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Zine Week Day 3: A Stand Up Start-Up: Confronting Sexual Assault with Transformative Justice by Philly Stands Up

May 18, 2011

Last month I talked a little bit about transformative justice and the dope workshop that folks from the Philly Stands UP collective offered here in Oakland. This zine is one I picked up at that workshop: kind of like a primer for the PSU model.

There’s a lot I like about this zine.  Its unpretentious candor.  The ways it contextualizes itself, pointing to overlapping work that others are doing. (The final chapter is an excerpt from Color of Violence: the INCITE! Anthology.) The way it foregrounds survivor support in its Points of Unity:

We are a group that survivors can come to for help and support.  We will always support survivors and ensure survivor autonomy, where they will always be in control of how a situation is dealt with.

. . .

We do not support the prison system as a viable means of rehabilitation for perpetrators, but we will always support a survivor’s wishes and engage the legal system on any level necessary.

I appreciate that PSU kills hope for easy answers, instead acknowledging and engaging complexity and struggle, as Em Squires describes in “Grounding Our Work”:

We do not have a magic “perpetrator-free” stamp that absolves someone from whatever pain they have caused another person or community; we work to build an honest and accountable space with perpetrators. This demands a good-faith effort from both directions. I have friends who upon finding out the subject of my Sunday night meetings, are like, “What the fuck are you doing? why perpetrators? none of those programs ever work.” Valid response. But PSU isn’t a program. No one is more aware than we are that we can’t work with every perpetrator. In some cases, perpetrators are also survivors of other situations. We try to see the whole person and the whole situation, however complex, and remain aware of our limitations.

This last bit, about honoring our limitations, speaks to an intentional dynamic that I especially appreciate about PSU, which is that the collective (remember, these are non-professional volunteers) commits to taking care of one another, supporting each other in respecting every person’s emotional boundaries, and actively validating people’s self-care and inter-care as a vital part of the work. In the chapter “Self Care NOW!: Sustaining Ourselves, Sustaining Each Other,” Jenna Peters-Golden lay out some of the structural, organizational, and individual ways that people endeavor to nurture themselves and one another. These include having a non-crisis framework; rotating responsibilities; doing internal anti-oppression work; making it a semi-closed group; and “Fun-Times.”  :)

For this zine, other PSU writings, and more resources, venture yonder to their web site.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lea permalink
    May 19, 2011 12:56 pm

    whoa, downloaded and printed lickety split! looking forward to reading and discussing with you my dear! thank you for posting, as always.

  2. May 19, 2011 2:11 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait to walk and talk with you when you visit. love love immense amounts of love

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