portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

community building | gender & sexuality

An Apology for my Pattern of Sexual Assault

A public declaration of my commitment to ending sexual violence.
Dear Friends and Community,

I am swirling with feelings of deep embarrassment, impatience, and incredible anger at myself. I have committed an act of gendered violence, yet again. This time, it appears that I touched another woman nonconsensually while she was sleeping. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly "out myself" as a chronic perpetrator of sexual assault and emotional abuse.

I have struggled to manage my assaultive behavior for the last 8 years. It is common practice for me to find coercive ways to get my sexual and emotional needs met through control and manipulation. Furthermore, I have a pattern of nonconsensually touching female-bodied comrades while they sleep. Since 2005, I had been asked to publicly acknowledge my violent pattern of behavior. I have been involved in a number of failed accountability processes and, ultimately, I chose not to remain accountable to demands that were developed in order for me to educate myself and also bring some form of resolve to the survivors of my abuse.

To state it clearly: I have a problem understanding that women, just like men, have boundaries that I need to hold as sacred.

Moving forward, I would like to take this opportunity to be transparent about my intentions. The following is a list of agreements that I have made with myself. I ask you to support me in enforcing these agreements:


1) SOBRIETY
After taking the time out to consider how alcohol and drugs have influenced my already problematic behavior, I have decided to never use again.

2) HONESTY
I will stop pretending to forget the events of my perpetration. In the past, I have been known to deny any remembrance of abuse that took place when confronted about the fact that I use power and control tactics on others. I intend to work against my frequent efforts to avoid honest discussion.

3) ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I will stop manipulating the language of trauma. As a defense mechanism, I have placed blame on sexual partners when they ask for acknowledgment from me regarding my abuse. I have now moved on from this behavior.

4) REFLECTION
I will stop solidarity organizing and will instead prioritize stopping my pattern of abuse as my sole organizing project. I acknowledge that my decision to participate in the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement was counterproductive, as I was doing this work while being an admitted abuser. I now view my actions, as well as my friends' enabling behavior, as causing disorganization and harm to the movement. I will not organize any direct actions in the Bay Area or elsewhere. I will no longer attend radical events and meetings.

5) COMMUNICATION
I will encourage others to bring my assault history out of the dark and discuss it openly so that we can all learn from the ways that my lack of accountability has affected my local networks and larger political coalitions. Please do not read, nor distribute any writings that I have helped to create.

6) CELIBACY
I will refrain from any and all sexual activity, including kissing and suggestive touching.

*****

I want to take a moment to formally thank all of the people who have had my back throughout the last few years and who continued organizing with me, even after I admitted to having a problem assaulting women. While I appreciate all the support you have given me, it is obvious that the only recourse I have left is to go public about my history of abusive behavior as a first step in my own process of self-recovery. Indeed, it is time we all start owning up to the ways our patriarchal behaviors cripple our movements and wound our communities.

In closing, I hope this letter has not put you in some kind of unfortunate position. There were many times that I've faltered off course, avoided tough decisions, and lost track of things—made worse by cashing in on the privilege of forgetting. I'm faltering now, which is why I have made a commitment to myself and to community to change. Now that I have come to terms with my issues around heteropatriarchy, it is time we all do. I encourage you to spread the information within this letter far and wide.

Thank you for taking the time to read this... and with love,
billy no good
September 2011