Over the course of several years and through direct experiences, Support New York developed a curriculum for engaging someone who has perpetuated harm in an accountability process. These processes address issues related to intimate partner and sexual violence from a d.i.y., anti-authoritarian perspective, and (in tandem with any specific requests made by the survivor) is intended to help perpetuators of violence examine harmful behaviors and take responsibility for transforming them. We are not experts or professionals, and our curriculum has been designed as an educational tool mostly to address patterns of consent violations, incidents of sexual assault, and verbal, emotional, and/or psychological intimate partner abuse. Since we’ve not done processes where child abuse or death of the survivor were the results of violence, it’s unclear if this process would be suitable to address those kinds of harm.
The curriculum includes 8 sections: Introductions & Trust Building; Power, Control, & Entitlement; Gender, Privilege, Socialization, and Sexuality; Physical Boundaries – Conscious and Consensual Touch; Survivor Empathy & Experience; Communication; Accountability; and Relationship & Group Dynamics. Because the readings only address these issues on a cerebral level, we’ve also made an attempt to incorporate more holistic learning by adding some somatic and journaling activities to impact on a physical and emotional level. The somatic activities have been drawn from Support New York members’ experience taking classes with Staci Haines, the developer of generative somatics, as well as other sources.
The content includes topics that we’ve found to have had the most impact over the years, but we recognize that it’s not necessarily an exact path for everyone to follow. This curriculum is meant to be flexible and can be reformatted to meet the specific needs of each survivor and each accountability process. Whatever the context, our accountability processes are intended to be shaped first and foremost by the survivor’s needs, and we check in with the survivor as the process unfolds.
The entire process is intended to last about a year and a half, but it depends on the frequency of meetings. Support New York generally meets every two weeks and each section usually lasts two sessions over a month.