An Apology To You For Disappearing For a Year…

by Reid on March 28, 2019

Photograph taken during a solar eclipse of crescent-shaped shadows cast against the side of grey painted outside of a house as the light from the solar eclipse comes through the trees.
Crescent-shaped shadows and light cast on the side of my house through the trees during a solar eclipse…

[This post contains the first email I sent to my newsletter subscribers on March 15, 2019, as I came out of my restorative justice-based accountability process and back into teaching. You can find the 2nd newsletter email HERE.]

Subject: An Apology To You For Disappearing For a Year…

Hello Sex Geek,

It’s been nearly a year since I officially sent out an email broadcast to you. It’s hard for me to figure out exactly what I’m supposed to say and how to say it but you deserve an honest and frank email, even if it’s clunky and imperfect… 

A year ago, I learned that I’d fucked up. I hurt folks. And I deeply regret it. And I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make it up to everyone. 

If you didn’t know before today…

If you didn’t know why you weren’t hearing more from me in 2018, it was because I stepped down from teaching a little over a year ago when, sparked by the #MeToo movement, several brave people stepped forward to let me know about harms I’d caused them.

These harms had to do with sexual misconduct and consent violations. The harms I caused were happening in a way I wasn’t aware of, a way I thought I was accounting for, but I was wrong. I am responsible for these harms, and I deeply regret the pain I caused. 

I needed to step forward and own those harms no matter what the cost. I needed to mitigate whatever harms were still happening. I needed to take whatever positive actions I could moving forward to ensure that these harms didn’t happen again. And, if it was possible, to restore whatever I could for the survivors through making amends. 

The revelations shocked me and much of my community. As someone who understands the importance of believing survivors, I had no hesitation in believing the reports. And I told everyone else to believe them too. 

If someone says I harmed them, I start with believing them. Period. Any other response, for me goes against my values. Any other response would be inappropriate. I wasn’t interested in adding myself to the list of men who deny, retaliate, or minimize the harms they’re being invited to hold themselves accountable for.

I issued a public apology, stepped down from teaching sex education, and initiated an accountability process based on the principles of restorative justice

I wanted to learn more about the harms, address my misconduct with proper supervision and support, and attempt to make amends if and where possible. A restorative justice-based approach was the only concept I was familiar with that could aid in making all those things happen.

And that’s what I’ve been doing since February 2018. 

My formal, year-long process, along with my apology and resource links, is public and can be found at TinyURL.com/reidaccountability. I encourage you to click the link and look at it. The first post you will see listed is the final blog entry.
 
This last blog post is a good place to start if this is all news to you, or if you haven’t been following for a while. If you’re unfamiliar with restorative and transformational justice, the last blog post is also a good place to begin. 
 
It’s an overview of what got covered, discovered, and focused on along this 13 month process. Many of the resources that helped me through this journey you will find in the bog and also on the Survivor Support Pod’s blog, which is linked to in the final post.
 
I’m also inviting you to watch the video I recently shot about my process and coming back into community and teaching again. It’s on my FB Page as well as my Youtube channel.

Image screen capture from Facebook Live of Reid Mihalko with grey and blonde beard, standing outside, wearing a red and grey plaid flannel shirt, holding some white paper, with trees in the background.
Reid’s Facebook Live informing his viewers and followers about his accountability process.

I invite you to share any and all of these links and resources with your communities and online. As vulnerable as it feels to share all this with you, I am not interested in hiding any of it or sweeping it under the rug.

I realize this information might be challenging, confusing, or triggering. Maybe all three. And maybe a host of other feelings, too. Please dip or dive into it as you have bandwidth and reserves. And please take care of yourself.
 
For myself, as a prominent sex educator in the era of #MeToo… As a man who’s been shown where and how he harmed women… I can’t stress enough how important this movement is and what a crucial moment in time we are experiencing.
 
And none of this we can do alone. My process involved many brilliant, generous people who labored diligently in front of and behind the scenes, this included everyone who bravely came forward to share their stories, critiques, and feedback.
 
It is often said that “no one is perfect,” that “we’ve all harmed someone,” and that “we will most likely harm again”… However, to me, what is important is HOW we choose to react WHEN someone bravely speaks up and shares we’ve harmed them. This moment in time is about creating better choices in how we receive and react, and then better choices in what actions we take next.
 
Saying that we’re all going to hurt people and then acting shittily when folks speak up is NOT what I teach. And I also don’t teach perfection either.
 
Perfection does not exist. But always striving to improve, make amends, and do better does exist.
 
I’m not saying that any of this is EASY. It’s terribly, terribly difficult. And I’m still integrating parts of my journey and I will never stop deepening my learning towards how to harm less and creating healthier outcomes for those I interact with.

Justice and healing live somewhere inside the Burmuda’s triangle with Fucking-Up, Learning To Do Better, and Being Responsible/Accountable (for the harms you inflicted). 
 
As I type this, maybe that triangle is a actually a pyramid that points up towards “Doing Better.” And maybe the bottom of the pyramid, the base that rests against the Earth, should be labled “Compassion.”
 
I hope you can extend compassion to yourself today for whichever way your journey has taken you. And I hope the idea of accountably processes and restorative justice gives you more options for how you would like to live your life.
 
Thank you for letting me send you this. If you’d like me to continue sending you emails and announcements as I come back into teaching, Click HERE and let me know with your name and email so I know you’re a yes. And if you’re a No to further contact, Click Cancel at the bottom of this email to unsubscribe.
 
With much gratitude,
REiD

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