Everyday Abolition | Abolition Everyday Interview with Corrine
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Corrine: My name is Corinne. I am a black, queer, femme sex worker, and I am a prison abolitionist.
So I wanted to start off by asking you how you thought your abolitionist politics have informed how you handle conflict and harm, and if you could give an example or tell a short story of a specific time where you responded to something and realized that it was informed by your politics of PIC abolition.
Corinne: Sure thing. So I think that, I guess the way that my abolitionist politics have informed how I handle conflict is that, I mean the major thing is that I don’t call the cops. I usually think in situations and encourage other people to think in situations if adding the cops will actually help the situation and get the outcome that they want, so to be clear about the outcome that they want. And yeah, just to see if that’s actually something that, you know, is desired. I think about this woman who essentially, she was having a violent incident with her son, and she was trying to figure out whether or nor to call the cops, and I was like, “okay, well, do you want your son to go to jail? ‘Cuz that’s probably what will happen. If that’s the case, if the cops are called and, you know, that’s not something that you want, then maybe you need to try something else. Even though you do feel like you’re in danger, and something needs to happen, it might not be calling the cops.”
Even though that’s kind of like, we’re taught to have that as a knee-jerk reaction.
I also think of another story in my own personal life where I have been in a really violent situation but, you know, chose to do something that I guess is not the knee-jerk reaction that we’re taught, which is calling the cops, and even though, you know, I felt unsafe and I felt like I needed to be—like that situation needed to end, I knew that calling the cops wasn’t the way that I wanted it to end and that wasn’t going to yield the kind of results that I needed. So the example is that I was attacked by my father, he is physically abusive and has been for most of my life. And this was actually—I was an adult when this particular incident happened, the most recent incident. So I was in a different position of power, I think, being fully grown. And, you know, I just–in the face of his violence, I tried to have him—like, call attention to what he was actually doing, because we were in public. And I was like, “look…” You know, although I was really angry at him, I was able to articulate, “you are making a scene, you know. You look like… People…” Not to… I don’t know how to say this (laughs). But basically I was trying to call attention to how he was acting and that the way he was acting would have cops there really shortly, and that if he didn’t want that to happen, that, you know, he should calm down. Even if it wasn’t enough for him to calm down because I was asking him to, or because he was being violent and unreasonable. And so yeah, I realized afterwards… I also took my sister out of the situation. She was, I guess, also on the receiving end of his violence, and so I just made sure that she had everything that she needed, that I had everything that I needed, and we left the situation. And he ended up leaving the situation as well and not following us, but going his separate way. And I realized afterwards that what I needed was to be safe, and to feel safe, and for my sister to feel safe, and so I was able to take her out of the situation and do that. And I also wanted my dad not to, you know, be harassed or brutalized by cops and put in prison, because, you know, that’s also not helping the situation. Because I feel like, you know, causing more harm to my father is not going to have him cause less harm in my life and in my sister’s life. I’m much more invested in him healing, and I know that prisons are not a space where that is encouraged to happen.
Thank you to Jed Walsh for transcribing