members in the US who had pretty similar issues with the complaints process. This wasn't an anomaly.

Why the hell for once can't a group respond to these kind of issues by saying "this was wrong, we should make sure it doesn't happen again?". No group would look bad for doing that. But instead every group on the left responds the same by minimising and distancing itself from stuff that's happened in the group. And frankly the lack of acknowledgment of what happened fucking hurts.

Nate

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not at my best right now because I got very little sleep because of my kids but I just saw this and I want to respond now because this important. In light of what EmC and Bounce said, I want to say, what happened to you was wrong, that's awful, it shouldn't have happened and it shouldn't happen again. I also agree with you about the problems with the IWW's complaint process. I've got experience with that process for stuff nowhere near as serious or intense as sexual assault and the process was bad, so it could only be worse for issues of sexual assault. For whatever it's worth I read this piece as agreeing with that. I read the piece as calling for alternatives to the current complaint process and also saying that some of the other alternatives proposed by some people in the US, alternatives borrowed from other parts of the left, are inadequate too. I also read the piece as calling for implying that there's a need for a lot more feminist work in the IWW. I know the author thinks that because we've emailed about it, I may be reading that into the article here, if it's not totally clear in the piece. (I'm not the author of this article though and I don't want to put words in her mouth.)

Chilli Sauce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

1, blaming rape on alcohol consumption of either the rapist or victim, enables rapists. If you think you might rape someone if you've had too much to drink, don't drink ever. Rape isn't something that people accidentally do when they've had one too many.

2, plenty of predatory behaviour committed by iww members against other members happens outside of official iww events. Addressing this shouldn't be seen as outside if the iww's capacity. It shouldn't be hard to believe someone who has been abused or harassed and to undertake measures to make their continued involvement in the iww safer.

3, Everything is political. The dynamics that underscore our public lives do not dissapear behind closed doors. Men hold social and political power over women, this leads to the vast majority of rape and dv survivors being women. Safety and bodily autonomy are political, to advocate that they are any less than that is to support the patriarchy.

4, If someone in the organisation you are in says they were abused by another member your first response should be asking what can be done to make things safer for them (if they are still a member) and what can be done differently in the future. Your first response should not be to try and distance yourself, your branch or the whole organisation from what happened.

5, if you down vote someone talking about how they were raped, you're an ass.

Lugius

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A series of discussions about these issue have been going on (and continue to be on-going) in Melbourne since 2010.

There was a recognition that the processes are often inadequate and incomplete. The capacity of small groups to meaningfully deal with serious issues was questioned. It was acknowledged that these serious issues need continuing attention.

http://mac.anarchobase.com/2013/10/joint-statement-by-mac-and-asf-melbourne-regarding-sexual-assault-within-melbourne-anarchist-milieu/

This statement was arrived at after some time and its controversy is acknowledged.

Completely agree with bounce about voting comments down - it's mean-spirited.

Fleur

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

if you down vote someone talking about how they were raped, you're an ass.

Seconded.

And then there would be the perennial question "I wonder why there are so few women posters here?"

Steven.

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fleurnoire-et-rouge

if you down vote someone talking about how they were raped, you're an ass.

Seconded.

Thirded. We brought in the up/down voting specifically to try to challenge prejudiced/bullying posts. And it does seem to have helped.

However it is completely unacceptable to use it in this way. People who misuse the up/down votes can be banned so consider this a warning.

If you disagree with what someone says, don't just down-vote it, if you have a point to make make it. Down votes should be used to indicate disapproval of discriminatory, macho/aggressive, or otherwise out of order posts.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe you should get rid of anonymous voting. If someone is so reprehensible as to vote down a rape survivor then I think they should at least have the guts to do it publicly. I want to know who they are.

Juan Conatz

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The up/down votes are sort of a side issue here. In any case, while you lament the fact survivors expressing political opinions on the subject are being down voted, you engage in the disgusting and appalling labeling of survivors expressing their political opinion (such as the author of this article) with weaponized rhetoric like 'victim blaming' and 'whitewashing'. When the gauntlet is thrown down like that, I imagine many people would rather express agreement/disagreement passively, with up/down votes, rather than engage in the discussion where survivors have already been subjected to insults such as that.

