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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:58 am 
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i need some fresh air
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I'm reposting the statement from my friend George (Fall of Efrafa). I still don't have a reply about this from Geoff and don't have the full picture on the situation. This is just the account from George on this.

-----

My name is George. I used to play in a band called Fall of Efrafa (some of you may know me through the band). I’m writing this letter to the DIY punk community in Europe, because I have been made significantly concerned, upset and angry by the behaviour of some one in our community and wanted to let people know what has been going on.

This person’s name is Geoff. He’s from Pittsburgh, USA and he plays in the bands From The Depths and Auryn (some of you may have met him when he was on tour in Europe with Witch Hunt in 2006). Writing this letter is a hard thing for me to do, because until I found out about what he has been doing for the last four years, I considered Geoff to be a good friend. Since finding out, I have had a long conversation with him on the phone and all of the things I’m going to say about what he has done, have be told to me by him.

So, Geoff has known that he has had genital herpes for four years and in the course of that time has been having sex with people without telling them about his condition. Recently, one of the people who he slept with without telling found out about this and has exposed him to the community (you can read the open letter here: http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10569). Since he was called out, Geoff has been forced into an accountability process, in which he claims to be adhering to the demands of his community and the people that he has abused.

However, I am concerned that he is not taking what he has done seriously enough in regards to playing music in punk bands. When he called a good friend of mine to inform her that he had been called out, she asked him why he had done it. He confessed that being in “popular” bands over the years had granted him access to the many women that he had taken advantage of, and that he had “selfishly” enjoyed the false sense of intimacy that it provided him with, despite the risk he knew he was exposing them to.

My concern is in the fact that he has been using his elevated status as a member of popular bands in order to have casual (non-consensual) sex with women and to abuse their trust by not informing them that he has an STD. I feel that an appropriate action for him to take would be to stop playing in these bands and therefore surrender this part of his power and privilege, before he can start a process of accountability. The reason that I think he should do this is because, as I said before, he has clearly been abusing his position of power and, therefore shouldn’t be allowed to remain in that position, for fear that he may continue in his fucked up behaviour.

Just because he appears to be going through an accountability process, doesn’t me we should automatically assume that we can trust him. What I ask myself is, what if he had not been called out? Would he still be abusing people’s trust by having sex with people without telling them that he has genital herpes? I think that he would. Just because he has been forced into owning up to his fucked up behaviour, doesn’t mean we should forgive him and welcome him back into our community with open arms. Before we can do that I think he needs to go beyond the easily manipulated rhetoric of accountability and take action to show that he is taking his abuse of power seriously, by quitting playing music publicly.

When I suggested this to him, he listened to what I had to say, but he didn’t seem to understand. He said that “power has its own force” and “if I pulled away it would leave space for people who are not willing to talk about these issues”. Firstly, yes power comes with birth, but we also have control over how we deal with the power that we have (ie. not using it have promiscuous sex and lying about having an STD). And secondly, I would much rather have people in our community who didn’t talk about these issues, than someone who made people think that they were concerned about these things and at the same time lied to people and abused their trust.

So, the reason I am putting out this letter is, firstly, to make people aware of what Geoff has done and, secondly, encourage people to boycott the forthcoming From The Depths tour in Europe, if Geoff still intends to be involved (which he is). I don’t believe that we should allow this person to have an elevated platform from which to spout meaningless rhetoric, when he is unwilling to strip himself of the power, which he has abused.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:55 am 
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i need some fresh air

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did you read the mail that From The Depths sent around?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:43 am 
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i need some fresh air
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Yes and also have a new mail from Brian about this.

Quote:
Hi. I'm writing to let you know about something our band is dealing with that is relevant to our upcoming tour. I am sharing this with you because we are all part of a community that is built on honesty and trust, and i have done things that undermined peoples' trust towards me. Part of being accountable for that is communicating with people like yourself, who put energy into projects i am part of, so that our collaboration comes from a place of honesty.

