Statement from Survivor A and Survivor B
We would like to publish openly this statement in response to an anonymous blog by a whistle-blower which came out on Saturday, 8th February 2020, about our experience with sexual harassment and bullying at UCU. Our statement is also partly about clarifying a response that has come out from one of the other survivors from harassment by the same person within the SWP but who was not part of the relevant UCU case, and cannot otherwise fully represent the events and experiences around this case. We have not been, nor are we now associated with any groups from the Union.
This is also our personal plea to General Secretary Jo Grady and the NEC as democratically elected officials to support action to change the Union’s processes for dealing with sexual harassment within and through its ranks.
We were at the core of the Union complaint lodged under Rule 13. This was an extremely stressful and prolonged process which was not helped by the difficult procedure under Rule 13, and it was made unbearable by the fact that the abuser was able to use the process and his UCU and SWP friends at local, regional and national level to further the abuse through silencing and ostracising us.
While the hearing at UCU Headquarters was the most supportive aspect of the process we went through, we were let down by some members of UCU Left alongside some other influential leaders of the Union. We hope that UCU members and UCU activists will make up their minds after they have been given the facts, some detailed in the anonymous blog and some available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/761736/D.31-37-18-19.pdf.
Unfortunately, we cannot disclose more information as the Rule 13 process is confidential, which is one of its core deficiencies when it comes to protecting future victims, and indeed further victimisation. Suffice it to say that throughout this process a number of the abuser’s supporters were either from UCU Left, or gravitated around UCU Left, with some openly named in the documents above as his official representatives. At no time have those who supported or represented him tried to reach out to any of us and apologised for their actions. And, we still fear silencing, victim-blaming, disbelief, intimidation, and threats of legal actions, all of which we have already experienced from his circles of supporters. Structural violence like this was much harder to fight against than that of any individual.
We are no longer activists at UCU. But we stay actively devoted to transparency, democracy and resistance to any force or structure that oppresses. We remain strong in support of these values, and condemn the behaviours and attitudes of some UCU leaders and members of the influential UCU Left. Since those people are still in leading positions in the organisation, we cannot help but consider their attitude as expressing the position of their associated factions. It would be naïve not to see that connection especially in the context of SWP’s history of dealing with sexual harassment. Therefore, we personally do not support their re-election. What we do support however, is structural change in the Union and a real action both to investigate properly such cases and to support the victims involved so they can speak out the truth without fear.
Finally, our hearts go with the other survivors in this case who feel awful right now, and who are far away from us. We hope that ultimately this case will help change the experience for all of us for the better.
Follow-up, 25th February: https://survivorsrule13metooucu.law.blog/to-ucu-members/