The Letter Of Recommendations

Hello Andy, June 28, 2010

As members of the camp community at large, the FAWC Organizing Cell is writing to request your participation in a process of potential transformation and healing for all of us. This letter is written after much truthful and compassionate conversation about how to characterize our observations regarding the ongoing nature of conflicts that continue to arise owing to your choices. During your tenure as an organizer and as a participant at Free Activist Witch Camp, we have observed you to exhibit a pattern of power-over behaviors that range, in our opinion, from incidental to egregious, and characterized as boundary violations. These boundary violations have been enacted with regards to specific individuals and also among groups, and both within and without ritual and other sacred spaces. On multiple occasions, members of the FAWC community have initiated various kinds of processes to address this spectrum of behaviors – listening circles, an elder's council, a mentorship with two other Reclaiming facilitators, a restorative justice framework, direct communication, and a consensus minus one. It would appear that, although these processes were undertaken with authentic intent by all the participants, the cumulative outcome has not shifted your pattern of behaviors, according to our collective experiential assessment.

Based on a set of actions you chose in a ritual in our 2009 camp, and that were revealed to the organizing body as having caused damage and distress, we believe that the fundamental issues of predatory, power-over behaviors remain an active part of your relating to others, in particular to and with female-bodied people. By your own design, the FAWC community was founded on principles to examine, dismantle, and transform the poisonous acts and beliefs of oppression surrounding us in the dominant paradigm, while nourishing our magical spirits and building our toolbox. We, the organizing cell, therefore recommend the following healing path for you in order to set a standard of appropriate accountability.

So in this letter we offer a framework to clearly state our needs about accountability. We are calling it the "getting to there" framework and what that means to us is this:
Where you are now, with respect to your patterns of behavior, is not a place from which FAWC Organizers are going to engage with you about camp organizing or camp as an event. We are asking you to move from where you are, to somewhere else.

“GETTING TO THERE” FRAMEWORK:
We believe that to "get there", the following objectives are the framework to support demonstrable behavioral change.

1. You initiate and commit to a path of a diversified education on the feminist perspectives of oppressions with specific attention to hetero-patriarchy, the spectrums of interpersonal violence and the journey of survivors healing from trauma.

2. You integrate this new information by proactively engaging in self-reflection on your own behavior choices and invite community feedback and reflection on your behavior.
3. You change your behavior to model healthy, supportive, anti-oppressive relationships. This change in behavior would also include a process for making amends to the people / communities in your life who’ve been affected by your behavior choices.

The FAWC Organizing Cell has consensed upon the following Recommendation:

Your voluntary and self-initiated enrollment in a Batterers’ Intervention Program*. (This is not to be confused with or substituted for Anger Management Classes.) This Intervention program will typically run for 30-52 weeks in group sessions with other men** who are either court mandated to attend, or who volunteer to make a change in their behavior. This is group therapy, and not a single training or workshop, in which the therapist determines when you are done based on your progression through participation.

*A note about Language: While the program we recommend is called a “Batterers’ Intervention Program”, we recognize this language as stigmatizing and othering. Our intention for initiating this is, again, transformation, and not shame. We will therefore refer to this program in our process with all other parties as an “Interpersonal Violence Abuse Intervention Program”, and for short, the Intervention Program.

**We acknowledge that while all people of all genders have the potential for power-over and abusive behaviors, the program is primarily focused on men’s violence towards women, because men’s violence towards women is historical, pervasive and culturally normative within the context of patriarchy, and because we believe that your pattern of power over behavior is within this same context.

We also recognize that participating in an intervention program for people who abuse costs money (anywhere from $30 – 60 per session). We ask that you choose to redirect some of your funds to this project as if you would choose to save for participating in a Witch Camp or summit mobilization. We believe the monetary cost is well worth the community safety and your personal advancement. We believe that this Intervention Program will offer you a context for understanding patterns of power-over behavior and how to potentially shift them.

The details of the Recommendation are as follows:

1. You will solicit support from two (2) individuals who can act as sponsors for your engagement in the above program. The sponsors should have an understanding of one or more of the following types of programs: Batterers’ Intervention, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Drug and Alcohol Dependency Therapy. The two sponsors must have an understanding of energetics, or the moving, sensing and using of energy, though do not need to be in the Reclaiming or Pagan communities. Neither of these sponsors should be personal friends or current or former confidantes. Once you have made contact with these individuals, a member of the FAWC Organizing Cell will need to make contact with each of these sponsors and you will be responsible for providing their contact information.

2. Upon a completion of the Interpersonal Violence Abuse Intervention Program, we request that you offer volunteer service to an organization that works to serve survivors and to end interpersonal violence in your community. This can include, but is not limited to, a crisis line for domestic and sexual assault survivors, a community justice center that provides survivors of violence with advocacy and access to tools of the justice system, or a grassroots organization that supports survivors and holds perpetrators accountable. We ask that you offer your skills and privilege in a role of support and sustainability. That could include offering weekly janitorial or maintenance services, grounds support, office support, day of event volunteering, supporting the volunteer coordinator to strengthen the volunteer program, soliciting donations for fundraisers, running errands, etc. We believe that attending a volunteer service training will offer exposure to a feminist analysis of power-over and privilege that would complement and evolve within the context of what would be offered in the Intervention Program.

