Thursday, August 21, 2014

Let's Talk About Zoe Quinn's Ex For Once


UPDATE: The comment section on this post is now CLOSED because I'm still getting whiny asshole comments months later from people who are too committed to hating Zoe Quinn to keep up with the facts, which include that her ex has admitted to wanting 4chan and other horrible troll sites to pick up on this, that he knew there was a high chance Zoe would be harassed, that he's been involved with the "leaders" of  #GamerGate and coaching them on how to fuel the fire, that this whole thing is just entertainment for him, has violated his restraining order, has been caught in lies on numerous occasions and sexually harasses women who speak up against him. You can see all of this shit here. It's done. Shut the fuck up about it forever.

I'm getting all kinds of people insisting that Zoe Quinn is horrible, from clear misogynists to women who identify as feminists. All kinds of accusations - that she used sex to get good reviews, that she was emotionally abusive to her ex, that she fake doxxed herself or invented her harassment. All kinds of people pontificating on how AWFUL she was to cheat, to sleep with a married man (even though she said she didn't know at the time that he was married, but no one's taking the time to mention this), to lie about it, etc.

Is cheating wrong? Yes. It's very hurtful, breaks trust, and depending on the couple and the situation, there can be consent issues involved. No one's denying this. Surely Zoe, whether these assertions are true or not, is not a perfect person.

But her ex is clearly not perfect, either. I'm here to talk about what he did to her in order to counter the chorus of voices painting Zoe as the devil and her ex as the blameless victim.

I don't know everything about the details of their relationship. And I certainly shouldn't, because I don't know either of them personally. I feel weird reading any of the Facebook or other online conversations between the two of them, because that's their private business.

But that shit is now online for everyone to see because Zoe's ex put it there without her consent. Huge fucking images containing long conversations between the two of them during their breakup, all posted in a public website he made to tell the world every detail of their falling out (from his point of view, anyway). Isn't that messed up? Imagine you had what you thought was a private conversation from your then-partner and then they posted all of it online without asking if it was okay.

This is a violation of consent. This is a violation of someone's privacy. Clear as day, right out there for everyone to see it.

Now let's talk about emotional abuse.

This is something that doesn't get talked about much. Most of the time when you bring up emotional abuse, people scoff and roll their eyes. A lot of people don't think that emotional abuse is a real thing, or that's is a lesser form of abuse than physical (untrue, many psychologists consider it to be worse). A lot of feminists will talk about gaslighting, but will get dismissed as making things up or being too sensitive or called any number of ableist slurs.

Yet now that Zoe's ex has posted intimate details of their private breakup online, everyone's all about the emotional abuse. "Oh look!" they say after reading their private conversation, "Zoe was gaslighting him! She was emotionally abusive! Abuse! Abuse! She's a terrible abuser!"

I can't comment on whether Zoe was being emotionally abusive or not, because again, I do not feel right about reading their private conversations. I did look at some of it, specifically the parts where Zoe admits to cheating, but that felt icky so I stopped.

Now, I'm in the habit of believing people when they say they were abused. But it's a little difficult when what Zoe's ex has done is intensely abusive to the point of being dangerous. And even if you are abused, this does not give you leave to be abusive in return.

Zoe's ex obviously knew that Zoe had already been a target of harassment, death threats, rape threats, doxxing, people calling her home and at least one guy showing up at her home. He must have understood that her continuing her work, remaining visible online, put her life in danger. Not to mention her mental health. He more than anyone, other than Zoe herself and women like her, should have understood this.

In spite of this knowledge, he decides to create an entire public website not only talking about her sex life (which we all know can derail any woman's career) but spills out a shit ton of fuel for the Zoe-hate fire. This is not just a violation of privacy, this is DANGEROUS. And, predictably, she's experienced a massive resurgence in harassment. This is not something you can deny. I've already engaged with Twitter accounts clearly made for the sole purpose of harassing and/or smearing her, seen a vile pornographic comic of her that's being spread by gamer dudes, and seen comment after comment calling her gross misogynistic slurs.

And I have no doubt at all that she's receiving death threats and rape threats. Again.

Yet despite the public nature of this harassment, the website hasn't come down. That WordPress site created by her ex to detail their entire relationship and post private conversations is still there.

And I'm supposed to feel sorry for this guy? No. He is putting her at risk. He continues to put her at risk. Nothing justifies this. Cheating is wrong, but nothing justifies the endangerment of someone's life or the trauma of these massive, orchestrated harassment campaigns. At the very least, he fueled all of this. He is responsible for it.

Sounds like abuse to me. Does not sound like the behavior of a good person who would be great in a relationship. If you're abusive after the relationship, I am not going to believe you were a saint during.

Zoe, on the other hand, refuses to talk about the details of her private relationship with her ex. She has declared publicly that she will not take the bait because it's no one's business. She took the classy, respectful route. Not that he deserves it.