On the article itself, I think it has a couple points, the first being that sexual assualt is not the primary reason women leave the IWW. I think this is probably true, although obviously I have nothing but personal experience and connections in the union to back this up. And a major oversight here is the experience of the Australian ROC, which, according to what I remember about what has happened there, I imagine sexual assualt is a major reason if not the major reason. Looking back at what was published about the situation, there probably should have been multiple people expelled for their conduct, and maybe even the ROC itself should have been dechartered pending investigation by the international administration. I don't know if that's even a thing that can be done or how it could be done, but that's my kneejerk reaction. So this point is subject to regional situations. In North America, it may be true, in Australia it is not. I don't think this point is meant to downplay sexual assualt either, but with Portland's statement, which was put on the frontpage of the website and spread around the union, it gives the impression that this is a topic of major concentration, while other things that may be larger factors are either subsumed into the sexual violence category or ignored altogether.

The main point I think though, is the sentiment that we can handle these things punitively in-house, everytime. Like Nate, I've also been on a complaints committee that wasn't about sexual assualt. In many ways it was inadequte. I imagine there's a better way, but I don't know it. I think there should be a larger conversation in the union about these things, but I don't think the conversation should primarily be on sexual assualt, for the reasons already stated. Also, there is a real sentiment, mostly that comes out of activist culture, of setting up basically the anarchist equivelent of a justice system when it comes to accountability. For many of us who have been involved in these efforts, either directly or indirectly, they have been also woefully inadequte, and have often turned into the types of shitshows they were intended to avoid. I think a lot of people, including survivors, are genuinely passionate about and interested in combating sexism and sexual violence within the organizations and/or movements of the far left, but are suspicious of the viability of these sorts of in-house accountability processes and have seen them fail as much as more formal types of processes such as what the IWW has (in North America, I don't know about Australia's process).

MadalineDreyfus

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am the author of this article. I have never posted on Libcom before, so please understand that I do not know the protocols around things like up/down voting and will not be commenting on those. I joined this site temporarily in order to share my thoughts about what has been written on this thread.

First, I really appreciate that people are engaging with my article even if there is disagreement with my points, because I do feel very strongly that the IWW has an enormous amount of work to do before we can truly call ourselves a feminist organisation. The first step in that direction is openly, publicly discussing these issues without silencing anyone. We need to make sure that these concerns are not kept quiet; for the convenience of the organisation, for the shame often unjustly felt by survivors, for the discomfort of change, or because the nature of the discussion inherently silences survivors at their own expense.

I am a ciswoman, and a survivor of violent rape and domestic abuse. While I do not wish to discuss the details here, and I did not in my article, I did clearly mention that I had survived a sexual assault. I have a right to an opinion without being subjected to hurtful and disgusting allegations that I am “victim-blaming” and “whitewashing”, and implications that I am sympathetic to sexism and rapists simply by disagreeing about an approach to sexual violence. NO person should make such damaging comments about someone who has survived a rape, regardless of how deeply you disagree with them. Quite frankly, you should probably operate on the assumption a woman has experienced this until told otherwise, given the prevalence of this violence.

It was difficult for me to write this article, and I wrote it with the support of allies and my sexual assault counselor, as an empowering choice in my recovery. I anticipated that there would be debate around this issue – never did I anticipate that I would be treated as a rape apologist. This kind of rhetoric can only serve to silence women, limiting their ability to engage in these discussions and damaging their confidence to speak up. If you are a man or someone who has not survived a rape, and you engage in this tactic, you are abusive and your actions are disgusting. Period. I am appalled at any community which would tolerate this.

That said, I am deeply sorry for the experiences of bounce and EmC. I understand you must be angry. I can only imagine how traumatic your experience was, and I am shocked that I heard nothing about this situation in North America. Thank you for being willing to post your story in the hopes that the IWW can support and protect sexual assault survivors. I have the same hope and goal.

