The group working on this article was formed from a ‘process’ or ‘community’ group who have been working collectively to address the issues laid out in the open letter. We began meeting once every two weeks beginning in September 2015 and have been meeting for about two years to work through these as a group. Later in the process we made the decision to begin thinking about functioning in an open facing way so that the left could benefit from what we believe are some of the useful conversations we have been having to help ourselves deal with what happened in our circles. We think this article, which won’t be all encompassing, could be one contribution to the much needed discourse on sexual violence on the left.

What follows are our responses to the three questions which are outlined in the original letter which was distributed to us. These provided a focus for our discussions. It was to the benefit of the process that the original questions posed to us by the support group provided such a good lens for exploring the issue of sexual violence. As such, the clarity of these questions made our task relatively simple and straightforward.

>> What factors prevent victims from sharing their experience, asking for support, or leaving the threatening situation they are in?

>> What factors in the social and political context support abusive and exploitative behaviour?

>> What structures need to be built up in order to prevent future incidents of sexualised violence and to support and empower people who were sexually violated?

>> Limiting factors

>> Challenging the assumptions that protect perpetrators