The basic information is this: I've had genital herpes for several years, and recently I put several sexual partners at risk by not telling them that I had it. My actions hurt people by violating their ability to decide what risks to expose themselves to. Since I was confronted about this, I've been working with the people I did this to, my bandmates, and others on a process to take responsibility for my actions and change my behavior, with special consideration given to those i directly affected as a way to prioritize their needs.

The way this process affects my participation in From the Depths mostly involves work with my bandmates, but also I am committing not to have any sexual relationships while on tour, and to being as open and honest about my situation as possible. Other than your awareness, I also ask that you forward this message to the people we will stay with after the show or send me their contact info if you have it, as the people directly affected by my actions have specifically requested that those folks be made aware of my situation. I appreciate your attention and I am available to talk about this with you or anyone else who wants to.

Sincerely,
Geoff


Quote:
As Geoff's friends and bandmates, we want everyone to know that we are involved in and invested in his accountability process. We are in contact with the people affected by Geoff's actions to make sure that they are satisfied with the way we are handling this. We hope that this can be an opportunity to enact a vision of restorative justice appropriate to an anarchist culture, in contrast to the model most of our society currently relies on. Like Geoff, we can talk about this with anyone who wishes.

Email us at redefiningconsent@yahoo.com. More information about this
will be available on our website, www.fromthedepths.info.

-Neal, Brian, Monica, and Steve


Quote:
George is acting on his own initiative alone, telling the whole community what he thinks should happen, without any reference to the wishes of the people affected by Geoff's behavior. I'm disappointed to see this--we were struggling to put power and initiative back in the hands of those affected by Geoff's choices, and George here is taking power into his own hands, totally apart from their wishes.

We've been working for some time on a comprehensive statement about this, but it's taking time, because we are discussing it with the people Geoff hurt. We'll get a shorter response to George's statement out later today--although the problem is that we don't know who he sent it to.

I'll attach the statement we already sent out here, since I guess you hadn't seen it. I'm curious to hear your perspective on all this.

These are complicated issues, but we feel that it's important to engage with the issue in a mature way, that encourages people not to be afraid to admit to their own mistakes in public, rather than drawing lines according to whoever talks loudest.

We're available to discuss this at length.

yours
b


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Every situation that comes out of this "community" pushes me further and further away from it.

High school level maturity we are dealing with here.

I know Geoff personally and have heard all sides of the argument ... the answer doesn't lie anywhere remotely close to the actions and/or words that are being offered by this so-called progressive community.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:15 pm 
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Oh yeah, and I smelled the condescension on that George guy just from being in the same room as him when Fall Of Efrafa played here.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:26 am 
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Hey yall,
Long time lurker, first time poster, this is Adam from Tacoma-I think I know some of you on this board. Posting this statement by FTD at their behest, cos internet shit gets out of hand pretty easily:

From the Depths: Statement About Geoff’s Accountability and Our Tour

Recently, you may have heard about Geoff, who has played drums in our band. Geoff will not be coming on tour with us in Europe. We want to clear up any confusion about the issue and explain our choices.

Geoff had sex with several people without telling them he had herpes. This is unacceptable behavior. When one of the people he did this to called him out for it, we got in touch with them to ask how they wanted us to handle the situation. Through those discussions, we helped create an accountability process for Geoff. The conclusion was that they were comfortable with us going to Europe, as long as we informed the people we would be staying with about Geoff’s actions. Geoff also committed to not having any sexual interactions on the tour, and to continuing to participate in discussions about his behavior. We sent out a letter about the situation to promoters booking our shows and to those we might stay with.

Geoff has been talking with friends, partners, ex-partners, and other people to let everyone know what happened and what he is doing to change his behavior. He has publicly taken responsibility for his mistakes and says he wants to do better. Because of this, we were willing to continue playing with Geoff, as long as it didn’t violate the wishes of those he hurt.

Meanwhile, George from the band Fall of Efrafra made a public statement asking people not to book or support our band because of what Geoff did. George never contacted us or the people Geoff hurt—he was only speaking for his own opinions, as a person who had heard about the situation.

