I mean, you can work at the community level to change norms that perpetuate systems of oppression (behaviors in a community, language used in a community, etc.) while also working at the individual level to support people who are impacted by systems of oppression.
I feel like the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Really, I feel like the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, if our goal is to move past survival and toward liberation.
For example, if a person who has experienced sexual violence wants to bring charges against the perpetrator, an advocate at a sexual violence organization should support the person who has experienced sexual violence, at the individual level, while that person navigates the criminal justice system.
However, if that sexual violence organization has not worked at the community level to change norms around rape myths and victim-blaming (norms that are perpetuated by behaviors and language), the charges brought against the perpetrator will have less likelihood of being believed by a jury, the perpetrator will have less likelihood of being held accountable, and the person who has experienced sexual violence will have less likelihood of receiving justice.
Additionally, if the majority of advocates at that organization are white cis women, that organization will need to work at the community level to change norms within the organization that have developed as a result of white privilege and cis privilege.
If the organization does not, then the advocates at that organization will be less likely to support women of color or trans women effectively.
Educating advocates at that organization about their behaviors and language and correcting problematic behaviors and language are not acts that should be seen as punitive.
They should be seen as acts that are essential to supporting people who have experienced violence effectively.
I feel like this article creates a false dichotomy between individual level and community level work, placing one before the other, when, in reality, the two cannot be separated.