alexandraerin: (Default)
I've discussed the matter with Jack (he's AFK but he knows the contents of Caoimhe's latest post) and we have both decided that no one can make a better case against Caoimhe than Caoimhe can make for herself. There's no need to defend oneself from that which is either harmless or misses the mark completely.

I've tried to disengage myself from the conversation before, but at this point... as part of a mutual decision with Jack this time... we're both going to ignore her and get on with our lives.

She might very well interpret this as backing down lest she reveals even more. I'm sure that's the entire point of her latest post. But no, we never had any intention of making our whole lives about this. Anybody who thinks doing this wasn't "healthy" for Jack hasn't been in a position to see the change in him from before last Friday and after, but... there's a point of diminishing returns there.

It's time to move on to the next steps.

On a related subject: the therapy Caoimhe is seeking sounds like a really good idea. I hope that she gets it, and I hope it's productive for her. I hope it leads her to better places.

(Comments, as always on this tag, are screened, and will only be unscreened by request.)

Edit To Add: You can help me in this resolution by not sending me links related to the situation or leaving them in comments. Thank you!

Wow.

Jul. 30th, 2011 08:34 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
People 'round the internet are starting to respond to Caoimhe's latest not-publicly-responding-to-this, and I'm already starting to feel like my previous post was completely unnecessary.

I don't need to point out the transparent manipulation and the blatant spin and the attempts to use our weeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiird personal life to make people ignore what she actually did because it is transparent and blatant. If I hadn't already posted that previous post, I would be backing out of it without actually submitting it... as it exists, it would be a mistake to delete it.

But go internet.

I am sorry I ever doubted you.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, here's what not trying something on the internet looks like. (MASSIVE trigger warning for rape and emotional manipulation in action.)

Edit: She has apparently "rethought the wisdom" of her post and removed the body of it, so this is going to look weird and the subject line about "context" seems really ironic.

Ditto. )
alexandraerin: (Default)
I've been resisting making a tag for the situation because... well, for a lot of reasons that in a lot of cases when I look at them seem to boil down to the same reasons I've always been hesitant about facing this, or why I keep defaulting to things like "the situation" and "this".

The simple way of putting it would be "I don't want to make this any more real than it is."

But I'm starting to see and hear about... as I knew I would... people who do things like declare that they don't know enough about the situation to be comfortable accusing someone or taking a side, and then labeling me a politically motivated(?) opportunist and Jack a sockpuppet of a writer with a well-known grudge against Caoimhe. I don't see how anyone can care enough about this to make that kind of declaration but not care enough about it to do any kind of rudimentary investigation and see that we are who we say we are and Jack's relationship to Caoimhe was what he said it was.

That doesn't prove we're not lying about something else, but it should put an end to the idea that we're sock puppets.

But on the other hand, as long as I don't have a tag I'm not making it easy for people to even get a full picture of what it is I've said.

Then... what do I make the tag? When I learned that someone was making a "roundup" of links, I requested that she use a more neutral name like "The Call-Out" as opposed to something that incorporated one of Caoimhe's usernames because whether anyone believes it or not, it's not our intention to make a person's name forever synonymous with an action... I also wanted to suggest a name because my personal fear was that in the absence of a convenient handle it would end up being called something horrifyingly trivializing like "RapeFail", but I didn't want the alternate name to be something that could be used like a club.

So, that's what the tag is going to be. "the call-out". I know that nothing I say or do is going to stop that kind of thing from happening, but I think making a tag will at least make me feel better about it... make it easier for me to ignore people who are just choosing not to see the full picture. I can paint people a picture but I can't make them look at it.
alexandraerin: (Default)
The response that Jack and I received has been overwhelming in the best senses of the world. Whether it's people who trust and believe our accounts on principle, or because they have the ring of truth, or because... horrifyingly... they match up with their own experiences in dealing with kynn/Caoimhe, we have the feeling that we're being believed and that's what matters.

There has been so little doubt directed at us, and that's great. And now that Livejournal is back among the land of the living it's being discussed more, and that's also great.

But I think that maybe in the absence of any real backlash at us... or any further identifiable activity from Caoimhe herself to go after... people who mean nothing but the best might be scrutinizing some of the earliest posts on this topic made by others to find something to strike out against.

This is a hard topic to talk about. It's a hard situation to be in. Obviously not as hard for anyone as it is for Jack, but that doesn't mean Caoimhe's friends and the people who've made the decision to trust her in the past aren't in a bad place now.

We've been there! We've come through that. The first time they talked about this in private--a conversation that seems to have left Caoimhe with the impression that things were dealt with and cool and nothing further was needed--Jack told her, "You did a horrible thing, you're not a horrible person."

