Community accountability

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Community accountability describes strategies that focus directly on addressing violence and transforming the conditions that create oppression and harm; implementing anti-oppression education, fostering relationships built on mutual aid, and nurturing a culture of collective responsibility to provide safety and support for both survivors of harm and those who cause harm -Rania El Mugammar, adapted by Michelle Xie [1]

Philly Stands Up! Collective on 5 phases of the accountability process [2]

1. The beginning

  • Choose a pair of people other than the harmed and the person who did the harm to provide support and facilitate the accountability process.
  • Assess the situation and schedule a meet up with the person who caused harm.

2. Designing the process

  • Make a list of demands with the person who was harmed. I.e. 'if they see me somewhere it's their responsibility to leave the premises', 'they are not to contact me personally, ever' etc.
  • Involve the person who was harmed in designing the process, including objectives, timeline, tactics.
  • Engage the person who caused harm in a way that works for them (i.e. a meeting online? On a walk? Doing a reading or watching a recording?) Set ground rules w the person so you can hold them accountable if they fail a commitment (i.e. arriving on time or giving notice otherwise, no name calling etc).

3. Life structure

  • Give the person who caused harm space at each meeting to do a 'check in'; hurdles in their daily lives, emotional state, logistic hurdles, progress made. Provide support where possible.

4. Tools used

  • Ask to hear stories, encourage discussion. These can help push for new ways of understanding and rewriting narratives that prevent people from taking full responsibility for their actions.
  • Use writing to record instances of abuse, log times they feel angry or frustrated, or to journal about how the accountability process is going.
  • Role-playing call help build skills of perception, try new behaviours and understand past ones.
  • Refer to film, lectures, podcasts etc. on relevant issues at play

5. Closing the process

  • When the demands have been met according to the person who was harmed, the process can close
  • The person who did the harm should have sustainable systems of support available moving forward
  • Space out meetings more gradually (i.e. meeting every 2 weeks, every month, then every 2 months etc. until meetings are no longer needed).

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