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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
The full story of what transpired on June 21st. 
9th-Jul-2014 08:09 am
Illyana/soulsword
This post is the rest of the story about my violent rapist attempting to violate his restraining order to attend an annual party I always attend, while my foot was broken. Please read that post first.

Several people here and on Facebook noticed that I left out something big: the hosts' response. I stated everywhere I was asked that this was an open-invite party, that I was sure he had not been specifically invited (as he has not been invited to any invite-only parties within the community), and that the hosts were looking into it in order to make decisions in the future (which is why I've been silent on the topic, to give them space to do so). I extended the full benefit of the doubt and expected a logical result.

I was wrong.

I did get part of that - they banned Judah, but only after hearing from multiple other people that he had "creeped on" them in the past, thereby establishing the pattern I'd been pointing at all along. But I find it telling that that's the reason. I find it interesting that one rape isn't enough to ban someone for.

How many rapes is enough? Does the rapist get to rack up a few more if they're cute? Because the party hosts have publicly declared that they ban all rapists, but the ones I know about aren't cute. Reads to me like Readercon's situation enforcing a ban against one creeper no one liked and choosing to not enforce a ban on a creeper they were friends with.

It reminds me very much of that.

I posted a later post debunking that this was a me vs. hosts thing. At that point, I thought that was true. I now know where that idea came from - it came from sunspiral and roozle making it me vs. them.

So this all becomes the story of Scott Lefton and Rachel Silber making my rape, my assault, and my fear for my life and wellbeing on that day All About Them.

Scott posted his new party rules yesterday. Many people noticed something interesting, and it's this specifically: the post, as written, defends against people protecting themselves while making no statement about not breaking laws. It makes their parties look more welcoming to rapists than to people who are afraid of encountering rapists.

In other words, calling the police as prescribed to enforce a restraining order is much, much worse than rape, assault and battery, and animal cruelty.

As I've spoken to people offline about this, I've underlined again and again that all I want is for people to be able to make an informed decision as to whether they want to be in the presence of a rapist. Scott and Rachel's prior message of "we ban all rapists" made many survivors feel safe. Knowing that they don't ban all rapists is important information. Knowing that they are deeply against the enforcing of restraining orders is also information. I know that Scott's post will guide many of us in our decisions whether to attend his functions. I genuinely thank him for that. All I wanted was for people to be aware of what their policies actually are.

So let's break down the timeline here.

At pretty much exactly 7pm, I am inundated with text messages and Gchat telling me that he's there. I start shaking; my heart starts pounding. This is the first time he's tried to hunt me down. I respond with "I thought he was banned! Do Scott & Rachel know he's there?" People promise to tell them. I wait, violently nauseous and very afraid. People get back to me: "They say that they'd ask him to leave if you were there."

Me: "But... he's a known rapist who preys on young women at their party. Why is he not banned."

Everyone: "We have no clue but they won't ask him to leave unless you're there."

(I'm paraphrasing. Screencaps and shots of my phone are available, and will almost certainly be used as evidence in the trial.)

I talk - actually on the phone, which should tell you the state I'm in - to two trusted people, which helps a little. Time is ticking by and Judah is still there. Time is ticking by and Judah's next victim is there. Time is ticking by and the only thing that will keep my rapist from raping some girl he finds there tonight is me showing up at the party. (In my triggered mind.)

Remember that I am in extreme neck/shoulder/upper back pain, btw. Which is the only reason I didn't go. Which no one knew.

I get dressed. I text party host Rachel "On my way with the restraining order." To give her time to clear him out of there. I was told that's what it would take, so that's what I did.

image

(I texted another person, not a host, that this would involve police, because it would if Judah refused to leave. I chose that person deliberately as I had wondered if they were aiding and abetting Judah. I was right.)

I picked up the phone to call a cab - and my hands were shaking too much to dial. I sat down. I struggled to breathe. I thought things through.

I decided that I could not walk into that party at that time and look into his cold, vicious eyes. That that would do more harm to me than good. Even though it would help others. I chose to put my own oxygen mask on first, as I say. And I still feel shitty about that. I still feel like I should have been able to charge in and fix it. But doing so would have ripped me to shreds even more.

