As part of my research for my Breaking Silence Class, I came across two resources that seemed very promising. The first is INCITE’s resources for community organizing and violence prevention. INCITE is an organization of women, gender non-conforming, and trans* people of color who are working to prevent violence in their communities. I haven’t had the chance yet to look through all of the resources on this site, but they look really interesting and robust.
The second is the Creative Interventions Toolkit which, according to the website is a comprehensive Toolkit for anyone interested in carrying out a community-based intervention to violence.
I posted a link to the toolkit on NCSF’s Consent Counts Fetlife thread, essentially asking if we could adapt some of these too,s to fit the needs of kink communities big and/or small. I got some interesting responses. (I will not be quoting directly from what others posted, as I do not have their consent to do so.) A couple of people were very grateful to have a resource, as they were in the midst of dealing with an issue in their community.
One commenter thought the resource had potential as a violence recovery program, but saw some major flaws in it as a tool for mediation.
A lot of people either dismissed the toolkit outright or had very strong negative reactions to the toolkit. Perhaps it was how I framed the conversation, but there was a concern that this would turn into an easily abused form of self-policing, and that such issues should be left to the legal system. Others likened the tool to a “Kangaroo Court”, where the cool kids would essentially call the shots in terms of who stays and who goes. It kind of struck me as funny that this is exactly what these tools are designed to combat. Whenever there is an accusation of wrongdoing, community and event organizers find themselves in a position of having to do investigations that they are just not qualified to do. What ends up happening is that all parties involved get shunned.
While it is definitely important to get the authorities involved when need be, the system is designed to be punitive. It determines innocence and guilt, and fails all too often. What it does not do is heal rifts in relationships and communities. That’s more what I’m concerned with… How can we find systems that promote healing and safety without immediately resorting to shunning.
Maybe I am asking for something impossible, but I want to be optimistic. Surprisingly, my years in social work have yet to beat that out me.