To respond to a few points of concern which were indicated…

- Never did I state that all drunken men commit rapes. If I felt this, surely I would suggest that IWW events should be dry? I suggested that two sober individuals be designated in order to ensure that there were two people (with unimpaired judgement) who could proactively deal with individuals who appeared to be behaving in an oppressive/violent manner, and to ensure that sexual assault survivors were able to report their assault to someone sober. Additionally, these individuals could be available to drive women to support services, hospitals, or even simply to escort them safely home, as requested. While it is not true that alcohol causes rape, it is statistically true that it is involved to some degree in the majority of sexual assaults (for either the perpetrator or the victim) so we must use added caution to protect our members at events where there is drinking.

-It is true that it is possible to focus on both sexual assault and sexism. It is also true that one is related to the other, and very often is the cause. The problem I see is that focusing on sexual assault to the exclusion of other forms of sexist oppression prevents us from addressing those very real concerns, which so often lead to violent escalation. And yes, I do think this goes on in the IWW. In my experience, whenever women’s issues are brought up, our members tend to focus completely on sexual violence and do so in such a way that lacks nuance and an informed understanding of the issue. For example, there is room for women to disagree about the approach that should be taken to these issues, without anyone being accused of making excuses for rapists.

-Women in an organisation have a right to be safe and protected, but not at the expense of an individual woman who has experienced sexual violence. If a woman chooses to keep her rape private, she most likely has excellent reasons for not wanting her rape to be public information - regardless, they are HER reasons which no one has the right to question. There is a big difference between “what do you want us to do?” (as one commenter suggested) which would doubtless elicit a confused and disempowered reply, and “here are some things we can do, here are some thing we can help you with, you have the choice, and we’ll support you.” The latter approach is what I advocate.

-Of course those who make sexual assault reports should be believed. Nowhere did I - or ever would I - state otherwise.

Other than these points, I am unsure about where others are disagreeing with me. Do you disagree that women should be helped to access outside services, if they wish? Do you disagree that a woman has a right to confidentiality around a sexual assault disclosure? Do you feel we currently have the capacity to offer full medical, protective, and psychological support services to survivors? I am concerned that most of this discussion seems to be focused on responding to sexual assault, rather than on PREVENTING sexual assault before our members are victimised.

I am willing to continue to discuss my position, with the caveat that I will not tolerate any abusive allegations which jeopardise my recovery.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These discussions in libcom have jeapordised my recovery. I had some lovely dreams about when I was raped last night. Thanks to the IWW I had a nervous breakdown, my relationship with my partner was nearly destroyed, I failed uni and had to drop out of the course I was doing. And I'm not able to be involved in activism any more after almost 20 years. Which really sucks because before this it was my life. Reading these kind of discussions is extremely triggering. Both from when I was raped repeatedly by another activist and the shit I went through for 2 years in the IWW. The way I was bullied out and then the whole thing ignored. And now people have these discussions where it's like "oh that's irrelevant". There has never been any acknowledgment of what either Bounce or me went through. And it's pretty clear Juan doesn't give a flying fuck how his comments have affected me. So I'm not going to accept being guilt tripped or people minimizing how bounce has been treated.

Writing that I realised how fucking pointless and stupid subjecting myself to more of this shit is. Especially when I'm then blamed for jeapordising other people's recovery by even stating my views. You lot win. I'm done commenting on Libcom.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One last thing I will say though. I am sick of being treated like I can just take this kind of shit. It's like if you're the right kind of victim then everyone treats you like some kind of precious flower who needs protecting. But if you are not feminine enough, too much of a loudmouth or don't just slink off and die after being abused then you're a legitimate target.

MadalineDreyfus

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No one wins when survivors leave these discussions because of conflict. No one is a legitimate target. We need to be supported by each other and by the IWW. I hear your anger and frustration, but I am not sure how my comments or article have made you feel dismissed? Sexual assault and our organisational response to it is critically important, and I am deeply invested in these issues. Please help me to understand where I can clarify my position or attitudes to help resolve this - I would like to be able to respectfully continue the conversation. (I also understand if you are not able to while honouring your well-being as a survivor.)

