UBUNTU’s Points of Agreement

8 03 2007

1. We envision a world without sexual violence, and we work persistently to bring that vision into being. We recognize the roots of sexual violence to be pervasive and deep, and therefore recognize our work to be a steady, long-term effort to remove these roots from our societies, and from within our own hearts.

2. Although our work is long-term, it is also urgent and immediate. We see providing immediate support for individual survivors and longer-term social transformation as interrelated and mutually-strengthening types of work. To resist, we must heal; to heal, we must resist.

3. Survivors will create the path forward. In resisting violence, homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, and capitalism, survivors of oppression have the power to generate the vision for all of us to follow. Survivors have a right to decide how their safety will be protected; within this group that includes an agreement that disclosures of responsibility for acts of sexual violence will not occur within general meetings. We work to keep the voices of survivors of sexual violence, women of color, young people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender people central. We are not waiting for leaders—we are each of us leaders and we are stepping up to the charge of building a world without sexual violence.

4. Sexual violence occurs in a culture sick with white supremacy and racism; heterosexism and homophobia; patriarchy, sexism, and transphobia; and poverty and capitalism. These systems all interact and overlap to create a culture of violence that must be changed. We must dismantle these systems and work to prevent violence if we hope to end it.

5. Sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor. Our culture blames survivors of sexual assault for alcohol and drug use, for their occupations, their moral choices, their decision-making, and the intensity of their struggle in the moment of their assault. We reject these assertions. Sexual violence is always the responsibility of the person who committed the violence.

6. Sexual violence happens every day, in every community. Women are its primary targets, but transgender people and men experience rampant sexual violence worldwide, mostly at the hands of non-trans men. Sexual violence is perpetuated by silence. We will name sexual violence for what it is, whatever the identities of those who commit such acts and the survivors of them. We will not be silent.

7. Real justice comes through healthy communities wherein members are accountable to one another and take one another seriously—not through police and prisons. Many of the injuries that accompany, perpetuate, foster, or stop just short of what is legally defined as sexual assault are not deemed as injuries in the eyes of the legal system of the United States. These injuries include psychological and emotional damages to survivors, to the survivors of all trauma, to the communities of which survivors are a part, and fear and intimidation stemming from even the threat of violence. The legal system is ill-prepared to work for actual justice, and it will never be an institution that can promote healing. We believe justice can only come about when people are held accountable to the community, not just to the letter of the law. While we support survivors in seeking assistance and legal remedy through the court system if they desire to do so, our work will not wait on or be silenced by legal processes.

8. We will fight for accountability for those who have committed acts of sexual violence and/or coercion, reparations to survivors and their communities, and a renewed focus on creating spaces for healing and the prevention of racial and sexual violence. A sustaining, transformative love is always at the center of our work.

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