Relational Security and Healing

Something we often don’t think or talk about as a part of security but is a central part of reducing the risks from  disruptive behavior is healing and repairing harm that has been done. It is important to recognize this harm both because of our values in supporting each other as whole human beings, and also because it can deeply affect our organizing. It can show up in many ways, some that might be difficult to recognize at first. Just because we can’t see an injury with our eyes doesn’t mean someone has been deeply wounded and hurt. Often if we look closely at how someone is behaving or reacting in a situation we can start to visiblize and value emotional and mental harm and healing.  

If someone has a broken leg, we would not require them to run a long marathon, especially without the support to do so. It is the same if someone has been emotionally or mentally injured. They need time to rest, find relief and heal. They need extra support while they are still in that healing process and harm done to them is being addressed and repaired. The whole group also needs to acknowledge when harm is done and people need to heal. This acknowledgement should lead to a shift in our practices and culture to support the full healing and repair of everyone involved. It is important to remember that healing and repair will look different in different situations  and that everyone will have specific needs. This kind of work can’t be a simple pre-thought out plan but needs to relate to what each person needs.

Processes of healing and repair around harm also provide us the opportunity to strengthen our relationships,  deal with issues we have put on the backburner or that have gone unspoken and are impacting the functioning of our group, and to re-evaluate how we are engaging in oppressive power dynamics within our organization and organizing. 

Some questions to think about and discuss as a organization or a group of comrades around healing and repairing harm:

*What does individual healing take?

*What does organizational healing look like?

*What supports outside your organization or group exist that could be accessed?

*Could you create a set of organizational resources to do this work? What would that look like?