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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
The last of my gathered thoughts on last week 
14th-Jul-2014 08:16 am
* To highlight a good discussion in the comments: The hosts banned previous people after a pattern of years of sexual harassment and assault, and stated that my known rapist seemed like a danger only to me, despite his years of escalation; they banned him only after an unknown number of people complained about his presence. They banned me for saying, one time, in a text to someone else, that police presence would be a consequence of Judah breaking the restraining order I have against him. This shows an interesting set of priorities that does not go with mine, and it shows a history of said priorities.

* In the conversations at Wex's, we've been saying that the goal is a safer and healthier community. Just like Judah has to take responsibility for his actions before we can look at the restorative justice model at all, Scott has to take responsibility for his before that discussion can really include him or his gatherings. (I am not saying the latter behaviors are anywhere near as bad as the former; they are absolutely not. But people must own their behavior.)

* I cannot take part in discussions that are specific to mending Scott's relationship with the community. Not without an apology and a serious discussion. As the wounded party here, it is not my primary responsibility to patch up a branch of the community that has wounded me. My primary responsibility is healing and restructuring, which is why I hope this can be the last post I write on this for a good long time. This is not a flounce. This is a rape survivor needing to exercise self-care.

* When other people are discussing this and trying to divert it into "but what if someone's only a little bit creepy, we don't want to ostracize people," remember that that is not this situation. This is a violent rapist with a history of domestic violence and animal abuse breaking his restraining order, which he received for assault and battery. This is a person who heard "we are not going to have sex again because of your actions and probable STI status," lulled me into a false sense of security so I would take my heavy sedatives for sleep, and proceeded to penetrate me while I was unconscious. We're not talking about people who are clueless about social skills here. Don't let the conversation get derailed, those of you who are up to having it.

* Speaking of diversions, a certain commenter that a lot of you have had trouble with due to her victim-blaming has a well-known and well-documented crush on Judah. I don't know if they've already had sex, I don't care, I don't want to know. But when she offers you "more data", she is offering you the set of lies she has constructed in order (possibly with Judah's assistance) to make it okay that she wants to have sex with my rapist. Consider the source. Consider the motive. And yes, the fact that she's the long-term partner of one of the hosts should be considered in his responses, I think. (And this is what we see in victim-blaming; people not wanting to accept that someone they like/want could be a rapist, because if so, it'll make them look bad for being friends with/having sex with them. So they deny.)

* (Someone asked if this would make Arisia weird, given that we're all on staff. I don't believe so. We're all in different areas, and Arisia staff = over 100 people. Neither host has ever requested a Lit or Media track panel, and honestly I'm not sure what they do because track management is a big job so I keep my eyes on my own paper. But my chain of command is me -> Head of Programming -> Conchair, and they are in neither of those positions.)

* The goal is a safer and healthier community. The Boston geek/poly/whatever community is not a monolith; it is a Venn diagram. The hosts were only ever a tiny slice of that for me, with minimal overlap; I attended their parties to see people from other circles that I don't see as often otherwise. As far as I'm concerned, that slice that includes them is not part of my community anymore. It's something I fell into when I moved to Boston, but they first group you fall into when you go to a place doesn't have to be Your Community Forever. I have a lot of communities. I'll focus on the ones that want to be healthy and safe. I will skillshare with people who want to work on S & R's community, but I won't be trying to educate the people who have been outright nasty to me and continue to lie about me.

* At some point in August I would like to hold a gathering for people who actively want to do safer/healthier communities work. As time gets closer (after all of my frantic activity for the next few weeks!), I'll post asking for RSVPs so I'll know whether to host it at my house or book a meeting space. This will be for communities of all kinds - several people from outlying communities have asked to come already. We'll take notes and post them online. This is a process. The more people we have actively involved in it, the better able we are to build a better future. And that better future does not have to include elements that do not work in a safer community/consent culture model.

I greatly appreciate the support I've received here and elsewhere, and am glad that people who have no idea who I even am have helped highlight some of these core issues for people who might've been getting hung up on a false narrative due to being defensive regarding the actual people involved.

