Updated Sept 24th 2020
I hope this note finds you well.
I’m sharing the contents of this note today in order to protect myself, as well as the work of cultural somatics and its community of practitioners and colleagues, from the accountability abuse and covert bullying I have been on the receiving end of over the last few years.
I highly recommend you to feel your feet and wiggle your toes before and during reading this note. This is to support your body in taking in the information in a sovereign and discerning way.
Additionally, I would like to let you know that, within this note, I link articles of mine that I feel like could help you understand in more fully understanding its contents.
I first hesitated to do this, in the fear of it being perceived as a form of manipulation. Yet I have come to terms with the reality that I am one of the few people out there that have extensively written pieces around the subjects of accountability abuse and trauma.
In fact, it has been my personal experience of accountability abuse that has prompted me to write these articles. I hope the linked pieces are supportive to you in understanding these matters as they have been to me.
Thank you for reading thus far.
The main content of this note starts below.
My experience of ‘accountability abuse’ i.e. covert bullying
For the last two years, I’ve been actively and covertly being bullied by a group of people who have been engaging in accountability abuse and smears about me in various local communities around Montreal and the general area of the Pacific North West.
This has resulted in the loss of relationships with colleagues and clients, as well as work and income that went along with those relationships, including more recently being asked to step away from facilitation at an ancestral skills gathering, after smears reached some of their stakeholders.
During this time, I’ve also suffered from debilitating chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and vertigo during this period, which has been profoundly affected by the bullying. I’m luckily more resourced, in both a psycho-emotional sense and financial sense, than other people in my community, but I know many people in my community would not have been so lucky and ended up permanently traumatized.
As I am coming out of the worst of my condition, I feel like finally have the energy to address these matters more actively and take the responsibility to protect myself and the people who are connected to my work.
I want to specify that this note is a call for accountability from those who have bullied me, with the understanding that accountability is a path to repair.
How I know that I have been a victim of ‘accountability abuse’
Here, I want to share with you how I define what has been happening to me as accountability abuse and a form of defamation.
In the more-than-a-year period of constant secretive communications of projections and fabrications about me being spread in my local communities, I have received no direct contact or engagement from any core parties about the actual claims of me, and therefore no due process, no clarification, and no attempt at verification, all the while I have suffered massive damage to my mental health and relationships.
The innate lack of transparency and accountability of these claims defines what I refer to as accountability abuse – abuses of power that happen under the pretense of holding someone accountable for harm, which in turn abuses the spirit of accountability itself.
Adding to this problematic dynamic has been that the many community members who were engaged by this campaign, many of whom are organizers with ample social capital, would tell me that they cannot share who the claimants or what the claims are because they deserve to be protected, even while they pursued or enabled actions that harm me emotionally and financially.
My feelings about this are very clear: it is problematic for people to be able to say whatever they want about others under such protective anonymity AND have their claims validated through belief and action – it creates an extremely untransparent and unaccountable dynamic that is easily manipulated. For myself, I would love to see our communities adopt a standard that claims are deemed lacking actionable validity until they are specifically backed up by information such as who is the claimant and what they are claiming AND all parties are able to respond to transparent information.
Survivors 100% deserve trauma-informed attention and be heard, that is my core belief as a therapist, but we also need to be held responsible for having courage, in order to facilitate real healing and prevent traumatic patterns causing unnecessary harm through projection and fabrication. What I have seen over and over again is that, without such responsibility, survivor support turns into codependent coddling that reifies trauma.
Identifying involved parties
One of the most regrettable aspects of the secretive yet uncontained nature of this bullying campaign has been the decentralized mob dynamic it has created. I do not have any clear insight into how far the bullying has spread or how it may spread in the future.
This has meant that my only logical method for protecting myself is to issue a public response such as this one to bring to light what is happening.
Following, attached below are the initials of some of the people that I have been able to verify to be active participants of this bullying/defamation campaign, along with my understanding of their involvement.
I have not yet made attempts of my own to contact these individuals.
The uncontained nature of their bullying means that direct mediation would not necessarily be meaningful to my primary goals for protecting my practice. Given this reality, I have decided that contacting these individuals directly for a restorative process will only mean further expended energy on my part at this very moment.
All this said I do believe every relationship we have to be redeemable. I believe in repair as a fundamental human responsibility and I am happy to engage in any restorative mediation or conflict resolution process that is well resourced by the commitment of all involved parties.
Related, my understanding of violence is that it is about much more than our individual agency or desire to cause harm. (I understand violence is an expression of the spiritual ailments that plague our collective body. You can read more about that here.)
So even while I detail the harm that was done to me by the individuals I identify below, that doesn’t mean I’ve not had pleasurable and good experiences with many of them in my relationship to them. And it certainly may be that they have been good to you if you know them personally.
Following, if this note has an impact on the lives of those who I identify, I hope that it is part of a larger process that brings them more into their essentially good nature and realign the emotional needs that have been misdirected towards me.