And though I haven't asked him that in so many words in the past few days, I wouldn't be surprised if he still believes it.

(Nobody ask me in so many words what I believe on that score. She threw that back at him in the rest of the email exchange, like it was her get-out-of-consequences-and-responsibility-free card.)

Both of us have had weeks to come around in our heads and deal with the dissonance between what we've wanted to believe of Caoimhe and what she's done, and we're still dealing with that.

Call-outs need to happen in any community. That's part of what this is about. But calling out can go from a way of effecting change and policing problematic behavior to a way of keeping score. Please, let's not let things tend that way. Please let her friends, former or otherwise, have their own time and space to deal with what we've said.

Talk about better ways to do things, if you think you see them... but let's not talk about wrong ways to do it. Because then we end up with people sitting on the sidelines, not saying anything because they're afraid that they'll be seen as not going far enough or not saying the right things, and honestly that sort of environment is where someone like Caoimhe can flourish. Where she has flourished.

I'm not for anything trying to end or weaken call-out culture. But if someone is offering us support or fostering discussion, we'll take it in the spirit it's meant whether they're speaking towards Jack's healing or Caoimhe's actions or both.

The sad fact of the matter is that Caoimhe has lived her life in such a way that no one person will ever really need to take charge in being the one to step up to the plate and say bad things about her. If calling her out more strongly is too painful for someone who wants to discuss the situation in their own space or offer help, or they think it's too legally risky, or they just don't see it as a helpful step to do, I hope we can all respect that.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Trigger warning: Rape, guilt, blaming. )



...so, that's how good I am at staying out of the conversation. This post has been bubbling up inside me for almost a week now, though. I've written it out and deleted it a bunch of times. Each time it scratched the itch for a while, but never for long.

It just has to be said.

Please, no one worry that I'm going to do something drastic and rash based on the feelings I described. This post is me doing something rash about them. Now I'm going to go eat leftover pancakes and I am going to play Arkham Asylum until I feel better because my life is short of problems that can be punched in the face and I wouldn't know what to do with them if I had any.
alexandraerin: (Default)
When you want to playfully poke at someone who used to be really active in an online community years ago, and you look up their old profile and see that their last post there was saying they "aren't dead yet", creating a brand new Twitter account to send them a message that says "I am a ghost from communities past. You totally lied. You're dead as heck." is not a good idea even in the very, very best of times.

(Note! Read the first line again before you jump to a conclusion!)

Luckily for both of us, I knew the most obvious interpretation couldn't be more than shot-in-the-dark-bullshit intended to spook me, so I chose to remain calm and ask them to specify exactly what they meant, rather than taking it as a death threat. I thought I was calling the bluff of some troll.

I didn't even think it was a troll connected to Jack's attacker... there have been anonymous taunts that I believe relate to her, because they concerned things that she knows. But among the things that she knows is that I am telling the truth. Whatever she tells her friends and whatever she tells herself to get through the night, I don't believe she's so far gone to be able to say I "totally lied" to me and expect it to cut me to the quick.

So I knew it wasn't her, but I thought it might have been someone who thought they'd do her a favor by spooking me into admitting something. (Spoiler warning: there's nothing for me to admit to.)

But I woke up this morning(ish) to find out the real explanation... that being, once again, that this was someone who knew me on an old site and hadn't seen me for years, poking fun at the last post he knew I made said "I'm not dead yet."

I've since tried to gently let the person know how unwise it is to greet someone like this. Knowing the demographics of the site in question, they may be an adult but probably just barely.

Twitter's not great for nuance and I'm not sure they get it, because I'm really trying not to drag them into all of this... again, the demographics of the site skew young. I've messaged them suggesting it might be wise to delete the tweets in question, because anybody who's watching my Twitter conversations might see the first one and think the same thing I did.

I'm deleting my own tweets as well, because the most likely way for someone to stumble across the tweet in question is to see my side of the conversation and wonder what it's about. I -hope- they would be able to tell from the context that it was a lot more benign than it looks, but... well, people can be fierce when they're acting in protection of someone, and I don't want anyone accidentally being fierce at this random person on my behalf.

That's the second reason I'm posting about this: so that anyone who saw the exchange and didn't understand it will know what's up. And in a more CYA sense, so anybody who realizes something happened and got deleted knows I'm not actually hiding anything. I'm not trying to protect myself but a bystander with a reeeeeally bad sense of timing.

The first reason?

Because, by light of day... it's all really kind of funny, in an "I AM THE VIPER." sort of way.

