A lot of people lately have been asking me what I think accountability is. I have recently been trying to demand accountability from two people who are assaulters. One of them is an ex-good friend of mine, who was totally clueless about the fact that he assaulted someone - he thought it was consentual but was totally willing to accept the survivors experience. I don't think that in his heart he really sees himself as a perpetraitor though.
I think everyone needs to hold perpetraitors accountable, and that if the person isn't doing serious, ongoing work to learn and change, that they need to go to counciling. Friends who are trying to help rehabilitate the perpetraitor need to consistantly demand that they go to counciling.
In a couple instances lately, perpatrators I have known have gone to counciling that was specifically for rehabiliting perpatrators, and these councilors usually deal with people who have been court ordered to go there. I wish these worked, but I feel like these councilors have downplayed the importance of more subtle forms of abuse and consent, and have made the perpatrators feel like what they did was no big deal.
I have gotten a lot of criticism about the tactic of ostricizing perpetraitors from communities, and a lot of talk about how the perpetraitor is not going to change if people aren't staying friends with them. I believe that ostricization is a powerful tool. I believe that people are capable of making fundamental changes in themselves, but I have seen over and over again that many people are not willing to make these changes until their lives become too fucking uncompfortable for them to avoid dealing with it. Ostricization makes people uncomfortable. Friends of the perpetrator who believe that they can help the perpetraitor change need to be consist and active in pushing for accountability and change. there is a fine line between being an enabler and helping someone change.
I expect friends to make demands on the perpetraitor, to talk to the people in the larger community about what they are doing, what progress is being made, and to ask the larger community what expectations and demands they have.
I have also heard a lot of talk about "what is community", and how we don't really have one so how can anyone be held accountable. I think this is bullshit. Community doesn't have to be super tangeble to be real. If you work with someone, if you go to the same places as them (shows, coffee shops), if you live in the same neighborhood or town or even city, all those things count. Community accountability is about breaking out of the "none of my business" mentality that has allowed abuse to happen and contiuing happening. It is all of our responsibilities to speak out and stop abuse.