So I chose to stay home.

Here's drwex's post about that day, which starts to show the Lefton/Silber false reality being constructed.

And here's a thing: "My understanding is that he cleared this with the hosts beforehand; my understanding is that the hosts assumed Song would not be present, though they didn't speak to her directly."

I don't know if this actually happened. As Wex said, the hosts never spoke to me directly. Personally, if I knew about a situation like this, if the restraining order was for something much lighter, not assault and battery (because anyone who has an RO against them for violent behavior is not welcome at my house, PERIOD), and the offender called asking if his victim would be there...

I would not tell him no without contacting the victim in any way to find out. Especially since, in over 7 years, the victim has only missed one of this set of parties, and was seen on social media working out her ride to the party. The default assumption would have been, should have been, that I was coming. Scott and Rachel claim that they were told I wasn't - but given that I only made that decision at 2, and only told my ride, who did not tell Scott and Rachel, I find that not very believable.

The second interesting bit of evidence of lies on the part of the hosts is here.

"uh, when the guest isnt there, and the hosts are asking the person named to leave, and that person is doing so, threatening to show up at someone's home with the police is over the line. it was being dealt with, the person was leaving, and at that point it was clearly about making a point and not caring at all about the home owners."

Judah was not asked to leave until I texted Rachel. So the story being bruited about is that the hosts were handling it and that I escalated unnecessarily. The timeline does not support this lie in any way. (I also want to point out the difference between "On my way with the restraining order" and "I'm calling the cops on you, the hosts," because that is a BIG DIFFERENCE. They're claiming the latter. It was the former.)

And that last sentence - let's look at that. If my goal had been to make a point and I had not cared about the homeowners, I would not have texted them. I texted them to give them - and Judah - time to decide whether he should stay or go. If my goal had been to bring the cops to the party, I would have shown up with the cops. So clearly that was not my goal. My goal was to get Judah to leave, which I had been told could only be accomplished by me being there.

So I texted.

And Scott went up to Judah and told him he had to leave... and told him that he was always welcome in their house. A sentiment he shared with others who were curious about what he was telling him.

I became aware of all of this later. What I knew that night was that they would be investigating and might change their policies in the future. I know that many attendees were distressed to see a rapist at the party and communicated that distress to them; I've been told that they interpreted that as being under attack and as me bringing the internet down on their heads. Which is patently ridiculous, given that I had publicly given them the benefit of the doubt every step of the way, I had not named them, and I had not let anyone theorize about what was going on in their heads.

During their "investigation", they sent me nastygrams that showed that they were focused on the utterly imaginary idea that I was calling the cops on them to the exclusion of much else. However, the preponderance of "WE ARE NOT OKAY WITH THIS RAPIST BEING AT PARTIES" did lead them to ban him.

minkrose, who has seen much more of this stuff than most anyone else, wrote about why she does not want to be around Judah Sher. She wrote that the day Scott and Rachel were due to call her. That week put a lot of stress on all of the people who've had to deal with Judah.

Caution: Rape apologism in the comments.

My pull quote from this on Facebook: "I think Judah is sick of there being consequences for his actions. I think he feels that a year is long enough, and now he gets to have whatever he wants from our community back in his life, no questions asked, no remorse demonstrated, and no improvements or changes required. When I last spoke to him, a year ago, he acted very put-upon, as if this was all something that was being done to him, that he didn’t really understand why it was happening. He wanted pity, and sympathy, and I refused to give that to him, and I cut off contact.
"I would feel better about this if Judah demonstrated steps to improve or change his behavior, but I haven’t[sic]."

So. Multiple people had issues with Judah's attendance and said so. I'm told that that made the hosts feel attacked, and that's why they attacked me. I can only reiterate that I am not responsible for the actions of others; the only actions I am responsible for are my own. (I find it interesting that they say attacked, given that I'm the one who got beaten up.)

But the fact of the matter here is that Scott and Rachel find the enforcement of a restraining order on their property to be worse than rape. Were I them, my solution to that would be to not allow people who have restraining orders against them onto my property. Clearly they've made a different choice.