I think Juan makes a good point that I wrote my statement about the majority of women not leaving the IWW due to sexual assaults with a North American context in mind. I was unaware of what happened in Australia and I would not have made that statement otherwise. I apologise for making a blanket statement without checking with sisters in other ROCs, as clearly the situation has been very different in other parts of the union. My main point is that I feel the organisation has not taken sexual assault nearly seriously enough, and that we need more coordinated, thoughtful, and proactive strategies to protect the rights of survivors.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Down voting comments that say little other than that I was raped in the IWW is not a side issue, unless you are going to prioritize the wellbeing of some survivors over others. This article, this thread and pretty much all attempts to get any acknowledgement from the IWW jeopordise my recovery. I have had to withdraw entirely from activism because even if I don't run into my rapist, I will still run into his supporters. But I guess that doesn't matter because the it was the Australian IWW, even though the IWW internationally only seems interested in distancing itself, rather than acknowledging what happened. Discussion isn't possible where we have to tip toe around what is wrong with the article but the same accommodations are not made for survivors who disagree with what was written.

MadalineDreyfus

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am extremely angry and upset that I would be called "the right kind of victim," no person is the "right kind" of victim of a rape.

This discussion does not seem to be productive. I have not asked anyone to tip toe, I have only asked that we stick to the points of my perspective rather than making personal attacks.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok so I've been looking back at this conversation for a long time. I think I have said 2 things which were out of line:

1. "And all that aside, the article is still full of victim blaming, whitewashing garbage."

I'm sorry for saying this. I said it out of anger over our experiences in the IWW being dismissed. However it was not a fair assessment of the original article. I did feel that it was a "white wash" to some degree, because you played down the role of women leaving the IWW due to sexual assault and harassment. However, I realise now that you are only speaking from your own experience and you were unaware of most of the situations I know of where women have left the IWW because of gender based violence.

2. "One last thing I will say though. I am sick of being treated like I can just take this kind of shit. It's like if you're the right kind of victim then everyone treats you like some kind of precious flower who needs protecting. But if you are not feminine enough, too much of a loudmouth or don't just slink off and die after being abused then you're a legitimate target."

That was really out of line. I can imagine it would have been very hurtful and I'm really sorry I said that to you. There is no such thing as "the right kind of victim". The whole point about rape culture is that every woman who is assaulted is not the "right kind of victim". We are all portrayed as not being real victims, not being worthy of support, somehow being responsible for our own rapes etc. I think I've been treated this way by the IWW as an organisation in a really aggressive way, but that really has nothing to do with you as an individual.

Finally, neither me nor Bounce EVER said anything about "rape apologism". Juan quoted me or bounce as having said that when neither of us did. I think from the beginning of this discussion, and on two other related threads, he's been extremely aggressive. Now he seems to be trying to say that all this was in defense of Madaline. I think that's BS.

He's also gone and justified the silent down votes against Bounce by people being intimidated by our anger at what happened to us. Sorry but that's a lame excuse. Talking about your extremely traumatic personal experiences and then having a bunch of people silently attacking you is intimidating. Dealing with the emotions that survivors face is something people should face up to like adults.

Also I might remind people of what kind of comments Bounce was being voted down for making:

I'm not sure why what continent an abuse happened on matters, the structures and attitudes that enabled the harassment and bullying to continue are not isolated to Australia. I gave an example of what happened to me not because I thought the article was referring to any of what happened in Australia but because people should learn from what was done wrong here, rather than ignore it because it happened somewhere else.

How is this aggressive? Why do people feel the need to silently down vote it?

The silent down votes are triggering because it's reminiscent of the way survivors are always treated. People silently stop being your friends. Talk behind your back. Form this wall of support for the perpetrator without ever talking to you or asking your side.

Looking back I don't think that either me nor Bounce's posts were that aggressive. They were very critical. I think people are re-writing what happened in the exchanges above so they can dismiss what we have to say and paint us as aggressive and crazy. Which is exactly how the people who bullied us in the IWW have portrayed us all along.

I think Juan basically just let a lot of people know that it's open season to rip us to shreds on some of the most painful experiences of our lives, because we are "throwing down the gauntlet". And then he played the victim about it. That is not ok. It's why I don't want to participate in this discussion unless some kind of respect goes BOTH ways.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree with EmC's above comment.