(It's especially funny to Jack, because as a result of this he's found my old profile and is chuckling himself silly at my twenty-something self.)
alexandraerin: (Default)
I don't have a great history with sticking to this kind of declaration even on less serious and important topics, but with my readership informed of what's going on in my life and my last post further clarifying the motivations and the sequence of events that led us to where we are now, I am going to do my best to publicly back out of the conversation for a bit.

I know the conversation's not going to stop because I stop talking, and I don't intend it to. But it's grown to the point where no one can claim ownership of it, and I'm obviously very invested in it so I'd rather see it continue to develop without me. What needed to be said has been said. I hope my "motives" posts will be brought up when questions they touch on are raised, as that's the point.

I don't have any expectations one way or another about Caoimhe's ability or willingness to take responsibility for her actions or seek help, but I don't think it would be helpful to anyone if I just got up here and railed against her every day for the rest of my life and I don't intend to do so.

Barring any further major developments or any questions that I and Jack both agree can't go without being answered (if we left it up to me... well, we don't want to leave it up to me), that's it. We will continue to deal with the personal repercussions of this event for some time to come, but as far as I'm concerned the public "mission" is accomplished with the message out there and being discussed.

Note that I have been pretty reflexively turning up the comment screening to "all" on these posts and only unscreening with permission, but that's not my usual setting and policy. If you choose to comment on other posts about other things, I assume you're okay with having your comment visible.

The response to this has been incredible and moving and a great comfort to Jack. Barring a very small number of small and ugly private incidents, we have not heard an unkind word.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Re-reading my previous post on this subject, I realized that one of the most important parts of the message didn't come through. This happens frequently when I'm trying to be concise about something.

There was no decision to come forward and accuse Caoimhe on the internet rather than in a court of law. We didn't look at the odds and decide that since court was unlikely to give us justice we'd go after her through another avenue.

There was no plan to go after her.

Jack did not see reporting the crime as a positive or helpful step, and in the absence of reporting it, he was content (for a certain extremely fucked-up value of "content") to believe that the whole thing was out of his hands and there was nothing he could do.

His open accusation directed at her on Twitter (a public channel) was an honest and in-the-moment reaction, and once it was out we had to decide what to do about it, and the choices as we saw it were back down or stand our ground.

There were a lot of eyes on Caoimhe at that moment because she was right in the middle of a controversy. There was no way to take it back out of the public eye. If we'd said nothing more or if he'd deleted his Tweet as she deleted her replies, then he would have become the weird random person who randomly accused a feminist RPG designer of rape. He'd probably be associated forever with the RPG.net trolls who'd opposed her project on misogynistic grounds.

And she would have known that he backed down. Whatever came next in her life, whatever she went on to do, she would have learned (again? I don't know) that she can control the situation and get out clean.

It may be said that all this was not the most legally wise decision, but our considerations weren't based on that kind of calculation.

Anyway, this was never going to be a simple and straightforward prosecution that anyone could get through with dignity intact. Taking all this out of the public eye doesn't make Jack not what the courts or media would be likely to see as a "polygamist", it doesn't make us all not trans, it doesn't make Jack and I not in a D/s relationship, it doesn't mean I wasn't sleeping on the floor with a collar around my neck like a pet while he was in bed with her, and it doesn't meant that any or all of these facts wouldn't be made a part of her defense.

Bottom line: don't give me an appeal to anyone's "right to privacy" as part of saying that Jack or I need to have our entire personal lives picked apart and entered into the public freaking record (along with Caoimhe's) to satisfy the minimum requirements for speaking out.

It may also be said that it's not healthy or healing for Jack to engage in "internet drama" before even seeking any kind of professional help... but what do you say to that if I tell you that before this Jack didn't see the point in seeking help, he didn't feel capable of talking about it?

Still, even though the initial actions were ones of emotion this is not a revenge scheme.

We spent the better part of a year wanting to see the best in Caoimhe, wanting the best for her. You don't... well, I shouldn't generalize because other people in similar situations will have their own feelings... but neither of us have it within us to spend all that time wishing someone well and wanting to see them grow into a better and stronger person and then turn around and want to burn their life to the ground and salt the earth.

We just don't.

A wise commenter who preferred to remain screened said something to the effect that prosecution should be the last resort when other remedies (within the bounds of law, obviously) have failed. Prosecution might help accomplish our goals, but even if it does it's likely to have a lot of consequences for both sides that no one wants.

Comment screening is on. Please note specifically if you give permission to have your comment unscreened.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I just tweeted that there's a "lot going on tonight"... not so much an understatement as an around one.