Geek Social Fallacies writ large.

During the course of this, I've spoken to several people about it. Some have said "You can't expect concom rules at a house party." I don't, at all. My view has been all along that if your vocal public policy has been "we ban rapists", you are telling your guests that your party is rapist-free (to the best of your knowledge). If that policy changes, you owe it to your attendees to let them know so that they can make an informed decision about their attendance.

I'm no longer invited because of my imaginary "threat to call the police".

But I decided weeks ago that I would never attend one of their parties again. I decided it when their emissary sat across from me in a restaurant and told me that they were banning Judah, not because he raped and assaulted me and has been abusive to other party attendees in the past, but because they'd heard from too many others that he has a pattern of being sexually inappropriate towards them. Hearing it from me wasn't enough; they had to hear it from unknown numbers of other people.

One known and confessed-to rape was not enough to alter his welcome at Scott and Rachel's parties.

How many rapes do you think is too many?
Comments 
9th-Jul-2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
I'm reproducing my comment on Scott's LJ here, as I believe he'll likely delete it.

----
(Summation of the background here: I'm always at the party, my rapist (Judah Sher) knows that and attended anyway, disregarding the restraining order I have against him. I was *not* there, for only the second time in 7+ years, but nobody knew that I'd decided not to attend, as evidenced by the cavalcade of texts and Gchats I got. I was told by multiple people that my rapist, who uses these parties to find victims, would not be asked to leave unless I was there with my restraining order. I texted "On my way with the restraining order." That's when he was told to leave. No police threats were ever issued. The police do obviously have to be called if my rapist assaults me instead of leaving. But I did everything in my power to keep that from happening. Having the police there would probably mean additional broken bones for me, in addition to the emotional trauma. No one but Judah wants that.)

Scott, I would like to thank you for stating your policies so clearly. This will sound like sarcasm, but it genuinely isn't. All I have wanted over the course of this is for attendees to have the ability to make an informed decision about whether to interact with known rapists.

This post, as written, warns against people protecting themselves while making no statement about not breaking laws (such as violating a restraining order or, indeed, sexual assault). It makes your parties look more welcoming to rapists than to people who are afraid of encountering rapists.

Calling the police for a violation of a restraining order by a violent rapist is, according to this post, worse than rape. Obviously my views on this are different.

I had already decided that I did not feel safe at your parties and would not be attending them in the future, given that your reason for banning a known rapist was not that he was a known rapist, but that he made other people uncomfortable. If you declare, as you have, that one rape is not enough for you to rescind an invitation or warn attendees, I cannot feel safe at your parties again. I appreciate you posting so plainly that this is your policy (given that it's a large alteration from your previous "ban all rapists" policy) so that others can make a likewise informed decision. Thank you.

(I will not be responding to comments in this thread. My full post about this matter is here. You may comment there, but please understand that this is an emotionally difficult topic; also that I am very busy this week and I didn't have time for this stuff to begin with.)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jul-2014 01:22 pm (UTC)
1. I'm both sad and glad to find that my gut reaction to making the acquaintance of Scott, many years ago, of AVOID AVOID AVOID was correct.

2. I find it interesting that they characterize the only acceptable time to call the police being "an immediately life-threatening situation". Because, oddly enough, the whole POINT of restraining orders is that one feels that if one is in the presence of the person against whom the restraining order is held, ONE IS IN IMMEDIATELY LIFE-THREATENING DANGER. I can think of a few restraining orders obtained by women I know who got them not because they feared for themselves, but for their kids, but in general, restraining orders are a talisman against unpredictable violence.

I am incensed that the impression they give is that they do not consider a restraining order violation an immediately life-threatening danger. Oh, sure, let the hosts know, when they're diddling around on the far side of the party -- plenty of time for assault/battery/murder/etc. Fuck that shit. If I have a restraining order against someone and that someone willfully and knowingly violates it, then I am in immediately life-threatening danger, and the hosts can SUCK IT, because there are very few people I would trust to respond quickly enough to keep me safe. (And, frankly, would not trust the police to do so either.)

