Birmingham: Community Accountability Taking collective responsibility against sexualised violence

Safety in our communities

2020, eight years ago a person of the left-wing political circles of Birmingham experienced sexualised violence and rape in their relationship. Three years later, they wrote an open letter to inform the Birmingham community about what happened and to ask people to get involved in a community accountability process. This project is the result of a process that tried to reflect on and take responsibility for what happened. We decided to publish these things in order to make them accessible to other groups and people, to invite a debate about how we deal with sexualised violence, and offer some guidelines of what we thought went well or didn‘t. The aims of this process were:

  • to empower the person who was raped to speak up,
  • to make these events known and talk about sexualised violence without taboo,
  • to initiate a process that discusses the structures that allowed this to happen, ways of responding to it and means of preventing it in future
  • create a supportive atmosphere for all victims and survivors of sexualised violence and
  • to force the perpetrator to take responsibility for what he has done and prevent future abuse.

Our website tries to reflect on and document what we have achieved in response to these aims. We would be happy if you could help us to spread this website and it’s message by sharing it in line with these aims.

Navigating through this website: The Open Letter is the original letter that was written by the victim and their support group to the Birmingham community in 2015, and an update to it following the process. The Chronology gives an overview over the different steps taken and groups formed during the accountability process. In the Response section you find the collective reflections and response of the Birmingham community to the Open Letter. As part of the Conclusions you find personal statements of the victim and other people involved in the process, as well as an evaluation from the group tasked with being in contact with the perpetrator. Finally, the Resources section provides some further readings and helplines.