Updates on my accountability work & structures for transparency…
Now that I have my accountability pod in place, this post is intended to give an update of where I am currently and is also an attempt to address some of the harm that my initial response created for Kelly and my community.
I am trying to improve on my initial response which was very harmful, but not to obscure what I’ve already posted.
Links to original writing and threads are at the bottom of this post. Updates and links to more expanded accountability pieces will be posted on this blog as well, and this blog will serve as the main location for information and transparency as I do the work of being accountable. Members of my accountability pod are included below and we welcome your insights and input.
[View all accountability updates here - https://medium.com/reid-mihalkos-accountability-process]
In working with my accountability pod, I’ve learned the following things:
1. I did a bad job in apologizing to Kelly. I was responding from ego and entitlement. There was a great edit done to my words, by Mineh Dee, reducing them to 12 essential sentences. Thank you to Mineh for this labor and for allowing me to post her incisive edit here. This is what I should have said:
“I had harassed someone into giving me a hand job in 2010. I made a mistake that I deeply regret. I am sorry for steamrolling your consent. I’m sorry I was ignorant. I harmed you. This is not okay. I am so sorry. And it was shitty. I apologize. You don’t owe me anything. I realize that you may not accept this apology. I am so sorry I hurt you, Kelly.“
2. My responses in the initial interview continued the harm I had caused, and spread that harm to my community and to the sex education industry. My lack of an apology and framing myself as an expert was unacceptable and I’m very remorseful for how I handled the interview.
3. I was incredibly irresponsible to not already have the concept of restorative justice and formal accountability firmly in place when I posted my apology. Not having an accountability pod firmly in place, structures for transparency set up, moderation guidelines established, and a moderation team at the ready was unprofessional and harmful to my community, to my industry, and to individuals in both.
4. I was unprepared to properly moderate or have moderated the community involvement around my statement. I caused direct harm to members of the community and industry as a result.
5. I am working on realizing how my entitlement, privilege, and an incomplete understanding of consent has harmed people, in both sexual and nonsexual interactions.
6. I am making the following commitments to my community to try and heal the damage I have caused, and to work on being ethically sound in my life going forward. Some of these actions were requested by or suggested by community members and I’m very grateful for that labor and contributions. Other commitments will be added as they come up in this work.
• I will not teach on sex or consent for the time being. I will work with my accountability pod and other professionals to determine if and when I’m able to return to teaching.
• I am taking a hiatus from social media, with the exception of direct accountability.
• I will not hit on anyone or initiate sexual contact with anyone until those in my accountability pod agree that I am able to do so without replicating these harms.
• I will abstain from public drinking to make sure that I’m at my absolute clearest while relearning better consent practices and models.
• I will accept the direction of my pod while working toward greater responsibility and making amends. Kelly has a named support pod (https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10211843783552388&id=1304250324) and they have designated Tristan Taormino (name corrected Feb 28) to relay information between pods. My pod will work cooperatively with Kelly’s pod.
• I will set up regular “audits” of my learning and behavior to help make certain that I don’t cause harm like this again.
I realize that I not only violated individuals who trusted me, but violated my community’s trust as a whole. I will work diligently to repair these damages to the best of my ability and I’m committed to handling this head on. Thank you to all the community members who have helped in this process so far. I’m listening and promise to do better.
Kelly’s pod has an anonymous reporting link. Info is here for anyone who would like to submit their experiences: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10211843783552388&id=1304250324
My original apology/attempt at accountability post: https://www.facebook.com/ReidMihalko/posts/10156621224105476
Any questions can be commented here (please respect the moderation policy, posted below in the comments), can be submitted to my accountability pod: Angel Adeyoha, Alex S. Morgan, Cassandra J. Perry, Heather, and/or can be sent directly to @reidmihalko.
Much gratitude to Kelly and her support team. And many thanks to my community for their patience and generous contributions throughout this process.
Post Edit History:
May 1st, 3:38pm Pacific; Added main link for this Medium publication to make it easier for new readers to locate all updates.
Feb 28th, 5:33pm Pacific; Updated Tristan Taormino for Erin Kennedy as Kelly’s pod liaison.