3. In short, fuck them, fuck their parties, and fuck everyone who rolls out rape apologism in the form of COMPARING A RESTRAINING ORDER VIOLATION TO THEIR CHILD MISBEHAVING WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK.

Going off to do work now, because my pressure is up, I tell you what, and I am very self-congratulatory about being a fucking hermit.
9th-Jul-2014 02:33 pm (UTC) - Excuse me
I believe I'm the person you are accusing of rape apologism and, since you want to use that sort of language, fuck off. You're not only wrong, you're aggressively misinterpreting.

If you'd like to engage without the textually shouted vulgarities I'll be happy to respond.
9th-Jul-2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
I'm no longer invited because of my imaginary "threat to call the police".

Wait, you were explicitly disinvited? I saw the post about Judah being banned, didn't see one about you. :/
9th-Jul-2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
I was about to say the same thing.
9th-Jul-2014 01:46 pm (UTC)
From Scott's comments on his own post: "Prior to this incident, our model for how to deal with restraining orders was simply to keep the people involved from being at the party simultaneously."

Um, whoa. That's...ugh.
9th-Jul-2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
Emily Post has always strongly advised hosts to never have a rapist and a victim at the same event. It's nearly as much of a faux pas as using the wrong fork.

(Seriously, I'd missed that comment while reading the thread the first time, and "ugh" sums it up.)
9th-Jul-2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
a) What the fucking fuck.
b) I read those "party rules" and seriously, they are hilariously slanted in all the wrong ways it's just... ugh.
c) The note about why you're being asked to stay away says so much. How dare you be ready to do what, basically, you're legally required to do to prevent harm to yourself (or others!) but hey, until a giant public outcry happens, this here rapist is totally welcome.

Good fucking times.
9th-Jul-2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
When I read future comments (specifically, the bit noting, to paraphrase, "I don't like cops and my friends have had bad experiences with them") I mean... it reads so much like he's being personally offended that the cops are showing up at his house despite the fact that they're not being called on him.

Also, being willing to protect someone who would be violating a RO from the consequences of that action, yay.
9th-Jul-2014 02:25 pm (UTC)
Things like this blow my fucking mind (I will probably be swearing a lot because this shit makes my head hurt SO MUCH).

Judah raped you.

Who the fuck would want a rapist around them, for ANY reason, let alone at a party?

More specifically, who the fuck could remain friends with someone who had raped someone?

Even more specifically, who the fuck could remain friends with someone who had raped another friend of theirs?!?!

The fuck is this shit?!?

And oh hell yes, rapists seem to think that once "time" has passed, all should be forgiven and we should all just get over it. It reminds me of that moment several years ago when I went to Facebook to find a friend request from the guy who had raped me when I was 21. Fucking hell.

And you know, I will be honest and say I don't care about restorative justice - I don't care if the guy became a saint. That doesn't entitle him to expect his victim to just "get over it."
9th-Jul-2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
All of this.

Even if there is a restorative justice process, which I think won't happen because he won't take responsibility for his actions, I cannot foresee ever feeling safe in the same room as him.

If that - and, hell, this post - cost me friends, then those weren't really my friends, and I don't want them.
9th-Jul-2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
So, I have nothing useful to add with respect to the event itself, but wanted to say that I'm listening, and that while of course it's very uncomfortable to listen to* I have been consistently admiring and continue to admire the clarity of your writing about your experiences with and surrounding Judah.

You both document the "objective" events and clearly state your own feelings, experiences, judgments, desires, and other "subjective" elements without letting the one obscure or displace the other. It's a very rare and (IMHO) extremely valuable stance, and I hope (and tentatively expect) that the way you're modelling it will make it less rare in the future.

All of which I suspect you know perfectly well, but I figure sometimes it helps to hear other people say stuff we know perfectly well.


* Just to be clear, that's in no way a complaint or a criticism or even a particularly important fact. It just is, in large part because I've been fortunate enough not to have to deal with this sort of thing to any significant extent in my own life. And of course it's (literally) incomparably worse from your end, in ways I (again literally) cannot imagine.
9th-Jul-2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
You both document the "objective" events and clearly state your own feelings, experiences, judgments, desires, and other "subjective" elements without letting the one obscure or displace the other. It's a very rare and (IMHO) extremely valuable stance, and I hope (and tentatively expect) that the way you're modelling it will make it less rare in the future.

