Sunday, July 31, 2011

rape and the righteous community

or, a little sympathy for Kynn and Sparkymonster, far more for Jack and Alexandra

ETA: I'm leaving the following post unchanged, but I was under a misunderstanding. I didn't know that Jack had invoked their safeword; see the comments. That makes the situation unambiguous: No means no. Jack was raped. —WS
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Kynn has been charged with rape—not legally, but morally. If you want to track the story, start here:

Tales of MU » Blog Archive » An Important and Personal Note

Unfunny Fandom: Heartbreak & Heroines

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My take, which is worth no more than any of the many offered by people who are not Jack, Alexandra, or Kynn, is that Jack is entirely right to feel horribly abused, Alexandra is right to support Jack unconditionally, and Kynn needs help, but Kynn is not guilty of rape—at least, if I'm correct in understanding that consent was given and never explicitly withdrawn.

This is not to excuse Kynn. A sensitive partner in any affair will watch constantly for signs that they're going too far, because too often, people will be led where they do not want to go because they trust someone they should not.

Of all people, Sparkymonster was right when she tried for a nuanced response: "I do believe what Jack says. I also know that Kynn disagrees about what happened. I believe one can support Jack without condemning Kynn."

But Julia has very little practice with nuance. I think she's being condemned by many people in her community for adding, "More hypothetically, can Jean Doe have raped someone and still be involved with social justice movements? Yes they can as long as they take responsibility for what they did, and have done work to make sure they won't do it again."

I agree with her there, too, so far as she goes. But what she omits is that rapists and sexual abusers who try to take part in restorative justice must constantly be aware that their presence will always be controversial, and their presence must always be approved in advance by people who have been raped or abused.

Here's what makes me pity Julia. In the hope of ending the attacks on her, she wrote, "I have been friends with Kynn in the past. After a lot of consideration, I decided to sever that friendship. I sincerely hope that Kynn is able to access the support & assistance she may need. That is not something I am able to do." When a friend does something wrong, you don't sever the friendship. If you do, you're engaging in opportunism, not morality, and what you called a friendship was never one.

I salute Jack and Alexandra for speaking up, and I'm glad they're not being attacked for it. But spare a little pity for Kynn and those who say she should not be ostracized, too. As Alexandra says, "...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."

ETA: The question of consent is addressed by Alexandra: "I told myself I didn't know what was going on between them, even though I'd heard the pleading earlier and had known that wasn't part of a negotiated dynamic." And "Their relationship had a safeword, but of course the presence of a safeword in a relationship doesn't make consent universal in its absence." What makes the legal call of rape impossible to make is that the safeword was absent. Yes, a responsible partner would not require the use of the safeword. But the law, like the failfan community, is not good with ambiguity. That said, the judgment call of abuse is easy: Jack was horribly abused.

ETA 2: Why am I keeping this journal? if the Klan didn't silence me, why do you think you will?