A Letter to My Communities About My Accountability Process

Charlie Glickman
8 min readFeb 18, 2023

To my communities:

As part of the wrap-up of my accountability process, I’m writing this to my communities to take responsibility for the harm I caused between 2014–2017. The description below is an overview. For a more detailed list of my actions please see this post: Naming My Harms.

  • I manipulated and emotionally abused my former partner, sharing private information about them, and even making up stories to convince other people to take my side after our breakup.
  • I abused my power as a teacher, workshop leader, and sexuality professional on numerous occasions by flirting inappropriately with students and workshop demonstration models. In at least one of these situations, the boundary crossing of flirting inappropriately, followed by our subsequent interaction, resulted in the person feeling deeply violated and sexually assaulted.
  • I pushed a lot of non-sexual boundaries, in violation of my own standards and the practices I teach: repeatedly negating or attempting to negate others’ boundaries of time, attention, physical space, and emotional labor.
  • Then, when I was publicly called out in September 2016, I responded in ways that caused further harm: I wrote angry and dismissive posts online, I demanded emotional labor from people I’d harmed, and I evaded responsibility by making excuses, shifting blame, deflecting attention, and claiming victimhood.

My accountability pod and primary consultant have also written about their experiences and observations of how my emotional and behavioral patterns (Charlie’s Patterns) showed up in my actions (​​Narrative Collection — Summary of Harms).

The Impacts of My Actions

I deeply violated the trust and betrayed the relationships I had with the people I harmed. For some, it was incredibly triggering, and for some, it was traumatic, especially when I doubled down and increased my efforts to defend myself rather than listening to them with an open heart.

For many people, especially those who I had close personal or professional relationships with, there were multiple layers of betrayal and harm. They put their faith in me as a friend, as a partner, and as a sexuality professional, and I did not live up to that responsibility. Some folks vouched for me, which put their own reputations on the line. The conflicts that arose between people damaged relationships and communities. I burned a lot of bridges, many of which are still not repaired and might never be.

All of this was amplified by the power I held as a prominent sex educator, speaker, author, and coach. My platform gave my words and actions more reach and power, which meant that I harmed more people and the impact of that harm was much larger. And my reputation gave my posts a credibility that they didn’t deserve.

There were folks who found it deeply triggering, or even traumatic, to see a prominent educator demonstrating such reactivity and immaturity. Many people felt hurt, confused, betrayed, angry, mistrustful, or sad. Those impacts rippled out across communities and spaces, and they caused conflicts and rifts between people who disagreed in their assessments of my actions. Some of the people, communities, and organizations I was affiliated with were put in the difficult and uncomfortable position of having to figure out whether to continue working with me or how to adjust to stepping back from me. And some people were ostracized because of the conflicts that my actions created.

On different occasions, I repeated my same patterns of deflection and resistance with my accountability pod, which damaged our relationship, slowed my accountability process down, and caused them harm. That’s one reason this process has taken the time that it has.

There is at least one person who I harmed who did not receive resolution or healing from my accountability process, and they are still dissatisfied with the outcome. There are also witnesses and community members who feel that this process was flawed or insufficient.

An Apology to My Communities

When I did these things, I was completely out of my integrity and not aligned with my own values. I was not being thoughtful, compassionate, or open to feedback and reflections from the people around me. I was acting from fear, defensiveness, and entitlement, rather than bravery and vulnerability. I was unfair to the people I harmed and to the people who tried to call me in. I was not respectful of other people’s agency and choice. Worse, I strenuously and angrily denied it whenever anyone tried to bring my attention to the fact that I was out of integrity.

I apologize to my communities for abusing my power, crossing my professional and personal boundaries, and demanding your emotional labor. And I deeply apologize to the people I harmed for pushing boundaries and violating my own standards and practices with you. You all deserved better from me.

Repair I’ve Done

My pod received various requests for repair, and in response:

  • I wrote detailed personal apologies which the pod forwarded to the people who requested them.
  • I made financial reparations to people I’d harmed, when appropriate.
  • My pod and I reviewed all my past blog posts from 2014–2018 (when I stopped blogging) and my online presence, taking some posts down and editing others where we saw the content was problematic.
  • I implemented a consistent process for informing potential clients about my accountability work, as well as the other preventative processes I detail below.
  • I’ve had reparative conversations with many of the people and community members who witnessed or were affected by what I did.

I remain available for any repair conversations that would help resolve the breaches that I created. I commit to receiving any critique with openness and gratitude, and I am happy to pay for facilitation or mediation, as needed.

Prevention

Steps I’m Taking In My Professional Practice

My work as a sexuality coach and somatic sex educator is inherently sensitive because my clients and I explore deeply personal topics and the work can even include genital touch. As part of my accountability work, I have developed a series of processes to ensure my client’s safety and comfort with the guidance of my pod and consultant, as well as colleagues, friends, my therapist, and my supervisor.