I still don't agree with quite a few points of the article and maybe if I had just stuck to that instead of using my experience in the IWW as an example, I wouldn't have been seen as so aggressive. Just as survivors have a right to not talk about their experience, they have a right to talk about it, and to name the people involved. Some people have taken the view that because Em and I used the internet as a tool to share what happened to us and to name some of the people involved, that we are aggressive and therefore fair game. I don't talk openly about what happened to me because it isn't triggering, I do so because the person who raped me had a long history of violent and intimidating behaviour towards other activists, and the person who harassed both EmC and me had a very long history of harassing other activists, primarily women, and it was the silence of the community that enabled these men to continue their predatory behaviour for so long. Yet, this is seen by some as petty or aggressive.

I too found anonymous down votes of comments that were not abusive to be triggering, like EmC said, it brings back that I have faced far more criticism for naming my abuser than I have support. I don't expect this to change, but I would still rather not be reminded of the fact that society doesn't like it when survivors point fingers.

I don't know at what point I "threw down the gauntlet". Maybe someone could enlighten me. What I did do was criticise what I saw, and still see, as issues in this article.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Not all patriarchal acts are acts of sexual violence, and by giving disproportionate attention to assault, we render many of the everyday oppressions of female members invisible, and overlook other contributors to gender imbalances in our union. "

"My main point is that I feel the organisation has not taken sexual assault nearly seriously enough"

Wouldn't taking sexual assault more seriously mean giving more attention to it?

kingzog

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

emc wrote:

I'd like to know why people are downing my comment where I said you should not publish rape apologism.

This was indeed said by Emc, HOWEVER, it was not regarding this essay, it was on the other thread concerning a different article-one by Rebecca Winter. Perhaps ppl are confusing the two?http://libcom.org/library/silent-no-longer-confronting-sexual-violence-left-anarchist-affinity?page=1

Edit: and I believe it is in reference to an article which was taken down, not the one by Winter?

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yep, it was in reference to "politics of denunciation" which was taken down.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It looks like a comment was taken down, so I'm not quit sure what was said... But yeah, I said that libcom should not publish rape apologism in response to "the politics of denunciation" by Kristian Williams, which has now been temporarily taken down pending moderators discussion. I most definitely was NOT referring to this article or the one by Rebecca.

EDIT: I actually linked to the article I was referring to. So there shouldn't even be a question about this.

Juan Conatz

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah, yes, you're right. I mixed up 'victim blaming' for 'rape apoligism'. I edited my post to reflect what was actually said.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, edit out your lies.

Sooner or later people will realise that the only thing you really care about is protecting the reputation of you party.

OliverTwister

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, deleted.

I do take this thread very seriously, I think it brings up a lot of flaws in current IWW practice and I hope that a lot of FWs will become less self-congratulatory about our organization, when it's clear that we have a lot of problems (including a very weak ability to respond to sexual assault). However I think this weakness comes from other issues, a lack of seriousness on the part of many members, a complete divorce between local branches and the wider union that is half-structural and half-cultural, etc.

That being said EmC's accusation that Juan "only cares about protecting the reputation of the party" is utter nonsense, completely out of proportion with anything he's said, and deserves to be called such.

Nate

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wrote a long reply last night or the night before but apparently my comment got eaten by the internet. I'm going to get back to this later when I have more time. I wanted to say for now that I appreicate EmC apologizng for some of the comments. I think that dials thigns down a bit and I think it takes character to apologize like that publicly. Thanks for doing that. I also want to say, I totally get how this is heated intense stuff and that makes it hard to discuss and hard to agree to disagree. (I also get how the downvote thing would be really upsetting, understandably so, in a thread like this, that makes me think differently about the up/down vote thing, a feature I've always thought before was just a good thing.) What would people here think about rebooting this thread (not deleting but starting a new thread for discussion, keeping this one though so people can read it) and/or maybe splitting it? I think there are at least two things going on here, one is about experiences and the other is about policy and practice in the IWW. I get that those are related and the second should be informed by the first, but they strike me as different.