DC is a former housemate of mine from my time in Unceded Coast Salish Territories (so-called Vancouver), who now seems to reside in Tio’tia:ke (so-called Montreal), who I had to remove from a house for what we felt were boundary violations and behaviors such as withholding of rent and utility contributions (at the time of us going separate ways, she left an amount owing that I had to personally cover).
From the little bits I am hearing, it seems like they are fabricating, or projecting to the point of fabrication, incidents that they claim are physical and sexual assault. For the record, I’ve never been physically aggressive with them or been sexually intimate with DC.
They may also be claiming I made misogynistic comments about their lesbian sexuality, while not owning that we had a teasing dynamic where they constantly remarked about my weight and fat-shamed me.
(I should note again that part of the abusive nature of the bullying is not being able to get a clear picture of what is being said because presumably most people are told to disengage from me, resulting in a lack of clear information.)
Also, when I and DC lived together, I had confided in her about a delicate personal matter around intimacy I had with a one-time partner. I believe she is now distorting and spreading, very likely without the knowledge or consent of this one-time partner (DC never knew who this partner is and only knows about them through me), to serve her means of getting back at me.
DC also does not know about the communication I and this partner have had since nor that I was violated in my intimacy with this partner. It took me years of reflection to realize this – it isn’t necessarily easy for us men to comprehend that we can be harmed in intimacy given our socialization.
SS is a white femme writer from Tkaronto(AKA so-called Toronto) who has been reported to be ‘collecting stories’ about me. To the best of my knowledge, SS knows who I am because she majorly participated and enabled the bullying of a friend of a colleague of mine, whom I stood up for in public.
I have never had any direct personal dealings with SS so I am assuming she has somehow connected with others how have been bullying me.
HHS is a white femme somatics practitioner based in Tio’tia:ke (so-called Montreal) whom I originally met through an online radical entrepreneur incubator. We connected because she was interested in the work I was doing around healing call-out culture, specifically around how people weaponize their marginalized identities.
At the time we met she had had an explosive falling out with POC colleagues and accessed me as a colleague who can be a sounding board for processing some of the issues around that.
When HHS heard of the rumors around me that I imagine originated from DC and SS, she cut contact with me while lying that she simply didn’t have space for more friendships and that there was nothing problematic.
Since, HHS actively spread (dis)information about me, ‘warning’ other local community members, including a friend of mine, KY, who was a former client of theirs. This happened in circumstances that KY had explicitly told HHS that they still felt a strong power dynamic with HHS and that they weren’t fully transitioned into being in an equitable friend-colleague relationship.
KY later realized that this was an abuse of power by HHS and wrote her a letter breaking down the issues with HHS’s abuse of power and bullying of me. HHS’s responded by denying KY was ever her client even though KY had been in over 30 group sessions with her and done 3 private sessions, including 2 conflict mediation sessions.
Here are some of the people who have either propagated, enabled, or mishandled the bullying through misuse of their power as community organizers.
RL is an Asian photographer based in Tio’tia:ke (so-called Montreal) that runs a local Facebook group for ‘artsy’ or ‘alternative’ Asians of which I was briefly a member of.
RL made the following post without ever consulting me:
“Dear Asiancy, especially those that were present at yesterday’s dim sum. It was brought to my attention that one of the attendees and Asiancy member (ex by now), Tada Hozumi, has had a very problematic past in the form of physical and sexual assault, directly and indirectly related to one of our members back in Vancouver. Therefore I suggest that we all remove him from our FB and personal circle. We strive to make this group a safe and inclusive environment and will not tolerate any kind of abusive behaviour, past and present.”
My friend KY mentioned earlier, informed me later of the post and screen-capped it for me.
KY also confirmed that DC was a part of the group. (DC was not originally visible to me because she had me blocked.)
Here is RL’s response to an email I sent about the matter in which he essentially admits that he did not care about the truth of the story and that he willfully participated in defamation.
“I have to say that this is a surprise. I appreciate that you want to tell your side of the story, and I am grateful to have heard it. I’m afraid it is not up to me to decide what really happened between you and your accuser, and whether you’re in fact guilty of the other misconducts you’ve been accused of. My sole concern and responsibility, as the administrator of the private FB group Asiancy, is to make sure that our existing members, and friends, are feeling safe in our group and at our activities.
When the issues with you were brought to my attention, as you have understood, it was important for me to make a quick decision as to protect our existing members, to avoid any further unwanted contact. I passed on the information that I was told about you, again the intension was not for us to come up with the verdict but to merely inform others about the situation with an urgency.
I personally have no reason to doubt what I have been told about you, nor it is in my interest to launch an investigation into what exactly happened or to have a hearing about your defence. Your accuser has been a member since the beginning, you just joined. Keep in mind Asiancy is a private social group, a group created for like-minded people to come together and socialize, a group for fun.
I suggest you either pursuit a conversation with your accuser directly (if they would choose to do so), or frankly, just move on. I understand that you are concerned about your reputation, and I personally am not invested in trying to smear it, but do understand that in a small private group setting such as this case, I need to believe the victim until proven otherwise. I understand that you have your side of the story, and it’s unfortunate that whatever happened were never resolved.”