We ask that while you offer your skills to a local organization, you avoid stepping into a leadership or direct service role. In this case, leadership would be coordinating events or activities, facilitating trainings, joining the board of directors, or offering guidance to the organization for structure, fundraising, personnel, or programming. It also includes directing other volunteers, staff, or donors to take action. Direct service refers to any direct contact with survivors of violence, including but not limited to, providing information and referrals for support services, facilitating support group, volunteering in a residential shelter, answering the crisis line, etc.

This term of service for volunteering should last 1 year (12 months) at a consistency of 12 hours per month – a typical expected volunteer tenure at this type of organization. We ask that you declare your group of choice to the FAWC Organizing Cell Representative at the start of your volunteering.

3. We recommend that you have at least a monthly check in with your sponsors for the duration of this process. The FAWC Organizing Cell Representative(s) will be in contact with your sponsors on at least a quarterly basis.

Additionally,

We are open to the possibility that there may be many other avenues of healing, transformation, and definitive shifts in behavior that might allow you to return to camp at a later date other than the Intervention Program/ Sponsorship / Volunteer Service Recommendation outlined above. However, finding these other avenues and providing clear and convincing evidence that they meet the same needs of the FAWC organizing cell for you to "get there", that the aforementioned recommendation does, would be completely up to you; we will not assist in the manifestation of any process of reconciliation other than the one recommended above, because we crafted this Recommendation specifically for you. We do not necessarily suggest taking your own path; we merely offer it as a recognition that you must be both a full actor in your own healing, as well as, a complete collaborator with the FAWC Organizing Cell in this healing process in order for it to be meaningful. The FAWC Organizing Cell will engage in an evaluation process with you to ascertain any transformation in your behaviors and understanding of interpersonal violence before any consideration of your re-entry to camp can happen.

You are, of course, at choice in this process.

What you can expect from the FAWC Community:

We are offering a dedicated and consistent attempt to establish boundaries that serve the needs of the community, including your own. The specific boundary that we choose to set now is to deny your admittance to FAWC 2010. Your potential admittance to FAWC 2011 is provisional upon your ability to prove that you are "getting there" and you can expect that we will necessarily craft a way to explore where you find yourself at that point in time.

In an effort for transparency and increased synergy for transformation, the FAWC Organizing Cell will publish a communication to the those listed below, to make them aware of this process, our lengthy history of engaging in process with you around these behaviors, and to ask their support of you and our camp to foster a culture of liberation and healing from violence, as well as accountability to our comrades.

We intend to post to the following places:

Witch Camp Council List
FAWC Social List
Starhawk

You may also expect a period of time between your receiving this letter and the letter of public disclosure, in which you will have an opportunity to have private conversation with the Organizing Cell. This period of time is offered for you to respond to our request and to also offer answers to the questions we ask about including any of your response in our public communication.

In the event that you deny this request, in part or in whole, the FAWC Organizing Cell will also make this refusal public knowledge to these recipients.

Also,
There may also be FAWC organizers who will volunteer to be support people for you, if you should choose. They would be independent of and in relation to FAWC. This may occur/change once we have had the chance to engage in FAWC internal conversation about this potential. There are two people who will be willing to act as liaisons as members of the FAWC Cell and should you choose to utilize them, the FAWC Cell will make decisions about how that would proceed in a way that serves the process.

We ask that you respond to the following questions, within the time frame we request. We may include, all or portions of, your replies in the public communication that we intend to initiate.

1. Is there anything specific regarding any of your previous conflict exploration processes with FAWC that you wish to comment upon?

2. Do you acknowledge and abide by our boundary to not have you at camp 2010?

3. Do you agree to communicate with us solely through our catalystworkinggroup email given below?

Please write to:
moc.hsuh|puorggnikrowtsylatac#moc.hsuh|puorggnikrowtsylatac

The framework for negotiating this process:

This process has been designed by a workgroup of FAWC organizers who have formed as a subgroup of the Wellness Culture working group, and are called the Catalyst working group. While we recognize that this work is never complete, we have created space for your autonomous action within the frame of this structured endeavor. We are choosing to see your presence, choices and behaviors as catalyzing new and evolving cultural responses, that are outside of and beyond the dominant culture paradigm. We are choosing to do this work with the expectation that it will become broadly applicable in this time of change.

To Close:
Andy,
Our goal is to grow a community of activist witches that adhere to a philosophy of liberation and healing, and who will work to end oppression within ourselves and within each other. We are not attempting to shame, humiliate or exile you. We choose to hold you accountable for your behavior and challenge you to change it and yourself. We recommend this process structure in love, support, and great care for you, the people you have hurt, and all the creatures and spirits in our alliance. We hope you utilize this opportunity as a source in the great well of healing, as we believe it can be.

The 2010 FAWC Organizing Cell:
rain, Barbara, Joel, Ross, Song, Pavini, Glimmer, Bird, JP Hartsong, Riyana, Sidria, Steph, Amara

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