"Lynching Rapists", or, How Not to Be An Ally

So after a discussion on Twitter between Consent Culture activist Maggie and a guy who goes by @crash_restraint, wherein he ended up harassing Maggie about consent culture and what we were doing- i think originally he was wanting to help but instead was just tweeting at her til she got overwhelmed and asked him politely to slow down. He then whinged about how "oh, white straight cismales don't get a voice in this discussion, even if they're allies, I SEE", because she asked him to give her some time, and because she didn't respond to his email fast enough.

I pointed out that in a discussion about consent and boundaries, maybe he should, I dunno, respect politely stated limits? I also suggested he email me with his suggestions in full, because hey, I like hearing people's ideas about this stuff- he emailed me, and the text of the email is below. He said I should publish it in full, because the context was important, "if you think anyone cares".

See what you think:

Below is the E-mail I sent Maggie last night, and as a starting point, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts in response to it. Since writing this, I've had some other ideas of my own, but I'd love to hear your response to my initial problem statement first, both because I think it would help me frame my proposal in context, and because, frankly-- I already went through the effort to write this much, and want to be assured I'm not completely wasting my time talking to you.

To avoid wasting *your* time, though, to be clear, I have no interest in publishing anything via your blog. You already seem to be in support of the idea that I shouldn't be allowed to speak freely on /my own twitter feed/, why would I want to express myself in a forum that /you/ moderate?

Also, I no longer have any interest in working with you and/or Maggie to implement anything, but I would still love to get your opinions on my thoughts, in case I eventually find other partners with whom I could put them into practice. If and once you reply to this E-mail in a way that shows an openness to reasoned good-faith dialogue.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Lynching rapists

The idea that our community would tolerate, let alone promote and celebrate, people known to be rapists, is completely repugnant to me.

But I would like to think it's more an issue that those people manage to slip through the gap of reasonable doubt. And I'm not sure how to solve that.

Obviously, we can silently boycott those who we have some sort of first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing about -- but that's a pretty weak salve.

I've seen cases where a local kink scene has driven someone out based on accusations ranging (in my judgment, worth who knows what) from almost certainly true to pretty clearly farcical. And in every case, even ignoring questions of the accuracy of the verdict, the situation was handled HORRIFICALLY badly on all sides.

Without some sort of clear guidelines for how to respond to such situations, all we get is random drama. As I tweeted, while that may be better than silence, it's also easy to see why people are eager to avoid it -- it can completely tear a community apart, in the worst cases (and not always because anything was deeply rotten).

Obviously, throwing our hands up and saying "well, it's a legal problem" does not constitute working towards a solution, either. But I've not seen any evidence of the community's ability to dispense extralegal justice in any way that could be called seemly or effective.
So..what do we do?

My impression of the email specifically to me went something like... so... as an ally, you want to refuse to work with us, steal our content AND then not credit us? AWESOME. I like how one of my friends put it- "I wanna fight against rape culture and I won't take no for an answer!"

Also, a subject line like "lynching rapists" either indicates to me that he thinks it's a good idea, or that he's worried about being seen as doing that. Both are problematic, in my opinion- I'm not interested in mobs, personally, I want to see harm reduction practices in place.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see any suggestions on that front. Do you?

I would recommend that anyone interested in being a constructive ally, not just to Consent Culture, but to marginalized people in all areas, is to read this awesome essay "How to Be An Ally If You Are a Person With Privilege".

And try talking less, listening more.

Categories: aaaaaa, activism, consent, feminism, male privilege, politics

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