I feel like a lot of people are so accustomed to me speaking on these matters as an educator that they forget to keep in mind that I am a survivor. I am the survivor of years of emotional abuse at Judah's hands, culminating in rape and assault and battery. This happened only a year ago. I have been doing as well as I reasonably can, but I am not All Better, nor could anyone reasonably expect me to be. And when he suddenly appeared at a place he had every reason to believe I'd be at (injured in a way I find particularly emotionally precarious, as he knows) and no reason to believe I wouldn't be at, yes, I panicked, and panic-brains are not the most logical brains. My panic was a totally normal response under the circumstances. I was alone (Adam was out gaming with a dead phone), in physical pain, and terrified of my abuser. Those who are treating my decisions in those moments as perfectly calm and logical: Factor. That. In.

I had an excellent Readercon (it was so exactly what I needed) and have a lot of writer/editor thoughts and stuff to do, and that will be my focus for the foreseeable future. Readercon wrapup post will be the next post, after my orthopedist appointment this morning - fingers crossed that my foot is okay enough that I can get rid of The Boot!
14th-Jul-2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
There's a depressing variant of a Geek Social Fallacy in which people in this community (and many others) are MUCH more willing to ostracize someone for "making trouble" - defined here as "things that could disrupt our parties" - than they are for raping someone within the community (as long as they don't disrupt a party when doing so).

Edited at 2014-07-14 12:38 pm (UTC)
14th-Jul-2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
Usually this is done under the header of "drama."

Remember everyone, ensuring that a community is aware of a rapist in their midst is "bringing drama" and is undesirable.
14th-Jul-2014 02:34 pm (UTC)
That is, of course, exactly what it's being called.
14th-Jul-2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
I am deeply annoyed that my rolleyes wiseass comment was that accurate.
14th-Jul-2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
I would be very interested to attend this gathering and learn new things. I hope that soon your life will once again revolve around the lovely stories you weave. *hugs from the front*
14th-Jul-2014 02:36 pm (UTC)
I think you would be a super awesome contributor to the gathering! *hugs*
14th-Jul-2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
- They banned me for saying, one time, in a text to someone else, that police presence would be a consequence of Judah breaking the restraining order I have against him.

I don't think you should be banned, and I hope they'll realize their error and welcome you back (especially as they've now already banned your abuser)

That said, the text you sent (if quoted accurately) was shorter than what you said here, was less clear, and was easily misinterpreted (by the hosts and others?) as a statement that you were planning to arrive accompanied by the police. You recognize here that it was part of a panic response, but I don't think the hosts understand that.
14th-Jul-2014 02:35 pm (UTC)
Well, I have said multiple times in multiple posts, including Scott's, that it was a panic response. I think they understand that but are choosing to ignore it because it doesn't fit the narrative they want to build.
14th-Jul-2014 02:47 pm (UTC)
It's funny (in that Ha Ha NOT FUNNY AT ALL) sort of way how people vocally 'admire & support' survivors of sexual assault as long as said survivors don't say or do anything that makes anyone else the least bit uncomfortable, require any meaningful change, or examines existing social structures.

Really, as long as you be quiet & keep to the approved narrative where rapists are scary others, and not at all like us, who are enlightened and creative and freaky-fun, it's all good. Counter that, though? Things aren't so good in a big hurry. Saying 'there be monsters here' shatters an illusion central to a collective self-identity and goodness knows we can't have that. Either stay in the box we gave you, where you can act in the expected fashion and say the expected things at the expected time, or don't do anything at all - that's how this really works.

Here's a thing that I struggled with over the years: people who are rapists can and do go on to have consensual sex with other people and other people want to have sex with them, even when those people are possessed of absolute knowledge that the rapist has done what they've done. I believe this creates a cognitive dissonance that is uncomfortable to experience, and in order to alleviate this discomfort & validate their desire to have consensual sex with the rapist they must have a narrative thread where the rape either didn't happen, wasn't 'as bad' as presented, or you know, was totally justified given the circumstances. It is very easy to hold a deep and abiding anger for people who engage in this type of behavior. They say that love is blind; they don't talk so much about how even the vaguest hope of love is enough for people to gouge their own eyes out.

