In case you haven't read "an abusive relationship is moving train" it's another account of the patterns of abuse and responses to it over the last 10 years in the anarchist/socialist movements in Aotearoa.
Just to keep the conversations going, here are some comments made about the previous post I want to address.
I have some questions about anarchism that have always concerned me. If we abolished the state, courts, rule of law etc don't you think there would be much greater instances of violence against women, children, LBGT and other marginalised people? (...)
I think that really depends on where the society is at in terms of understanding and challenging patriarchies, homophobia, racism etc. But this is exactly the reason why these struggles against gender/'identity' oppressions shouldn't be left to deal with 'after the revolution' but should be an inherent part of the anarchist revolution. Anarchism is meaningless, freedom is meaningless, if social hierarchies still continue to exist without a state. That's not my idea of anarchism at all.
But I really think that with the state system that we have, so much violence still continues and the legal system, prison system isn't invested in prevention or rehabilitation. It rarely even brings about true justice for survivors of abuse, in fact, it's often re-traumatising and continues the violence and increases the hardships for survivors (and their children). With the system that we have right now, gender violence (or at least reporting rates) are increasing. It's not effective in solving this problem or ending this oppression because it's part of the problem, not the solution. It's not the government but NGOs that do the majority of the work to ensure safety of survivors and develop support systems.
I believe that society can function without oppressive hierarchies if people at the bottom organise collectively and create a social environment where it's 'not cool' to dominate and control other people. The power of social pressure and the threat of ostracism can hypothetically stop someone from trying to gain power over others. An underlying premise of anarchist theory is that humans are inherently social beings and need other people to survive, so fear of isolation and ostracism can make people think twice about taking action that's going to harm others.
There's more comprehensive answers to this question and others in this book: Anarchy Works.
Forgiveness and compassion is of course out of the question in this narrative. Doing anything of that sort, of second chances, or new beginnings, rebirth and regeneration is nothing more than weakness and part of the dominating, abusive rhetoric that enables men, particularly cis men to continue exercising their privilege, power and domination in order to subordinate womyn.
... so basically we're evil feminist bitches who don't give second chances? If only it was simple that abuse can just be forgiven and then the abuser will change and suddenly re-born into a new and respectful person, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly after spending some time as a chrysalis. If only...
Firstly, in order for forgiveness/new beginnings (etc.) to happen, the abusers/perpetrators must take responsibility for what they've done and to take initiative to make amends and change their pattern of behaviour. Most of these misogynist abusers and supporters in the anarchist/socialist movement continue to MINIMISE, DENY or BLAME THE SURVIVOR for the violence they inflicted. Forgiveness is also not something anyone can give, it has to come from the person who suffered the abuse to be relevant. I can't just randomly forgive someone for what they did to someone else, it's not up to me.
Secondly, it is actually really dangerous for survivors of intimate partner abuse to hold on to hope that their partners will change, and to continue to forgive them. Abusers may feel remorse and then ask for forgiveness and the survivor takes them back, then the pattern of violence repeats! I have seen this pattern way too many times, where womyn have gone back to their abusive partners and get assaulted again. It's a cycle and the easiest way to break it is to break up. And I think it's our responsibility as a community of people who understand the power dynamics to first and foremost support survivors of this abuse rather than focus all our energy on changing the abuser, which is important work but shouldn't be done instead of but as well as survivor support.
You say that a woman who accuses a guy of abuse should automatically be believed. I object. I'm a male who has been falsely accused of sexual abuse. False accusations happen. Males can and occasionally are victims.
I think the 'benefit of the doubt' should always be given to the survivors of abuse (regardless of gender). It's not easy to disclose abuse or histories of abuse to a community who will doubt you first and I think it's important that responses to 'accusations' of abuse should be survivor-centric. The alternative of questioning and 'investigating' a survivor of abuse puts them in a really unsafe position. The last thing that survivors who speak up about their experiences need is people to question and interrogate them about what happened, and are thus automatically disbelieved.
There's also the concept of 'power of definition' where survivors should have the right to define what happened to them. Sometimes people's definitions or perceptions of what constitutes as 'sexual abuse' are different. Not long ago in the West, the concept of 'marital rape' didn't exist because wives are just their husband's property. Having a good understanding of consent is really important to preventing sexually abusive behaviours, assuming there's some level of respect for sexual partners. Silence is not consent, someone who is passed out cannot consent, a child cannot practice informed consent. Getting a 'yes' after emotionally blackmailed or threatened is not consent. Here's some zines on the topic of consent which discusses these issues really well:
Consent, Sex and Violence
Learning Good Consent