Tales of Abuse: Activists, Organizers, Artists, and more…

It’s not just me. It’s not just you.

It (abuse, manipulation, abuse of power, etc.) is happening in Brooklyn, New York and other cities around the world. The article below from City Paper just happens to focus on the art scene in Baltimore.

These type of men are abusive and use very similar tactics — in organizing, artists, healing, spiritual, and social justice circles — AND too many people stay silent.

When we speak out and set boundaries around pretty much any matter to protect ourselves we are challenged, questioned, ignored, or attacked (physically, professionally, emotionally).

It’s time to start speaking up, telling our truths and taking back our power.

“People ponder what can be done to stop enabling abusive behavior, to make our scenes safer, but still the scene is the same. The names of abusers continue to appear on lineups at shows, on the boards of nonprofits, in press releases announcing award and grant recipients, in directorial positions at institutions with growing clout.

“Artist communities are prime territory for misogyny and abusive behavior in ways that are reflected in the rest of society but persist through avenues that are in some ways more navigable here. Because these communities exist under the guise of the avant-garde or even activism—ostensibly freed from the ties that bind society at large—patterns of sexism, racism, trans/homophobia, and abuse regularly go on unchecked:”

““In the beginning, he talked with me about his past failed relationships, and his addictions. While he sort of admitted to cheating and lying to previous partners (he called it failed polyamory—a classic misogynist tactic), he never mentioned the physical abuse or stalking. At times, he seemed to be really attempting to be a better person, at least when we talked about his ‘ex’ and our relationship together. But, agreeing to have a relationship with someone half his age (me), and who he then hired as an employee, was probably not ‘the next right thing’ for his newfound desire to improve on past slimy/grimy behavior. He eventually became verbally abusive toward me and discouraged me from getting mental health treatment when I really needed it.”

“Whether or not this is an abuse of a person, it is certainly an abuse of power.”

“Their relationship hit the ground running, in ways that Wanda says felt enthralling at first, though retelling it now, she views his early intense affection as manipulation. He toyed with the definitions and boundaries of their relationship constantly—pulling her in and pushing her away, telling her he loved her and then not talking to her for days. If she expressed discomfort with any of that she says she would “get kinda punished for it,” or he’d give her the silent treatment.”

“The art scene has no structures to keep harassment in check—no HR rep; no union, in most cases; no established, accepted, and enforced code of conduct. For people like this artist, there is no clear or secure course of action for dealing with workplace harassment.

All this is just scratching the surface of what people face in coming forward about mistreatment and abuse. Describing abuse can be re-traumatizing, and again, fear of physical or legal retaliation is not unwarranted.

But still, at a certain point the feeling of isolation, the inability to freely participate in the community, and the fear that an abuser will continue to abuse others outweighs the risks.

And so, survivors speak up.”

SOME PEOPLE SHY away from taking a stand because they say they don’t want to meddle in people’s personal situations; it’s none of their business. Within the arts community, that response is fraught.

“To say that it is their personal life and that has nothing to do with their capacity as an authority in the art community is preposterous because there are people who can’t work in their space, and also any festivals or spaces that they’re affiliated with, and also people that enable their behavior,” says Ferrera.”

Quotes from “Abuse and Accountability in the Arts Scene: A Reckoning” By Maura Callahan and Rebekah Kirkman | Illustrations by Kirsty Hambrick

You can read the article in full at http://www.citypaper.com/bcpnews-abuse-and-accountability-in-the-arts-scene-a-reckoning-20170822-htmlstory.html


Internalized Misogynoir, Misogyny and Sexism

Misogynoir is a word used to describe how racism and anti-Blackness alter the experience of misogyny for Black women, specifically. It alludes to specifically Black women’s experiences with gender and how both racism and anti-Blackness alters that experience diametrically from White women (as anti-Blackness and White supremacy make White women the “norm” in terms of intersectional experiences with gender, even as solely via gender, misogyny harms all women) and differently from non-Black women of colour (as though they face racism, the dehumanization associated with anti-Blackness is more than racism or sexualized objectification alone, but speaks to the history of Black bodies and lives treated as those of non-persons).  I recently saw a thread of false information and non-Black women of colour co-opting to erase Black womanhood, Black women’s experiences and Black women’s epistemology from the concept of misogynoir. Again, the origin is in Black womanhood and the term was coined by a queer Black woman, Moya Bailey. (If anyone says it was coined by me, Trudy, or my blog Gradient Lair, they’re incorrect.)” Via http://www.gradientlair.com/post/84107309247/define-misogynoir-anti-black-misogyny-moya-bailey-coined

“The giver of Misogynoir can range from the “educated hotep”, all the way to your favorite white feminist. It’s exemplified in a Black man’s ability to praise Malcolm X yet in the same breath shame Korryn Gaines. It’s society’s shaming of Black women for their “attitude”, yet labeling that same behavior as sass in a Latina woman.” Via http://www.lasmorenasdeespana.com/blog/what-is-misogynoir

“Silence, Ignorance, Resistance and Denial: The Black Community’s Refusal to Acknowledge and Address Misogynoir Against Black Women and Girls”:

The So-called Black Community is silent, resistant, and in denial about the truth and dangers of misogynoir. Try and talk about it and many Negroes are either silent, ignorant, resist or deny. Then comes derailments and deflections. Many Black People believe that sexism and misogyny is not a problem in the Black American Community and the African Diaspora in general. It’s very sad (and frighting) how many Black People walk around as if it is not a MAJOR problem while many Black Women and Girls are suffering in silence physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually because of it .” Via https://tiredsista.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/silence-ignorance-resistance-and-denial-the-black-communitys-refusal-to-acknowledge-and-address-misogynoir-against-black-women-and-girls/