We feel it is irresponsible for George (or anyone else not directly affected by Geoff’s behavior) to tell people how to handle this situation. Solidarity with those Geoff hurt means respecting and prioritizing their wishes. By trying to determine what should happen himself—without knowing their wishes—George took power into his own hands rather than returning it to those who had been hurt.

After George’s statement went out, Geoff decided not to go on tour. We support him in this decision. Trying to learn from his mistakes and answer to the needs of those he hurt is already a lot of work. It is unrealistic to think Geoff could do these things responsibly while also addressing the public statements put out by people like George.

Below is a statement that we were working on before Geoff decided not to go on tour. It is still useful to share because it offers important context about how we are approaching this.

We apologize for not making a public statement earlier. The people Geoff hurt had not asked for us to, and it was a higher priority for us to communicate with them and focus on Geoff’s accountability process. Unfortunately, although it takes a long time to put together a responsible public statement, it takes very little time for a rumor to travel the internet. As a community, we have to be careful that “public relations” and posturing do not take priority over mature responses to these issues.
Please get in touch if you have any questions: redefiningconsent@yahoo.com


[From our earlier statement:]

Why would you continue to be in Geoff’s life after he fucked up?

Geoff fucked up in a particularly big, public way: hurting several people across the country and waiting to deal with his mistakes until he was publicly called out, rather than taking the initiative to address the situation with each person on his own.
This is unacceptable.
We believe that open dialogue about sexual health history and concerns about sexual health are an important part of consenting sexual interactions. People have such different ideas of what constitutes acceptable risk, what constitutes safer sex, and what aspects of one’s sexual health history are relevant to share, that it is unacceptable to make assumptions about what is okay for someone else.
Everyone fucks up—and not everyone gets called out when they do—but we are disappointed that Geoff waited until he was called out to deal with this, rather than opening dialogue about this beforehand. However, we don’t simply believe in exiling people from our lives when they make mistakes. Practically, that just pushes people, with all of their problematic behaviors, into other people’s communities and lives. We believe in “fighting where we stand”; we believe it is the responsibility of the friends of the person who fucked up to hold them accountable and work through their hurtful behaviors with them.
Geoff’s reaction to being called out informs how we interact with him now. Geoff is taking on the project of being responsive to the needs of those he hurt. He has been open to hearing about how he fucked up, and he seems genuinely invested in changing his hurtful behaviors.
As his bandmates and friends, we’re committed to making sure that Geoff continues to act according to the wishes of those he hurt and that he continues to learn from this until he can develop a healthier relationship to sex and sexual health. We’re also taking time to reflect on what opportunities we might have missed to address related issues with Geoff in the past. We welcome perspective and feedback from Geoff’s friends and acquaintances—especially those directly affected by his relationships to women and sexuality.

How do you know you are making the right choices about Geoff’s accountability process?

We don’t believe that there are choices for Geoff’s accountability process that are “objectively” the right ones. We feel uncertain about the choices we are making, but the important thing is that we feel good about the process we used to make those choices and about the dynamics between the members of this band and the people Geoff hurt. Responding to the needs of the people Geoff hurt is our top priority.

We are working on models for real accountability, and we hope that people can look at how we are doing things, rather than simply the end product of our choices.

What is your vision of restorative justice?

We would like to see our communities develop a nuanced approach to working with people on their accountability processes. It doesn’t make sense for every person who is publicly called out for fucking up in any way to go through the same steps. Every situation is different—whether someone is called out publicly or privately.

We aspire to a culture where being accountable is a normal part of life, where we can continue with our lives while we deal with our shit—not prioritizing one over the other, but understanding them as interdependent on each other—without being made out to be monsters or heroes. Neither of those extremes is a useful way to make someone feel, and neither of them creates a culture in which people are likely to call each other out or be open to being called out.

When some people tell the world how to respond to a person’s harmful behavior without consulting the people who were directly hurt by that behavior, they discourage other people from calling out those who hurt them. If people know they won’t be able to control the consequences of calling someone out, they may be hesitant to do it.


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