And it's all so unnecessary. People can and do go have consensual sex with rapists all the time and it's entirely possible to do that without engaging with the rape victim's experiences. Human beings have an almost infinite ability to ignore things they don't want to think about. Community validation of individual choices is not actually something that is required.

This all made sense in my head. I hope it does in text.

14th-Jul-2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
It does, yes.
14th-Jul-2014 03:01 pm (UTC) - Good luck with your appointment
I read this post as you wanting to move on to other things, so not replying here. Didn't want to come across as ignoring. I will post things in my own LJ where you are welcome to participate as you feel you have time & energy.
14th-Jul-2014 03:30 pm (UTC) - Re: Good luck with your appointment
Thank you.
14th-Jul-2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
Posted to my own LJ, but I thought worth cross-posting here:

Geek social fallacy corollaries

Beyond the original bunch of fallacies:

1. Being MUCH more willing to ostracize someone for "making trouble" - defined here as "things that could disrupt our parties" - than for raping or attacking someone within the community (as long as they don't disrupt a party when doing so). Obviously, these aren't people who are afflicted with GSF1, but they are ones who laser-focus their ostracism on people who are loud, or disruptive, or complain. If you do horrible things in private, but are happy and friendly in public (even if that's where you go to find people to do horrible things to), you don't get ostracized.

2. The notion that "our community is fracturing!" is more of a problem than "there's a predator in our community." This goes beyond GSF into outright "asshole" territory, imho. People who believe this way are living a childhood fantasy. Yes, it sucks when communities fracture, but ALL COMMUNITIES FRACTURE ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Life is not "Sex and the City," with your core four besties hanging out ever day, and in large open groups, people move in and out all the time. There are physical moves, there are petty arguments, there are philosophical debates that get out of hand, there are things that are interesting to some members and not others. And there are rapes, sexual assaults, and other horrific things (including people who defend rapists). The more people there are in a "community," the more change (both peaceful and calamitous) there will be.

3. Being flat-out unwilling to accept that someone you're romantically or sexually interested in might do wrong. Pretty self-explanatory, but especially in the sort of geeks who judge themselves based on romantic partnerships, this is a big issue. If you're interested in someone, what does it say about you if they're a predator? So clearly, there's a "misunderstanding," and maybe someone is "missing some of the facts," and your crush/fuckbuddy/partner isn't really a bad person. Or, you know, you're in fucking denial and would rather let your libido trump your empathy for a victim.

4. Redemption magically happens. "It's been a year or two, and surely he hasn't raped/assaulted anyone again, and can't we all just forgive him and move on now?" Has he actually done anything to warrant forgiveness? And by "done anything," I don't mean "offered to bartend for free at the next party." Has he acknowledged his wrongs? Sought counseling? Apologized? Anything? Or are you just tired of keeping someone out of your circle because it's work? Hint: It's probably the latter (or #3 above).
14th-Jul-2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
I would be quite interested in attending the safer communities workshops, time and redheads permitting. Also, I am glad you had a very fun Readercon. Some year I hope to make it but it does tend to conflict with birthday stuff for my dad, and as he's starting to have some health issues that worry me, I am making him my priority.
15th-Jul-2014 02:02 am (UTC)
Agreed with all of this.

Thanks as always for writing what you write.

That said, I completely understand the desire to be able to stop writing about it, and hope you can do so in a way that works for you.

EDIT: No... actually, that's a total lie, of course. I mostly don't understand at all, and I kind of hope I never do. What I mean is, I support that desire, and it seems like an entirely reasonable one.

Edited at 2014-07-15 02:02 am (UTC)
15th-Jul-2014 12:39 pm (UTC)
I mostly don't understand at all, and I kind of hope I never do.

That is my hope for everyone! This is not a fun club to be in.
17th-Jul-2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
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