(A)POC. Puppy Daddy. Bike Punk. XVXOXO.
Andy Wirth is a friend of mine and about 4 years ago he became aware of a sleeping disorder in which he, unknowingly, initiates sexual acts while he is asleep. As soon as this came to his attention, he contacted folks he previously slept beside who could have experienced this in the past in order to hold him accountable and ask if he could provide anything for those he may have hurt. Over the summer of 2012 he began an accountability process with his most recent former partner to help him deal with the effects of Sexsosomnia. Part of the accountability process initiated by his former partner included seeing a therapist, telling absolutely everyone he sleeps next to in the future about this condition, and sleeping alone until he figured out how to deal with it. One of the people that had experienced this voiced their need for personal accountability from a kiss for which he had not established consent. Andy was receptive to this, until it involved meeting up in a house in which he felt his physical safety was in danger. Shortly after, physical threats were made by a group of people that came to Portland in search of Andy. Andy’s partner at the time was invalidated for their experience and was told repeatedly that the group would stop at nothing, including breaking into their home where they lived with their cats, and “beating him until he’s dead”. The group that came looking for him tagged all over the town including local businesses, working-class neighborhoods and communities of color. They were vocal about their thoughts on violence and that they “Don’t give a fuck about accountability”. His friends and partner felt extremely threatened; I received harassing phone calls and text messages about how they were not going to stop until they find him. Andy left Portland to protect his loved ones and ended up meeting with the person wanting accountability one on one.
Yesterday I went to the Vegan Mini Mall in Southeast Portland and talked with Andy’s brother about the previous days and about the same group of people that have been in town to incite violence against Andy. They were seen combing through the crowd at a show and even confronted Andy’s brother and his friend while on a bike ride, ending the interaction with “The only reason I’m being so nice is because there are a lot of people that don’t want to see you hurt”. Later that night someone vandalized a car presumably under the assumption it belonged to the friend that accompanied Andy’s brother on the bike ride but turned out to be another community member that has no absolutely no investment in the situation.
While leaving the Mini Mall I noticed two people in the Park across the street keeping an eye on the Mini Mall. For those of you that know Portland, you know that there is no reason on a cold foggy day that anyone would sit in the park looking directly at the Vegan Mini Mall for an extended period of time. These people were most likely waiting for Andy’s brother to get off of work so they could intimidate or possibly follow him. Fearing for my friend’s safety and remembering the degree of harassment that occurred over the summer I felt it necessary to open a dialogue and think about ways to resolve the situation in a way that positively impacts the community and addresses the concerns of both parties. Immediately, I was met with anger by the people waiting to attack Andy’s brother. While I did my best to calmly talk about the situation I was bombarded with verbal assaults and was physically intimidated. As things progressed I was called a “rape apologist” as the two screamed at me at the top of their lungs and said that they “Will not back down” and “Anyone associated with Andy will get the shit beat out of them until they get what they want”. They then started asking what my name was and pushing me. One of them started grabbing for my wallet and took my utility knife from my back pocket. What I thought were two bystanders came close as one of them grabbed my hands. Both people then started hitting me, and the people that I thought were bystanders waiting to in interject, also started hitting me.
I had four people that I have never met before, none of whom were the person involved in the initial situation with Andy, attacking me outside of the Mini Mall for attempting to open up conversation about a serious issue that we are all attempting to resolve. This is an instance of a group of all white people attacking a person of color in their own community for attempting to open up a dialogue and attempting to have a radical approach to a serious issue. The terror and intimidation that they are creating is no different than the coercion of the police. It replicates state violence and further marginalizes people in this community that are attempting to employ radical tactics for accountability. The people that attacked me had no justification for doing so and only perpetuate the cycle of violence that is present in our culture. Sexual assault in any form is a very real thing that we need to address and do our best to destroy in all of its manifestations, but if we are only using tools of violence and intimidation against people that are trying to address the situation with communication and responsible accountability we just recreate the horrors of the state with our own communities.
with love and solidarity,
I just stopped at a yard sale and got Clueless and Texas chainsaw massacre on VHS, as well as a screen that already has a Los Crudos design on it!