I'm kind of striking a weird balance here... I haven't specifically mentioned what happened (and what's been happening) on my website, or on the Twitter that broadcasts to its front page. I'm going to have to, sooner or later, because my readers kind of need to know what's going on with me and only a small fraction read this blog.

But I'm worried about how I do it. In my post I didn't hold back on my feelings and observations, but my goal's never been to incite anyone. Here in the twin universe of DW/LJ, I'm a relative nobody and keeva/kynn is pretty well-known. I would hazard that most of my readers who aren't also in my LJ sphere have never heard of her. I'm leery of going before them and laying out the facts because they don't know her from Eve, and because they already have my back, and Jack's. As my very patient moderator (who often must exercise more patience with me than with the commentators), I think he's pretty well-liked.

A small blog post on the site saying that we are dealing with a situation and there's more information on my personal blog seems like some kind of transparent ruse, the shallowest way of having one's cake and eating it, too. Saying that there is a personal situation going on and not mentioning that it's described on the blog just seems silly, since some of the readers who follow me here will no doubt fill in that fact.

Heck, for all I know at the moment that's already been done. I never read comments when I'm working on a chapter, and I've had a chapter open since last Friday, when events first eventuated.

And then there's the flipside, where I haven't been talking about my work as much here lately... basically it's a factor of not really wanting to have new readers or new attention for my work because of this. I'm very proud of what I've accomplished and I want to accomplish still more, but I don't want to look back and know that I got a boost from all this.

Bleh. I think I just need to plunge ahead. I need to get some momentum back in my work. I said at the begining of this that one can't bite one's tongue and be surprised when the words won't come. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to remind myself as often as I need to that this is still my blog, that no matter what other temporary purposes it's put to it's still a part of what I do for a living.

We may be in the market for a "new normal" for some time to come, but the sooner we can get back to some kind of normal, the better for everyone.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I realize the circumstances in which Jack came forward against his attacker... and more particularly the manner in which I first came forward to support him... is contentious and can put a lot of people in various overlapping communities in an uncomfortable place.

For that, I am sorry. I am really, truly sorry to anyone who feels trapped in the middle. If it seems like we didn't think our plan through, it's because there was no plan... there was Jack's reaction, there was her initial response, and then there was my decision to support him 100% in whatever he chose to do.

That I am separated from him by a thousand miles and mainly able to offer support in the form of typing really really fast when I am angry is something I feel very acutely.

I have considered taking down my post and replacing it with something more measured, but... I haven't said anything that isn't true, and that I wouldn't be prepared to defend. I don't want it being said now that I'm backing away from anything, or that I put that post up to try to disrupt her project, or to try to extort something from her, or achieve some goal other than to share that truth.

The decision to report the actions in question as a crime or not is ultimately Jack's, and I will support him in whatever decision he makes. His attacker can act like a lack of charges is some sort of grievance against her, but if what we have said really were untrue and intended to harm, then she would have remedies available to her that wouldn't depend on Jack having to take a step that she had already confirmed he wasn't (at that point) willing to do.

The system works far better for those who have survived defamation than it does for survivors of rape and sexual assault, but it will not work for her because the defense of defamation is that one is telling the truth and a reluctance to go through the process of trying to bring rape charges through to successful conviction is not the same thing as an unwillingness or inability to bring testimony as to the truth of our claims if pressed to the point.

It's Jack's decision to report or not. Even if he does report, that still doesn't guarantee charges, and charges won't guarantee a conviction, or that the conviction would be for a crime called rape.

In the end, the only convictions you can count on in this world are your own. To the people reading this and not knowing who to believe or what to do about it, I only ask you to follow your convictions. Trust your instincts.

And if those lead you to stand with and offer support to someone who may be an old friend or trusted ally... know that you're not our enemy, and we're not going to be stalking or harassing you to get at someone, so please leave us in peace. You don't have to wish us well. Just do us no ill.

And if they do lead you to stand with her... please don't forget our words. If you don't believe, at least don't bury them completely in the back of your head. Because what I saw fits into a pattern of behavior that I didn't want to see the extent of until it was too late and I had to.

In all charity: it is possible that what happened to Jack was the absolute worst and strongest example of this pattern, and that it was a complete aberration that had never happened before and will never happen again.

It's my hope that this is true. But it's also possible that what she did was just... part of the pattern. It's possible Jack was not the first. It's possible he won't be the last.

We started this with no agenda, and if we have one now, it's that. Just that: let him be the last one. Let this be the last time.

Note: Comment screening is on. Comments will be unscreened only with permission/by request of the commenter.




Update: Please read this further clarification.

