This past week, dozens of survivors have come forward to speak out about abuse, harassment, and sexual assault in the local music scene (and beyond). Their voices have joined those that have already been raising the alarm, and prominent artists, labels, and venues are now releasing statements, doing damage control, and considering next steps.
(One of the artists named is Dem Atlas, whom I worked with on a project back in 2014. While we haven’t worked together since then, I have reached out, as have others. He has yet to release a statement. The individuals he hurt deserve- and have always deserved- more than that. And while he needs to work through his accountability process, I also hope that the people he IS in community with, at Rhymesayers and beyond, are doing more to support that process than just dropping him from the label.)
There’s more to say (and much more to do), but for right now, one small action I figured I could take was just putting up a post collecting resources that have been useful to me in my work, especially for men who are authentically trying to learn more and do better.
This post is also a place to collect some of the amazing resources we’ve used and reflected on over at #WhatsGoodMan, without cluttering up people’s feeds promoting our podcast, which would just feel kind of gross. Of course, I hope that show can be useful to people; I would just rather, in this moment, promote the stuff we talk about in it without promoting the show itself, if that makes sense.
As always, these are resources that I have found useful, and are not going to speak to every audience or individual the same way. But my hope is that they can be a starting point, as men (and people of all gender identities, but especially men) set up dialogue groups, engage in critical self-reflection, and reach out to each other.
1. A potential starting point
For men, whether we’re perpetrators, bystanders, enablers, survivors ourselves, and/or just trying to learn more about masculinity’s connection to violence (and what to do about it), please read adrienne maree brown’s “Relinquishing the Patriarchy.” Of all the recommended links here, that’s the one I’ve shared the most with men in my life offline, gained the most from processing through conversation, and continue returning to.
2. Readings/videos on masculinity
Men aren’t the only perpetrators of gender violence, men can be victims too, and it’s important to think about gender violence beyond the binary. But all of that being said, thinking critically about men and masculinity is a still a crucial part of the overall work of ending gender violence.
- A Call to Men: Tony Porter
- Violence Against Women—It’s a Men’s Issue: Jackson Katz
- What is Toxic Masculinity? Ted Bunch
- Against Me(n): Eric Mata
- Teaching Positive Masculinity: Natascha Yogachandra
- Reflection idea: Considering these links, plus the already-mentioned “Relinquishing the Patriarchy,” ask: where do I see myself? Is it possible to zoom in from the general “I need to do better” to more specific aspects of my behavior and thought process that I can work on?
3. Readings/videos on consent and rape culture
It’s vital to make the connection between overt/explicit acts of sexual violence and the larger culture that creates space for those acts. Gender violence isn’t just something a tiny handful of “bad” people do; as men, and/or as people with power, and/or as leaders of institutions- we have to see how our habits, actions, and inaction create space for that violence, even when we aren’t the perpetrators.
- The Rape Culture Pyramid image and commentary
- Roxane Gay’s “Dear Men: It’s You, Too”
- Planned Parenthood’s “All About Consent” and and NYU students’ “Let’s Talk About Consent” videos
- Hollaback!’s bystander intervention resources (and also this guide to cop-free bystander intervention from Project NIA).
- The Aurora Center’s guide to supporting survivors and KnowYourIX’s Supporting a Survivor: The Basics
- “How Do We Build a Culture of Consent?” zine + another Reflection idea: this zine is general, but can be applied to specific spaces and situations (like a record label, venue, publication, crew, etc.). Using the same “individual/interpersonal/institutional” framework, make a list of some specific actions you can take, habits you can break, and commitments you can make- at each level.
4. Readings/videos on accountability, apology, and transformative justice
This is a complex, dynamic field of study, but these links can hopefully be useful intros and starting points.
- Mia Mingus’ “How to Give a Good Apology” and “Dreaming Accountability”
- Barnard Center for Research on Women’s “Building Accountable Communities Project”
- Kyra and Malcolm London’s Accountability Process
- “Dealing With Our Shit” Collective’s Zine
- How To Survive The End of The World episodes on Transformative Justice (1 and 2)
- Transform Harm is a resource I’ve been referring people to a lot lately in the context of prisons/police abolition. But that site is also an absolutely vital resource for this conversation too, which shows how connected these two issues are. For example, check out “Taking the First Step: Suggestions for People Called Out for Abusive Behavior” (many other great links there too).
5. Specific Resources for Parties, Venues, and Festivals
As concerts begin to start happening again, some resources and/or examples of how other communities are striving to create safer spaces
- The Safe Party Toolkit and other resources by The Safe OUTside the System (SOS) Collective: an anti-violence program led by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non Conforming people of color
- Calling All Crows’ Sexual Violence Prevention Online Training geared toward music industry professionals.
- OUR MUSIC MY BODY is “a collaborative campaign led by Between Friends and Resilience to raise awareness about sexual harassment in the music scene. We do this work because we believe everyone deserves to feel comfortable and safe when they go to a concert or festival. Our Music My Body works with festival and venue staff, musicians, and music fans alike to create fun and consensual music experiences for all.”
- A “safer spaces” guide for venues and event organizers
- (added November 2021): The Show Up Collective in Minneapolis
I know a big wall of text here will be intimidating, but this is partly a recommended reading list and partly a statement that there has already been so much work done, often incredibly rigorous and difficult work, often by women, often by Black women and women of color, that we can turn to for education.
- Know My Name (Chanel Miller)
- Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (ed. Roxane Gay)
- Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood (Carlos Andrés Gómez)
- Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (bell hooks)
- The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (bell hooks)
- The Man They Wanted Me to Be (Jared Yates Sexton)
- Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (ed. Ejeris Dixon & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha)
- Fumbling Towards Repair: A Workbook for Community Accountability Facilitators (Mariame Kaba & Shira Hassan)
- Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (ed. Friedman and Valenti)
- Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement (ed. Patterson)
- The Hunting Ground: The Inside Story of Sexual Assault on American College Campuses (Documentary and Book)
- The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America (Sarah Deer)
- Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–and What We Can Do about It (Kate Harding)
- Ask: Building Consent Culture (ed. Stryker)
- Not On My Watch: A Handbook for the Prevention of Sexual Violence (Isabella Rotman)
And more. And more.
One other note, especially for educators and facilitators: I’ve put together a couple other posts focusing on POEMS that can be introductions to these kinds of conversations: one on masculinity and violence, and one on consent and rape culture.
As I always say in these resource-sharing posts, reading and having conversations isn’t everything that needs to happen. But it still needs to happen. If you have other resources, please feel free to share.