Informing You About My Accountability Process…

by Reid on March 31, 2019

Screen cap image from Reid Mihalko's Accountability Process Blog of a timeline thumbnail from Timetoast.com with a blue progress bar, timeline "flags" with text too small to read, and the title, "Medium.com—Resources, Timeline, and Final Words from Reid Mihalko's Accountability Process"
Looking for the Reid Mihalko Accountability Blog and Timeline?
Go to TinyURL.com/reidaccountability

[Some of the following text is taken from the flyer I make available at all of my workshops and appearances. I’m sharing it here to also give readers a sense of what and how information about my accountability process is being shared offline when I’m teaching.]

Information about Reid Mihalko’s Accountability Process

In early 2018, some very brave people came forward sharing harms that I had caused them. I stepped down from teaching and initiated a restorative justice-based accountability process to address my misconduct and make amends if and where possible. The formal, year-long process along with my apology and resources were shared publicly at: TinyURL.com/reidaccountability.

This pamphlet is a quick summary of the actions I took over those 12 months to learn what happened, hold myself accountable, make amends where possible, and improve my behaviors to ensure I would not repeat the harms that were reported.

The purpose of this flyer is to promote transparency and accountability, direct people to information on my process so they can make informed choices for themselves, and to build awareness around accountability approaches, restorative justice and transformational justice (RJ/TJ).

What this pamphlet is NOT is a nuanced account of my process. Nor can it adequately encapsulate how RJ and TJ work or what accountability looks like. 

What this pamphlet is and can be is be a start.

Please visit 
TinyURL.com/ReidAccountability 
for more thorough details and resources.

QR code with an iPhone icon on the bottom next to the words "scan me" - the code directs to TinyURL.com/reidaccountability

Many Thanks

Restorative justice and accountability doesn’t happen in a vacuum. This pamphlet, the accountability blog’s posts and resources, and the lessons I learned are the result of many people’s contributions and labor. 

My growth would not have been possible without the courage of the women who shared their stories, the survivor support pod, and the support of my accountability pod, my therapist, my loved ones, and my sex ed community.

To each and every one of them, thank you.

What is Restorative Justice?

“Restorative justice echoes ancient and indigenous practices employed in cultures all over the world, from Native American and First Nation Canadian to African, Asian, Celtic, Hebrew, Arab and many others (Eagle, 2001; Goldstein, 2006; Haarala, 2004; Mbambo & Skelton, 2003; Mirsky, 2004; Roujanavong, 2005; Wong, 2005).” ~iirp.edu

“…restorative justice – an alternative to the criminal justice system that emphasizes perpetrators taking responsibility for the harm they cause and actively working to make amends to everyone impacted.” ~Mahealani Joy

Definitions for RJ vary depending on who’s asked.

For me, RJ is an approach where the transgressor, with community guidance and support (aka, an accountability pod), works on making amends to those harmed while developing the awareness and skills necessary to understand how the harms occurred and prevent repeating such harms. Rather than exiling the transgressor from the community, which prevents the possibility of restoration, RJ involves transgressors, survivors and community working in tandem to center the needs of the survivor and support forward movement towards healing the harm and putting things right.

What is Transformative Justice?

While TJ shares similar goals with RJ, and the terms are sometimes used inter-changeably, for me, TJ focuses on addressing and transforming the dynamics and conditions that allowed a harm to be possible in the first place. Amends making to those harmed is not always possible, but transformation of transgressors’ behaviors and community dynamics may be. Thus, making amends isn’t the focus nor a requirement for TJ in the same way that it is for RJ.

How Do You Tell RJ from TJ from an Accountability Process? 

Rather than argue over which is which, I focus on asking myself: “How can I center survivors, reduce the harmful impacts of my actions, share the risks of unforeseen harmful consequences with others, make amends when appropriate, and leave the campsite better than I found it for everyone involved?”