Monday

Jul. 25th, 2011 12:26 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I don't have anything to say about the events of this past weekend at this time, or hopefully ever. I would have been happy to have said my piece in the first place and then never had to say another word about it again, though I would have been happier if there hadn't been anything to say.

Jack and I would like to get on with our lives, and I think we'd both like to see her get on with hers. That might be difficult for her with the accusation out there, especially if she doesn't quite believe that Jack isn't planning on pressing charges and that I'm not going to hound her to the ends of the internet and back and that we're not just out to ruin everything she does, and I'm sorry for that, but all I can say is: imagine how he feels.

I'm not proposing a deal here, because a deal implies that my actions were designed to get something from someone, and a deal also implies that the other party can be trusted to uphold it, and finally because I will ultimately uphold and support Jack in his decisions, but I can say that if she's worried about what we'll do next the best thing she can do is leave us alone. We didn't set out to cancel her game, and we couldn't have made her do so in any case. This was about warning people, and making it a little harder for her to use the mask of feminism to get people to trust her.

I say this to the people who are now watching my blog because they think we set out to ruin her game: before she decided to tweet about how "Feminism isn't a gimmick, it's my life.", Jack was actually retweeting her Kickstarter link for her. Seem strange under the circumstances I've described? Well, we had spent the better part of the past year telling her (well, I told Jack and Jack told her, I don't think she ever thought much of my opinion) she should be pulling her game ideas together and securing crowdfunding. You can't spend that much time trying to see the best in someone and wishing them well and then stop doing that all of a sudden.

And to the same people... especially if they're just tuning in: if you think Jack taking exception to her adoption of a feminist stance in public makes us the same as the trolls on RPG.net who were just pissed off on general pigheaded principle at a feminist or woman-centric game daring to exist, read back on my blog a bit.

Well, look at that, I did have something to say. To everybody who wasn't following the events from last Friday onward and who is mystified by all that... well, the post is there. But I'd much rather be moving forward than backward.

Moving on.

The news for today is... news. Letter.

I already realized a while back that my situation and my life change too fast for a monthly newsletter to make sense. But since then, I still haven't really managed to get one out. And the reason for that is that I'm still trying to put out something that I started writing back in May. Even by a week later, I wasn't really in the same place or headspace as when I started that.

So while some of the story excerpts are going to be the same, I'm scrapping the body of the newsletter and starting it again. It will go out this week. Those people who paid for a year's worth of newsletters? A year you shall have, starting from the day it goes out. It shall hopefully include a good deal's more than twelve of them. Keeping up the newsletter seems like a good way for me to avoid the vicious cycle of withdrawal and avoidance that I fall into when things like this (that's a pretty broad "like this", in this case) happens.

It's a shame that I've fallen behind on this because I came out of WisCon so excited about the newsletter. One of my awesome repeat co-panelists, Monica Valentinelli, is a bit of a marketing wonk, and her analysis was that newsletters are actually where it's at right now.

State of the Me:

It's complicated.

Dreams From Last Night:

...implying I've slept long enough to dream in the past 48 hours?

Plans For Today:

Right now I'm making sure that everyone who's paid for an annual subscription or added a sponsorship is actually on the newsletter mailing list, so those of you who've been waiting patiently to see some sign that you didn't send your money off into the dark should be getting confirmation emails by-and-by.

Then I'm going to take a survey of my life and figure out: what the hell do I even put in a newsletter right now? Well, looking forward is better than backward.

And I'm going to work on the Tales of MU chapter for Tuesday, at least on a "headspace" level, possibly actually writing more of it.

Sidenote.

Jul. 25th, 2011 04:25 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
I don't blame anyone who wants to keep discussions of rape off their gaming blog. It's a serious subject, and one that's off-topic even when it involves people who are involved in gaming.

I especially don't blame anyone who says things like "This is a matter best left up to the courts." or "If there is any merit to the charges the police will obviously step in." for keeping discussions about rape off their gaming blogs.

Because people who say things like this frankly aren't educated enough on the subject to be leading a discussion about it.
alexandraerin: (Default)
This post includes descriptions of rape and abusive/bullying behavior. )

Edit: The original version of this post had more about comment screening than "Comment screening is turned on like whoa.", where I had stated that I would only unscreen comments I thought were healthy/helpful... I trimmed that out before stating and... after receiving some wonderful comments and unscreening them, realized that nothing had been said about doing this and maybe people were saying things thinking it was in confidence. So my apologies if that was the case. I've re-screened the comments. Supportive comments will be unscreened if the commenter requests/give permission. I'm relaying them to Jack either way.

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