Thank you; I very much appreciate you noticing and saying that. I've been doing my very best to do so, but I'm never sure how well I'm managing it because, well, it's really hard and I am attempting it through a lot of fear and pain.

(And I totally understand your use of uncomfortable, and thank you for your willingness to listen regardless.)
9th-Jul-2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
The absolute ever loving fuck?

I am glad we haven't ever been able to make it to one of these parties. For stupidly wrong reasons, I am also glad I am married to a 6' 3" man who commands fandom respect and is known to be so monogamous he shouts square, as it keeps bad attention away from me.

I've been reading each post as you write it and am in awe of your ability to get through this standing. If you ever want a cozy Friday night dinner and a cute baby to play with, just let us know. I am good at the whole making food for people with complicated diets thing, as ladymondegreen can attest.
9th-Jul-2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
I read this whole thing, and I'm appalled at the hosts' response to the situation. "How many rapes is too many" really does seem to be the question. He's an admitted rapist - that's not enough for them?

I'm sorry you are continuing to have to deal with Judah and situations like these.
9th-Jul-2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Shadesong, I don't know you and I missed everything that happened last year because I happened to be Internetless at the time, but wanted to tell you that you have my support, if you need/want it. I've deal with sexual inappropriateness before and I know how difficult it can be to be around the perpetrator. There is, of course, a story to that, one that I'm not going to go into here - I just wanted to say that your reaction seems very much to be a very sensible one and I hope things get easier for you in the coming months.
9th-Jul-2014 03:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I do have a restraining order against him, so I shouldn't *have* to be around him (except at the trial)... but, well, people who'll violate one boundary will violate more.

I'm sorry that this is a thing we have in common. Thank you for your well-wishes.
9th-Jul-2014 03:44 pm (UTC)
Many things make me WTF here, but I am most flummoxed over the calling the cops in someone's home business. Do people not understand that him simply being in your vicinity is in fact an active crime he is committing? That it is a violent, intentional act unto itself? He doesn't need to be there AND advance toward you for it to be a violent, illegal crime?

The whole idea that they're even OK with him being present is just disgusting unto itself. I guess one rape isn't enough.
9th-Jul-2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
They don't see it that way.

This baffles me as well.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jul-2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
Reading and listening.

I do think that this party policy of "talk to the hosts before you call the cops" (unless imminent danger, but dude isn't that why people get restraining orders? LOGIC) is really effed. Being a Baltimorean newly moved to DC suburbs, the likelihood that I would ever go to one of these parties is slim to none, but I would very much think twice before I went to a party whose policies were more concerned with letting an abuser leave before the police show up than keeping the abuser out in the first place.

Edited at 2014-07-09 04:30 pm (UTC)
9th-Jul-2014 04:32 pm (UTC)
unless imminent danger, but dude isn't that why people get restraining orders? LOGIC

This is a part that some people don't want to wrap their heads around, IMO - that if a violent offender is breaking an RO, by default that means that their victim is in imminent danger. The judge determined that he was a danger to me, else the RO wouldn't have been granted.
9th-Jul-2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
I've been following this today - I'm just sick thinking about it. I wouldn't have thought that "People who my friends have restraining orders against aren't welcome at my house" would be a controversial position, but apparently it is.
9th-Jul-2014 07:52 pm (UTC)
Exactly this.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jul-2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
Your comment there is great. Thank you.
9th-Jul-2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
WTF? I'm 3000+ miles away, and we've never met f2f, but I'm furious for you.

I spent part of yesterday warning some east coast friends about a guy who'd done much less than rape... Clearly explaining that someone who'd groped a 18 year old in my presence (he was late 30s and not wasted) without permission was probably not a good person to invite into our SCA clan. Unless he's changed significantly in the 8 years since I last saw him, he's a few drinks away from potentially committing rape. And during the groping incident, I had to tell him to back the fuck off, as her reaction wasn't enough for him to stop.

You did the right thing and continue to do so, in spite of how hard it clearly is.
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