Violence and Abuse Issues in Activist Circles:

Facing Reality
-David Meyers

Reality is, most of us have suffered and survived some sort of interpersonal violence, whether in our families as children or in our relationships as adults. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse may have inhibited our abilities to think and feel freely, to love freely, and to work together effectively towards social and revolutionary change. It is unfortunate that much radical dialogue puts such issues on the back burner, relegated to an inferior position next to more public issues. But unresolved conflicts and repressed anger often smolder beneath the surface of our interactions.

Which leads to the other side of this patriarchal coin, what I call being in the thralls of patriarchy, which arises when issues are left unresolved. Rather than directing anger at its cause, we often direct it at peers or those with less social power. By identifying with the abuser(s) instead of supporting each other, we end up dumping on each other, reinforcing hierarchy, and dampening the impulse towards social movement and regeneration that Ron Griswold writes about in our cover story.

We at Sandpaper believe that working on issues of abuse ought to be an integral part of any radical movement, allowing us to grow personally and interact in healthier ways. The release and resolution of unhealthy emotions can free our energies to act more effectively on the other issues that are important to us, issues that lie beyond the home and the circles we move in.

Sandpaper welcomes text or graphics dealing with issues of interpersonal/domestic violence and abuse; telling our stories is crucial and an act of courage that can inspire others. We especially seek pieces that relate personal experience to social and revolutionary consciousness, vision, and action.

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