We’ve attempted to deal with this by working on and trying to apply safer spaces policies. The reality of this has been women trying to support other women in dealing with problematic men. We pushed too hard last year by putting on weekly house parties and it wasn’t fair on our skeleton crew. The pressure to put on the next week’s party took priority over underlying issues, which meant that problems identified (with our safer spaces process especially) were not acted on. These issues repeated themselves, leading to volunteer frustration from feeling that nothing was being done to remedy the issues that continuously occurred.
We haven’t always dealt with assault well. Survivors have been forced to disclose information that was not kept confidential and/or was used to promote our ineffective safer spaces policy. We owe these people an apology for putting their mental and physical health at risk and jeopardising their recovery by not respecting their wishes in a very traumatic situation.
Now that we are (for the most part) out of houses and in San Fran, a lot of the previous challenges have dropped off and different ones have appeared in their place. There will be a series of meetings over the next month between the women involved in Eyegum to construct a written safer spaces policy and to look into the reasons women have left so that we can learn from our mistakes and avoid them in the future.