Sunday, March 15, 2015

Clarifications on RH/BS

I've just had a conversation that was rather disturbing, and made it obvious I need to clarify my involvement in this entire conversation about Benjanuan Sridungkaew. Up until a few hours ago I believed that the following was understood by all parties and went without saying. At least one person believed the opposite was true.

I made my first public statement about Requires Hate/Benjanun on October 20th, 2014. Shortly after that, the first of her apologies appeared and I made a statement about that here on this blog. I had known about her outing for at least a week prior to my first public statement. At no point prior to October 20th was I contacted by ANYONE involved in this debate. I was not informed about the outing of Benjanun when it occured, nor was I contacted by anyone with requests to use my story. I learned about the outing of Benjanun through my referral links on my blog's statistics. At no point prior to October 20th did I recieve ANY requests to use my story as evidence against Benjanun.

If I had received any requests I WOULD NOT have given my consent. I had not been contacted by Benjanun since roughly May of 2013. I had absolutely no interest in attracting her attention or having anything whatsoever to do with her. I was, for all intents and purposes, DONE with Requires Only That You Hate and I wanted to forget about it. Were I convinced to participate, I would have requested that all coverage of and references to my history with Benjanun omit the fact of my rape, and that all links refer to the December conversations, and not the May 6th review. On that review I very graphically described my rape and ended by telling Benjanun to fuck off. It is a very personal document and is HIGHLY inappropriate for inclusion in a debate about anything of substance. After May 6th 2013 I received NO direct referrals from the Requires Hate blog and a quickly diminishing number of links from her twitter feed. In contrast the conversations surrounding my December 2012 posts were vitriolic, demeaning and hurtful. These are the posts and conversations that have relevance to Benjanun's behavior. My sexual history is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the current conversation and should not have been brought up EVER. I did not consent to having the fact of my rape be tied to anything concerning Benjanun, or to have it be brought up in public AT ALL.

The ONLY write up, post, article or document I EVER consented to is the Mixon Report. This is also the only one I voluntarily contributed to. This includes Aja Romano's Daily Dot article, the Azarias write up, the blog pots by other prominent authors, the mentions on various gaming forums, and all posts on Fandomfail_anon and the Wank Report. Other than Laura J. Mixon, her associates, and Benjanun Sridungkaew and her associates, I have not been approached by anyone involved in this debate.

I began making public statements on October 20th because I was highly disturbed with how I was being represented. I felt that if I were going to be dragged into this debate, I might as well be an active participant, rather than a passive tool.  I did not like that a seven-year-old traumatic event that pre-dates the creation of my blog was worked into the narrative, and I did not like that this story was being used without my knowledge or consent. As it was too late to request that authors, blogs and forums stop involving me in the conversation, I spoke out on this blog and in the forums where I had a pre-existing account. I have not brought this up before now because I did not wish to discuss this any more than I already had. And again, given the option I would rather not have participated at all. 

While I did voluntarily contribute to the Mixon report, I did not fully understand its scope or its purpose at the time. Nor did I have any knowledge of who Laura J. Mixon was. I had stopped following the publishing industry shortly before I began self publishing. On October 20th, I was contacted in a semi-public message by one of her associates who asked if I were willing to share and directed me to an anonymous gmail account. I did not even see the name Mixon until after the Mixon Report was published. I understood that I was contributing to an eventual article or write up about Benjanun and do not feel particularly deceived by Mixon's use of an anonymous account to collect this information, but there was very little clarity about what contributions sent to the gmail address would be used for.  I was and still am very greatful that Mixon sought and recieved my consent, and that she handled my contribution respectfully. She is the ONLY person on that side of the debate to do so. After the Mixon Report was published, Laura J. Mixon contacted me and thanked me for my participation. I have received no other contact from Mixon or her associates.

In terms of how I personally have been treated, the contrast between these groups is enormous and disturbing. In the process of documenting Benjanun's behavior, those opposing her (with the exception of Mixon) made NO attempt to seek my consent, protect my feelings, or even warn me that this was happening. All articles that mention me, again excepting the Mixon Report, refer to me as "the rape victim" with no other clarifying details. No one has contacted me in the aftermath of any article to check on my welfare. I have been made aware of EVERY development on that side of  this debate through referral links to articles that, with very few exceptions, refer to me with objectifying and dehumanizing language. In contrast, Benjanun and her supporters have taken steps to inform me of upcoming statements, verify my consent, and confirm that something is acceptable prior to publication. My past trauma has not been mentioned by her side, something that I greatly appreciate, and on not-infrequent occasions they have even asked if I am handling the stress of these events safely. Regardless of how genuine these gestures are, they were incredibly surprising and are greatly appreciated.

I have not had any direct or indirect benefit from my involvement in this debate. This blog is not monetized, and any attempt to do so will be difficult bordering on impossible. While debate concerning Benjanun Sridungkaew has become my primary source for blog traffic, this has resulted in little, if any, new readers. My book sales had been in decline before Benjanun was outed, and there was no noticeable increase after people began linking to me. I have made no lasting contacts and while I've made a few new friends, it is the result of conversations and mutual interests that have nothing to do with this debate. I have been reminded on a daily basis of an online incident I was greatly ashamed of, and of a trauma that I have yet to even process. In short, I have been involved in a debate without consent, warning or reward and will continue to be involved whether I want it or not for the foreseeable future.

In terms of stress, the 2012/2013 encounter with Benjanun and the current coverage are, for me, identical in nature. Avoiding or "stepping back" from the current debate would require me to abandon my blog and social media for an unforeseen amount of time. It is still pervasive and I have yet to go 12 hours without receiving another visitor from a blog or article about Benjanun. Even if I elected not to talk to or about her, she would STILL be a part of my day-to-day life. I have been tied into the narrative about her without either my voluntary input or consent and it appears that this will continue to be true for the foreseeable future.

I believe the only choice I have is HOW I participate. The fact of my participation has, unfortunately, already been decided for me.

I have no bad feelings towards ANYONE involved in this. Not Benjanun, not the people who are using my story. If requested I am willing to speak out, but only with the awareness of ALL parties in this debate, and only if the welfare of everyone involved is taken into account. But I want to make it very goddamn clear that I was never offered a choice RE: my involvement, and that the only way to avoid this is to abandon my blog and my books until this conversation ends. Not only is that highly unlikely to happen any time soon, it is a step I am not willing to take.

I had the impression that being involved without my consent was par for the course and that I should expect no better. I did not believe I had any foundation to request different treatment, and I still do not know if I do. But on the off chance that someone thinks my involvement in this is something I ever wanted, the answer is a profound and resounding NO.

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