A Brief Introduction
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) believes in the possibility of a world where all people live in freedom, peace, and abundance. We often refer to this as “collective liberation”– a world in which all people are able to live free from institutionalized harm and achieve their full potential. That world does not yet exist, and SURJ’s work, as part of a broader multiracial movement, is to undermine white support for white supremacy, helping to build a racially-just society.
One of the ways that white supremacy and other systems of domination continue is through intimate and sexual harm. By intimate and sexual harm, we mean domestic violence or intimate-partner violence that takes place within a past or present intimate relationship such as marriage, domestic partnership, dating; and sexual violence that includes unwanted sexual touch, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, molestation, or child sexual abuse. When intimate and sexual harm occur in our movements, survivors are often sidelined by the humiliation and trauma of abuse, while people who have done harm gain power. We cannot allow this to occur.
This policy has been developed to address sexual and intimate harm done by staff, leadership team, chapter leaders, chapter members, and others in national and regional leadership roles. We also encourage chapters to use it when harm occurs between members within a chapter setting.
This document is based on the work of generations of transformative justice advocates and racial justice organizers who believe another world is possible and are creating practical frameworks to create that new world. We are particularly grateful to BYP100 not only for making public their process for addressing violence within their community, but in imagining a new way forward to address harm within movement spaces. Communities of color have long shown us the way forward in imagining ways to support those who experience harm, hold responsible those who do harm, and uplift the humanity of all those impacted by harm. We are deeply grateful for the work of BYP100 and many others in imagining new possibilities that lift up the ingenuity of our communities rather than relying on judicial and policing systems designed to dehumanize all those touched by violence.
Read the full policy below.