Also, for what it's worth, I don't at all object to survivors publicizing assaults that happened in the IWW or at IWW events or in any other way connected to the IWW, and shortcomings of the way it was handled both officially and unofficially, if that's the survivor's decision. As an IWW member, I find that stuff embarrassing, but it's *the fact that it's happened* that's embarrasing, not the reporting of it. (There's got to be a better word but I can't think of one, I don't mean 'embarrassign' to sound trivializing, I apologize if it sounds that way.) As Bounce said, giving attention to sexual assault is part of taking it seriously. There have been instances though of people publicizing assaults without the consent of the survivors involved (not in this situation in Australia, but in the US), which I think is unacceptable and irresponsible. In my opinion that's one of the things that should be discussed in terms of how to handle assaults.

OliverTwister

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

After a little longer to think about it, I want to make it very clear that I do take this thread and the issues it raised seriously. I hadn't commented until earlier today because I wasn't sure if I had anything to contribute per se. I also want to apologize for any kind of sarcasm I expressed in my earlier post two spots up and I want to thank Fingers Malone for calling me out on it.

I think almost none of the members in the US/Canada have heard anything about what is or has happened in Australia, which is why we haven't done anything. I know it's complete news to me. I don't think that any of the responsible officers have dropped the ball, I think our structure is broken and it shows when anything substantial comes up, whether that is an internal crisis like this or a wider opportunity to intervene in society (a limit which we ran into in Madison and which we've avoided for the past three years by not doing any social intervention). There is a complete mind/body split, a disconnect between our everyday union activity like organizing, Branch events, etc, and the activity of the general union as performed by the various officers. It is an organizational schizophrenia that seems to occur no matter which officers we elect and so the cause must be something independent of the individual officers.

If I understand right, there are allegations that in Australia a survivor has been intimidated by multiple members who are supporting the assault perpetrator - is that the gist of it? As I've said I've heard next to nothing but that seems serious, I want to be very careful about what we're talking about before jumping to conclusions.

kingzog

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Emc wrote:

EDIT: I actually linked to the article I was referring to. So there shouldn't even be a question about this.

My bad. I missed the comment before the one I originally quoted with the link to the now unpublished Williams article. I was certain it wasn't in reference to the winters article(as in it wasn't accusing the winters article of being apologism!), but I forgot the name of the one which was taken down, which is why I framed it as a question. Sorry, that is confusing now that I think of it.

Also, I'd like to express my support for most of what you've written here Emc.

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This blog post discussed what happened in the Australian IWW. It was/is really complicated and "messy" (as these things often are, which then gets used to dismiss them) which makes it hard to explain all of what happened, briefly.

http://bccwords.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/misogyny-and-left-we-need-to-start.html

bounce

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And this one.

http://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/naming-names/

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These are articles I've written talking about the situation:

http://bccwords.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/misogyny-and-left-we-need-to-start.html
https://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/naming-names/
http://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/shit-just-got-real/
http://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/a-nest-of-mras-in-the-australian-iww/

And honestly, they don't even cover all the fuckedupness that went on.

This is the discussion that happened on Libcom when the harasser finally got booted from AM. He was supported by IWW members including in the US during this:
https://libcom.org/forums/news/anarchist-memes-admin-named-connection-harassment-rape-apologism-03082013

Here is an article someone else recently wrote referring to IWW members in Australia:
http://skycroeser.tumblr.com/post/57607455865/grunching-on-the-left

This is an article that was written about the rapist by someone else on the left, it's not about the rape but is an example of his previous aggressive behavior. The person who wrote it is a friend of a friend and I know that they were genuinely afraid that he would physically attack him.
http://antyphayes.blogsome.com/2012/10/21/why-i-am-not-a-scab-and-why-it-is-important-to-say-so/

Here the Australian ASF secretary talks about how he was attacked and given a punctured lung by an IWW member. This was basically part of a campaign of intimidation against an ex partner:
https://libcom.org/forums/oceania/response-sober-senses-07032013

Also re the way this thread has happened... With a couple of exceptions, I don't feel like there is enough solidarity or mutual respect here to have a real discussion. Telling someone what happened to them is irrelevant because it was in a different country, branch, whatever is a kind of aggression. So was on the other "politics of denunciation" article where I feel like I was pleading for people to view things from the POV of the victim and just being met with "I think the article still stands" type comments. I feel ganged up on by a bunch of people who are mostly silent and giving each other silent pats on the back while they silently down vote us. I don't think it really matters what I say or do. I don't think the IWW as an organisation gives a fuck about survivors. That has been my experience. It's been the experience of everyone I've ever talked to who has had this kind of thing happen.

