Topic of the Week: Responses to Intimate Violence
Intimate violence is something that occurs within any community, and among anarchists in general there has been a long running attempt to define and resolve it in a way that is supposed to reflect our politics. Tools such as call-outs and accountability processes were adopted and developed with the intent of countering a culture in which intimate violence is denied, hidden, or thrown back at the person claiming to have been wronged. In their better forms, these practices contextualized intimate violence as not just a bad thing that some bad individuals do but in part the product of social roles we occupy aimed to create a more holistic culture in which those classified as abused and abuser would emerge from their experience better with the participation and support of the larger community.
Unfortunately, the actual practices around these ideas have often fallen far short of that vision, if they had it to begin with. Writings such as The Broken Teapot, For Your Safety and Security…, and The Politics of Denunciation among others have detailed ways in which certain popular practices of safe space and accountability have created eternal victims (the abused) and sinners (the abuser), social contexts in which narratives around abuse have to meet certain rhetorical and moral criteria to be honored at all, and a concept of justice that looks an awful lot like that of society in general. The failure of accountability and the toxic culture around it has been especially evident to me as things I have witnessed firsthand.
If we consider that intimate violence is still an issue relevant for anarchists to deal with, where does this leave us? What are your experiences with responses to intimate violence among anarchists or as an anarchist among non-anarchists? What’s a response to this issue that’s in line with your concept of anarchy?