Proactive Disclosure to Coaching Clients

I now offer all potential clients multiple opportunities to access information about my accountability process and choose how much they want to engage with it.

  • I have a standard email that I send to everyone who inquires about my coaching services before scheduling an intake call. It shares that I’ve been in a public accountability process and includes basic information and relevant links.
  • During the intake call, I ask if they have any questions about my accountability process. This gives me the opportunity to assess whether someone has read the material and if not, to consider whether they’re a good fit for my services.
  • After the intake call, I send them my Informed Consent and Disclosure Document, which repeats the basic information for their review before they make a decision to work with me.

Safer Intake Process For Workshop Demonstration Models

I’ve developed an informed consent form and an intake process that I’ll use if I teach a workshop that includes demo models. The form includes detailed information regarding both their and my rights and responsibilities, as well as my accountability process. The intake interview questions will help me determine whether the potential demo model has read the information. It will include a discussion of any power dynamics present between us that might hinder consent and communication so that we can either address them or decide that this is not a good fit.

Disclosure Before Teaching Opportunities

If I start teaching and speaking again, I’ll be implementing two new practices:

  • I will proactively share information about my accountability process with any interested organization or community before discussing any professional opportunity
  • I will only work with organizations and communities with robust accountability and safety policies

Workplace Conduct

I will not engage in sexualized interactions, including flirting, with workshop participants, demo models, students, or event organizers while working with them and for at least three months after. I also will not engage in any kind of personal relationship with clients for at least two years after the end of our work together. My full workplace policies are here.

Personal Development

Through my process, I read dozens of books and articles, and took trainings on trauma and nervous system healing, accountability, managing defense reactions, emotional abuse, power dynamics, and ethics. Through that work, I’ve developed and expanded my ability to:

  • Recognize when I’m in a triggered state
  • Remove myself from the internet when activated
  • Slow my system down with breathwork and movement practices
  • Identify what support actually helps me when I’m triggered, and how to ask the appropriate people for it without making demands

Power Based Conversations with Potential Sexual Partners

Before I begin a new sexual relationship, I will initiate a conversation in which I invite a discussion of any power differentials that exist between us (e.g. gender, race, age, professional standing, etc) and ways to navigate them.

A New External Accountability System

I have created a new system for my ongoing accountability and have updated my website and paperwork to reflect it.

I’ve hired a team of three professionals who are empowered to act as my supervisors. They can:

  • Instruct me to stop coaching, teaching, or writing
  • Instruct me to make modifications to my professional or personal practices
  • Direct me to make social media posts on their behalf regarding any issues or concerns that the public should know about
  • Report me to my professional organizations (The Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers and the Somatica Institute)

You can reach them at this confidential email or through this confidential google form directly, anonymously, and without alerting me.

Mischa Byruck (he/him) is an accountability and sexual integrity coach for men and is the consent education partner of the Bay Area’s Bonobo Network.

Alyssa Morin (she/her) is a somatic sex educator, a relationship and intimacy guide, and a member of both the Grievance Council and the Ethics Committee for the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers. She has been an active contributor to the ACSB’s ongoing project of developing a better grievance process and accountability structure for sexological bodyworkers/somatic sex educators.

Dr. Hazel-Grace Yates (she/her) is an intimacy coach and retreat facilitator with extensive experience and a deep commitment to bringing equity and inclusion to the field of sexual education and coaching.

What Next?

In June 2022, I started working with Mischa Byruck as my accountability and integrity coach. His support has already been invaluable, and I will continue my work with him as I move into this new phase. I will also keep working with my therapist, my supervisor, and other people I consult with. Finally, I will continue to learn about somatic self-management, power dynamics, ethics, and sexuality.

While I’m happy to talk about my personal experiences through my process, I am not an accountability educator and I am not qualified to talk about transformative justice or accountability work in general. If someone has questions that are beyond my knowledge, I will refer them to someone who can answer them.

Gratitude

I would not have made it through this process without a lot of support. Most importantly, my accountability pod and consultant supported, guided, and challenged me in ways that I could not have expected. They also put a lot of energy and care into navigating the many different emotions that came up during this process for me, for themselves, for the people who I harmed, and for the people they were in contact with. They all have my deepest gratitude.

Many different friends and colleagues also offered support, feedback, and reflection during this time. Some of those conversations were truly transformative for me, and I am thankful for their guidance.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the people who responded to the pod’s report form or who contacted the pod directly. I am indebted to them for their time, energy, and emotional labor.

Thank you for reading.

Charlie

Update (11/2/23): If you’re interested, here is my post 12 Things I Learned By Going Through an Accountability Process

--

--