EmC

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, I know personally at least 4 other women [aside from me and bounce] in Australia who've left due to the sexism in the group, being harassed or assaulted by IWW members. This is out of a group of max 50 people, mostly men. A whole lot of other people left because of what happened. I also know of women who've left for these reasons in the US but I can't really speak for them.

Also I don't think that experiences can be separated from policy and practice discussion. Things can look good in theory but completely fail in practice.

Also the process in the IWW was very passive aggressive. Like not bothering to respond to Bounce's email saying she was leaving the union due to being victim blamed. Things would happen like I'd be booted from an email list for no reason. I'd talk to the officer and their response would be "Oh the communications officer did that and he was democratically elected so we can't do anything to change that". And later on they'd be like "EmC got angry at me for following the democratic process" [obviously she's crazy]. This is another reason I really am pissed off with how this discussion has happened. It's basically more of the same shit.

And frankly, I apologised to Madaline because I think I said some things to her that were fucked up. It was not an admission that everything bad that happened in this thread is somehow my fault. Talking about calling me out for what I said about Juan (which I stand by unless he wants to apologise himself) in this context, as if I'm a fucking perpetrator is really gross. I'm sick of being treated like we're the ones who did the wrong thing. If your priority is dealing with sexual assault in the IWW then show it. Don't make a pre-condition for that our being put in our place cause you don't like how we brought it up.

MadalineDreyfus

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

EmC, thank you for your apology. It's big of you. These are such difficult conversations to have and I  know firsthand that they can bring up a lot of emotions. I commend  you, and Bounce, and any survivors for the courage that it takes to share your experience and I am truly sorry that people have reacted to your writing about your experience  in such a negative way. I read a lot of what you posted links to, and I actually think we agree in many ways about an approach to sexual violence (with a couple of notable points of difference). While I cannot speak for everyone in the IWW, I can reeassure you that I, and many other Wobblies I know, care deeply about survivors of sexual violence.

I appreciate that some people may disagree with some of what was written in my article. Bounce brings up the point that giving sexual assault "more time" may help this issue be treated more seriously. In my experience, most of the conversations that I have witnessed regarding sexual violence have not been useful in making the much-needed changes to our practice . Significant amounts of time are allotted for discussing these issues in a general sense, but rarely do they provide the foundation for moving forward with meaningful action. I would like to suggest that the quality of these discussions matters more than how often the issues are raised - and that therefore more time is not equivalent to treating the issues more seriously.

Instead if being informed by reasonable and practical suggestions, the conversations I have witnessed are often hijacked by social dynamics, are highly abstract and dominated with jargon which makes them inaccessible, or extend endlessly with no clear mandate for action. Often, individuals use these conversations as an opportunity to grandstand with extremist positions (such as the use of group violence against perpetrators) and  gain admiration from other comrades, instead of working toward changes which can realistically be implemented. No one act or policy can address the problem of sexual violence, but I would hope that our organization does not write off  steps toward change simply because they do not resolve the issue completely. In this way, by remaining resolutely focused on our response to a completed sexual assault (which is an important topic in it's own right), we struggle to address the patriarchal dynamics which produce a climate that is dangerous to women. Acknowledging the resource and skill limitations of the organization, to ensure we can fill those gaps by working with other agencies, is not at all the same as making excuses for inaction. 

