(trigger warning for rape, abuse)
It's hard when someone who is supposed to be against oppression, who explicitly says they are feminist or anti-oppression or supportive of equal rights and justice, does something that goes against everything that social justice is about. At one end there are people who simply have a blind spot, who fail to acknowledge their own privilege and how they exercise it in the name of their kind of social justice.
And then there's someone like Kyle Payne, who was active in radical feminist anti-porn circles. Payne was arrested in 2008 for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman who trusted him, as the dormatory Resident Avisor, to take her safely to her room. He served some time and received probation, which he has been alleged to have violated when child pornongraphy was found on his computer. He is currently registered as a sex offender in Iowa.
For a lot of feminists, Kyle Payne was very easy to identify as a predator. He admitted his guilt, he was a man, he was obviously using activism and reform language of the progressive feminist movement as cover for his crimes. It must have been harder for those who had followed Payne and been closer to him, of course. It was a betrayal. But one that for some of us was made easier to understand and accept because it fit so neatly into preconceived ideas about predators, abusers, and men in feminist circles who seem to be just a little too invested.
Of course I'm bringing this all up because of the allegations I linked to yesterday that Kynn (Keeva on dreamwidth) raped her ex boyfriend.* Full disclosure: Kynn was in my DW circle, I subscribed to her and gave her access to my locked entries. I didn't know her very well but had commented a few times on her journal.
It's another betrayal, and one that is not being publicly responded to with the same outrage as the Kyle Payne incident, despite the much more serious accusations of both rape and an abusive relationship. I'm sure there are many reasons for that. Kynn is not national news. People like Shetterly quite frankly make it harder to speak out about it without looking like a grudgey troll.
There are also people who are apparently willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, though. I suppose it's harder in this case because it doesn't fit so neatly into our narratives of predators, as abusers. Because there are no criminal charges and even some feminists seem to fall prey to the idea that it's not really serious if a victim isn't willing to go through pressing charges. Especially if it's against someone in our community. Maybe they just can't believe it, or don't feel like taking a stand. I don't know. But the accusations are serious and believeable to me, especially with the disclosure of the e mails Kynn wrote to Jack which he has posted on his journal.
I know a lot of people don't want to beleive it, or they don't want to cut ties with Kynn. But god damn it, someone stepping forward and speaking out about an abusive relationship and rape deserves our support. We are shitty feminists if we simply choose to believe that someone considered part of our community just couldn't be abusive. We are shitty feminists if we turn a blind eye to rape and abuse because it's too hard to take a stand.
*More details can be found at http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org and http://moofable.dreamwidth.org