This is a cross post from Richard Seymour’s International Socialism UK blog
Dear Charlie, Over the last few weeks, as you know, there has been much discussion about a serious allegation of sexual violence regarding a CC member. This was discussed at conference during the disputes report and I took much notice.
I took particular notice consciously, as over the last few months I have been deciding whether to come forward about a similar matter. I was in a long-term relationship with a comrade in the past and during this relationship he raped me. Though I am being encouraged by the few comrades I’ve asked for advice on it, I feel very precarious about coming forward about this.
This is because of the way the women who reported allegations of harassment and allegations of rape were treated by the Disputes Committee. This situation has significantly altered my trust in the party’s ability to handle matters of sexual violence and I worry it will also discourage other victims coming forward. I understand in every organization, because we exist within capitalism and societal structures that ensure sexism, there will be cases of this kind – even in groups committed to liberation. And I am aware these things are not endemic within the party and we have a long tradition of standing up for women’s oppression. Nevertheless, I have lost confidence.
I send you this email to urge yourself and the CC to find a solution to the current crisis and take action to restore confidence in the SWP’s ability to take a solid stance in dealing with sexual violence. I’m not sure what that action can be, but I thought you should know the effects this is having within the party, on women like myself, finding themselves having to consider what to do about incidents of a violent sexual nature and being at a loss.
This letter has thus far received no reply.