As for the comment regarding Juan protecting me being "BS," folks should know that he was indeed speaking up for me. As EmC and Bounce have tragically experienced, survivors' voices are not always heard. I know Juan personally and I was following the thread before I first responded. I emailed Juan to say that I was upset about what had been said and that I was unsure whether to respond because I didn't have a Libcom account, so he posted something attempting to clarify my stance on the issue. As he mentioned earlier in this thread, and in personal emails to me as well, Juan was shocked by what happened in Australia and feels that the ROC should potentially have been dechartered for their lack of response to the sexual assault(s) that occurred there. He also advocated for the expulsion of those members who were involved with the harassment and sexual violence, and of officers who were complicit.  I don't think he takes a minimizing stance on sexual violence, and as far as I have known him, he has always been extremely supportive of survivors speaking up and making sure that we prioritize the well-being of those survivors - myself included. Perhaps writing on this forum has not communicated this well, the Internet can complicate communication, but I know Juan to be a principled and thoughtful activist who has taken an active role in encouraging me to write about my assault.

Sorry for the slow reply, I am currently on holiday and have limited Internet access.

Lugius

8 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

my article. Bounce brings up the point that giving sexual assault "more time" may help this issue be treated more seriously. In my experience, most of the conversations that I have witnessed regarding sexual violence have not been useful in making the much-needed changes to our practice . Significant amounts of time are allotted for discussing these issues in a general sense, but rarely do they provide the foundation for moving forward with meaningful action. I would like to suggest that the quality of these discussions matters more than how often the issues are raised - and that therefore more time is not equivalent to treating the issues more seriously.

Thank you, Madaline, for this very excellent point; the quality of the discussion is of greater value than the quantity.

Instead if being informed by reasonable and practical suggestions, the conversations I have witnessed are often hijacked by social dynamics, are highly abstract and dominated with jargon which makes them inaccessible, or extend endlessly with no clear mandate for action. Often, individuals use these conversations as an opportunity to grandstand with extremist positions (such as the use of group violence against perpetrators) and gain admiration from other comrades, instead of working toward changes which can realistically be implemented. No one act or policy can address the problem of sexual violence

Being hijacked by social dynamics is a good part of the problem here, in my view. There is no doubt that misogyny was a contributing factor to the appalling treatment of Bounce and EmC, but it doesn't fully explain the fact that there were women in the IWW supporting the perpetrators. It appears that friendship loyalties proved to be stronger than an adherence to principle.

It is natural for friends to want to stick up for each other, but it clearly is a problem insofar as the administration of justice is concerned, starting with the unqualified support for survivors. It appears that the interests of friendship circles compromised the proper administrative response; instead of a timely response to a complaint that should be the first step towards supporting a survivor.

To be fair, it should be acknowledged that when the Secretary of ASF Melbourne wrote to the Secretary of the Melbourne IWW with regard to the safety of our comrade, Bec, the response was prompt and respectful of the concerns expressed. However, when the then Secretary of the ASF Brisbane wrote to the ROC to complain about an assault by an IWW member, there was no response. This suggests that the IWW in Australia lacks a consistent process.

I think it would be helpful that there be a basic procedure applied to the reception of complaints in the case of one member against another, and in the case of a complaint from 'outside'.

In my view, I think the principle of having an appeal heard by an independent body is a good one, as happened when the issue in the Melbourne IWW was adjudicated by the Portland IWW. It addresses the issue of a just outcome.

Inevitably, members will make friendships, but meetings and other administrative functions should be conducted in a formal manner based on agreed processes regardless of personal relationships (sometimes criticised as 'too bureaucratic').

It would be a mistake to think that these important issues are to be confined to the IWW, these issues need to be given due consideration and, as Madaline has pointed out, be the subject of quality discussion.

Thanks to the enormous courage of bounce and EmC, we can (hopefully) engage in a discussion that would lead to a 'clear mandate for action'.

circleanon

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am a IWW, I am a sexual violence survivor, and have had partners that have been sexually assaulted.

The IWW - and every other group - really needs to address this issue of a strong reporting process.

As is, the lack of a strong reporting process has led to victim blaming - and also a lot of friendly fire.

Without a structure, social media condemnation of IWWs 100% opposed to sexual violence was rife.

I can't stress the need for a strong sexual violence and general reporting processes enough - Do it.