Statement from Nashville ARA on Elijah Hartman

We have received messages from several concerned friends and other folx regarding Elijah Hartman and his association with ARA. Elijah was arrested on January 29th, 2018 with a charge of rape. Elijah has been an acquaintance of members of the Nashville chapter of ARA since May of 2017, and was a member for a period of time in 2017. We met at the May Day rally in Nashville last year and he expressed a desire to work with us after that. His level of involvement throughout the year we knew him was minimal and after our initial meeting he made little to no effort to put in time to working with us due to personal circumstances of his own. He came to one protest that was in his hometown of Murfreesboro, TN in October 2017.

In December, a mutual acquaintance of ours had been staying with Elijah at his residence. That person reached out to us with concerns about Elijah, stating to us that he witnessed Elijah verbally and physically abusing multiple women while he was staying there. That person asked for help and advice on how to handle the situation, and at that time we did what we thought was best for all parties and offered mediation and advice. At that time we did not know who the women were, we were not given names.

Over the course of the next few weeks our mutual friend moved out and we lost contact for some time. We then confronted Elijah about the accusations that were made against him, to which he denied everything in a way that was uncomfortable for us. We cut ties with Elijah and at that point he was kicked out of ARA.

Approximately a week before Elijah was arrested, a survivor of his abuse reached out to us through our facebook page, expressing concern for her safety and telling us that she was under the impression that he was still a member of ARA. We informed her that we had prior knowledge of the situation, that we wanted to help, and that he was kicked out of ARA. Over the course of several days we reached an agreement that mediation was necessary and made plans to take action on that mediation. Unfortunately, before a resolution could be achieved, Elijah made the choice to commit a sexual assault and the survivor reached out to us again to let us know that he had been arrested.

Since his arrest we have seen several posts on social media, some made by local members of fascist/racist groups, some made by unaffiliated individuals, accusing Nashville ARA of having ties with and supporting rapists. This is not the case. Among our beliefs and things we stand against; misogyny, violence against women and abuse of any kind is simply not tolerated. Respecting the wishes of the survivor that this stay as quiet as possible on social media we have not reacted to or commented on any Facebook posts. Her identity will not be given to anyone at any time, and we will not engage in any conversation that takes place on Facebook or other social media about this. Without a doubt the most important thing to us is the safety and well-being of survivors.