If the survivor opts out of a RJ process, the process shifts to one of community accountability.

Why a Blog and an Accountability Pod?

I chose to root my accountability process in RJ approaches and made my process visible to my community with a blog and an accountability pod consisting of four people I trusted and compensated to support me in the hard work of interrogating my choices and blind spots.

My pod acted as my proxy communicating with the survivor’s support pod. The pods created a buffer that gave people the space and needed anonymity from having to deal with me directly.

Why Did I Choose This Process?

It is my firm belief that the most appropriate way to respond when someone tells you that you’ve harmed them is to say, “Thank you for telling me. Would you be willing to say more?” and then be quiet and listen.

This is not an easy thing to do, but listening is a crucial response in a world where most people’s courageous shares are met with retaliation and denials rather than a request to say more. 

I was not interested in adding myself to the list of men who retaliate or deny. I wanted people to say what they hadn’t been saying to me, and I wanted to step up. And I want people to believe survivors.

Taking responsibility is scary, especially when you don’t know what to do. I have felt the hesitancy and fear of not knowing a powerful way to step forward. 

I was fortunate enough to know RJ was an option and lucky enough to have colleagues who believed in me and worked in the RJ field. I asked for help.

RJ supported me in listening more deeply to my community and helped them see I was taking the accusations seriously. RJ gave me access to an approach and framework that would help me center those coming forward and (hopefully) help me reduce harm as I addressed my situation. RJ’s foundational approaches meant my pod and I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

RJ and TJ are not magical, foolproof solutions. It is hard, usually slow work. My process got off to a rocky start, but pod helped pave the way. I am reminded that many of life’s most worthwhile things have difficult, rocky starts. 

This is why I chose RJ. And now that you know more about it, I hope you will, too. 

Please Visit:
www.TinyURL.com/ReidAccountability

How Has My Accountability Process Gone?

My pod and I did a community accountability process and we relied on the values and foundations of RJ/TJ. However, without the participation of those harmed, and a feeling that THEY are restored/healed in some way by the process, this wasn’t restorative justice.

An accountability process, for me, is the process of developing my account(ing for myself) ability: the ways in which I strengthen my capacity to: 1) center survivors, 2) take responsibility for the impact of my actions, 3) make amends, 4) reduce future harms, and, lastly, 5) catalogue and leave public evidence of my shifts in awareness and skill of 1 thru 4.

The last step means creating a detailed and honest, public-facing accounting of me owning my mistakes as I became aware of them, how I attempted to address and repair (if possible) the harms I caused, what I learned, and how I am applying that learning towards preventing similar harms from recurring. There is no set length to the process other than doing what needs to be done. My commitment to reduce harm and do better, as well as my learning, continue on after the process draws to a close.

As I come back into community and teaching, this blog and my day to day behavior and actions will stand as my account of my contrition, growth, values, and healthier abilities.

The Blog Timeline + The Steps Taken

To see a larger, more complete version of this process with a timeline breakdown of the steps that were taken + the commitments I made, and what I learned during my 12-month process, please visit the Reid Mihalko’s Accountability Process blog hosted on Medium.

Jump directly to the Timetoast timeline HERE.

Please Visit the Accountability Process Blog:
www.TinyURL.com/ReidAccountability

Please visit the blog and please share it with your communities and loved ones

If you’d like to see how I planned to inform people about my Accountability Process after it has ended, please read this Twitter Thread.

If you’d like to see how I informed my newsletter subscribers about my Accountability Process, please read these two posts – 1st Email Broadcast and 2nd Email Broadcast.

If you’d like to see the homepage that previously informed people of my accountability during 2018, go HERE.

Questions for my Pod? 
Email them at rmpod2018@gmail.com

Created in 2018 by Reid Mihalko Reid@ReidAboutSex.com

Anyone is welcome to use and duplicate this information for your own organization. 
Please apply attribution to 
Reid Mihalko’s Accountability Blog.

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