DL (DLL on Facebook) is a WOC facilitator based in Tio’tia:ke (so-called Montreal) engaged in local conversations around subjects such as restorative justice by hosting workshops as well as running a well-known podcast, CC (acronym).
DL and I were becoming friends when she first heard the rumors about me via the ASIANCY Facebook group. Her immediate response was to contact ‘my accuser’ and publicly validate their claims on the OP by RL without even consulting me.
DL’s next step was trying to engage me in an ‘accountability process’ with me about the matter. She approached me along with PC, a collaborator of hers from CC and common friend/acquaintance, through an email.
DL, PC, and I subsequently went back and forth in a few emails.
In one instance, I explicitly communicated to both of them that I was emphatically open to the process, but if DC is at all involved, there needs to be much better containment around the issue.
DL responded to this by saying: “You do not get the same level of trust and/or power in this process and shouldn’t, compared to person(s) who have been harmed and/or from people like us who have lived experiences of harm, who are trying to give you space to make amends.”
I felt this was inherently violent and made the determination that DL was too emotionally entangled in the matter and could not hold a good container for any kind of restorative justice process.
When at a later date I told her that I finally felt safe to engage with her about the subject, DL effectively brushed off her responsibility, claiming she has moved on, even though she had made public statements in the ASIANCY group that validated a defamatory claim that never went through any due process, while claiming her expertise at restorative justice.
PC is a WOC therapist based in Tio’tia:ke (so-called Montreal). She is active in the local community by hosting well-known podcast CC as well as running a FB support local group which has 1000+ members.
I reached out to PC to speak about the issues raised by DL. In these exchanges I felt that PC was mostly supportive and able to hold a level of understanding around the subject, including the reactivity that was a part of DC’s history with me.
When DL refused to take accountability for their abuse of power, I brought forth to PC that they and DL were mutually accountable to address the issue – they had approached me together and the social capital/power they have been accessing to engage in the ‘accountability process’ with me stems from their mutual work.
At this point PC disengaged from me, upholding DL’s right to her ‘boundaries’, despite the fact that DL’s boundaries were set in a way that shielded them from being accountable for her abuse of power.
Since I have had some nominal contact with PC through an email exchange where there has been some review of what happened. As of the time of writing, I do not feel confident that PC fully understands the abuse that she enabled.
UPDATE (Sept 2020): PC and I have had some more recent conversations where we reviewed the issues at hand in a better way, including the recognition that there are fundamentally abusive dynamics I was being victimized by. I hope to provide more information on the matter going forward. I also would like to note that I feel PC has been the only person who I’ve engaged in any ‘accountability process’ regarding this matter that I have felt has shown flexibility and humility to keep learning as things come up.
MC is a white femme based in Unceded Coast Salish Territories and operates an ancestral skills gathering.
I was invited by MC to the 2018 event and had been asked again to lead workshops at the 2020 gathering. I had also developed a colleague and friend relationship with MC over the last year and have casually advised her on the operations of the Gathering from time to time.
In February 2020, MC received inquiries about the claims that have been circulating about me via other facilitators. She communicated this concern to me and my response was to put out a Facebook post that I made to give a summary of the bullying I have been experiencing and solicit information about what is being said by who.
In response to my public post, MC asked me to immediately and unilaterally step away from the gathering, claiming my post was not in alignment with the ethics of her gathering and that she wanted the people bringing the claims to feel heard.
Although I do not see MC’s actions as a direct propagation of the bullying, I have felt it has been a type of enabling stemming from a lack of cooperation, transparency and due process, driven by urgency.
While I do understand these are never easy situations for organizers, I do believe MC has handled matters related to me to be out of alignment with the values of the workshop that I was asked to offer the gathering in the first place, which would have revolved around the subjects of community-based justice and trauma, and therefore my stance, for now, is that I have un-endorsed the gathering.
Update: MC and I are in communication now and and there is the possibility of an accountability process coming together, which I will keep updating on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this note. I understand it may have taken valuable time and energy on your part to do so.
Here, there may be some questions here about what you can do if you find someone engaging in this bullying campaign knowingly or unwittingly.
In response to that, I don’t need anything done for me that doesn’t hold the people I identify in their essential goodness. I certainly have no wish to send my own attacking mob, that is co-dependently bonded with me, after involved parties. That would be out of the spirit of this public statement and I would denounce such a thing myself if I learn of it.
BUT I also want to be clear that I want you to challenge them and question the decisions they made. After all, they aren’t accountable to just me – they are accountable to you and the community at large for the actions that have lived through them.
Also, if you feel like you would like to touch base with me about any issues this may have raised, such as stories you’ve heard or doubts about my character that has been raised for you personally, please feel free to reach out via email. I am always happy to clear up outstanding issues and be as transparent as I can.
Finally, the above note does not mean I haven’t had to do accountability work for myself. I’ve always been open and transparent about this, especially as I do sensitive work around restorative justice and violence. If you would like to know more, please feel free to read this accountability statement that is publicly viewable on my professional website.
Thank you again,