It pisses me off that the only time people want to talk about emotional abuse is when they want to smear a woman or use it to justify their hatred/harassment of her. Fuck that. You want to take emotional abuse seriously, I'd best hear about her ex's abusive behavior as well. Maybe Quinn can't be held up as a saint, but she's still inspiring to me. I know I wouldn't be able to resist the bait. I would lash back out at a guy who did that to me. Maybe even go into hiding to avoid the harassment. But she stands strong. That's incredible.

But her ex is nothing but a soggy weasel as far as I'm concerned.


nope said...

"If you're abusive after the relationship, I am not going to believe you were a saint during." Best.

Jabba said...

One of the things we tell victims of abuse is to document the abuse and, if they have the strength, to speak out against their abuser(s). That's exactly what Mr. Gjoni (he has a name) did. I can certainly see why anyone would feel uncomfortable about reading their correspondence! But abuse thrives on silence, and on the willingness of others to tune it out. I would urge everyone to read the screenshots he's taken and decide for themselves.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I was under the impression that Gjoni was a pseudonym.

Like I've said before, I find it extremely annoying that no one gives a shit about emotional abuse until they can use it to attack a visible woman. From what I did read and the things Mr. Gjoni said, he did not call it emotional abuse. I've only seen those who clearly just want to attack Zoe call it abuse.

Documentation is fine. Speaking out is fine. Publishing the documented private conversations for everyone to see without consent is abusive in itself. But nobody has yet pointed out to me exactly what Zoe did that was abusive. So the only abuse I can see comes from Mr. Gjoni.

Jabba said...

"From what I did read and the things Mr. Gjoni said, he did not call it emotional abuse."

Irrelevant. MRAs have been using this same argument to say that surveys that ask women about sexual assault and rape are invalid because they do not use questions like, "were you raped?" or "were you sexually assaulted?" This is how they come up with the argument that feminists vastly overstate the prevalence of sexual violence against women. It's a faulty line of logic that assumes that abuse victims know what abuse is, and can recognize it even after they have been traumatized by it. In a society that does a piss-poor job talking about abuse, it is not reasonable to expect traumatized abuse victims to recognize it as such.

And anyway, he did call it emotional abuse in the comments section. You said yourself that you haven't read it.

"Documentation is fine. Speaking out is fine. Publishing the documented private conversations for everyone to see without consent is abusive in itself."

People would have just called him a liar, like they do with just about every abuse victim that doesn't have wounds (even then it still happens), if he did not provide proof. The chat logs are his proof. He is not responsible for what happens to his abuser after he provides proof of abuse. And no one who is abused is obligated to ask the abuser for consent to provide proof - no abuser would EVER consent! Again, I urge you to read the logs.

And what he describes IS abuse. She told him that she would not consent to sex if he had sex with others and didn't report it, because that would be rape by deception. She then went on to have unprotected sex with several men behind is back and continued sleeping with him, raping him by her own definition* and putting him at risk of STIs. She separated him a friend during that friend's time of need because they were close friends and she was jealous. This is a classic tactic of abusers. She lied to him and manipulated him, making him think he was crazy, telling him she loved him while she took advantage of his trust. All of this is abuse.

I know I have never posted here, and I imagine you get a bunch of trolls, so I just want to put out there that I'm not some troll or MRA. I just hate, hate, hate to see abusers gain trust and esteem in left-wing movements. They destroy just causes from within. I don't know if you're familiar with H_g_ Schw_z_r (I won't even type his name), but when his long, long list of dirty laundry was being aired he said something along the lines of "don't do this, it's bad for the movement" to guilt-trip feminists into stifling discussion of how he had abused women. Zoe Quinn did the same thing to Mr. Gjoni- "this can hurt a lot of people" and "games as a whole can lose one of it's (sic) only strong voices for equality because a woman's sexuality at all being public can sink that fucking ship." True, but what he was outing was not just "sexuality," but abuse. These pleas to "think of the movement" have happened over and over again in left/liberal movements.

*I am aware that rape by deception is a contentious topic within feminist discourse.

Lindsey Weedston said...

He's not responsible for his abuser? Really? He knew she would get vile harassment and death threats and rape threats. He knew what had happened to her last time she became a target. HE ENDANGERED HER LIFE.

Yeah of course I know about he-whose-name-should-not-be-posted-online, that guy spent literally years harassing and taking advantage of women, and you're comparing him to Zoe?

Here's why I'm pissed off right now. I suffered emotional abuse throughout my childhood and adolescence. It caused significant psychological damage. I know what emotional abuse is. I've studied it. Lying is not emotional abuse. Lying is not gaslighting. Jealousy is not emotional abuse. Cheating is not emotional abuse. Telling your partner that you're not comfortable with their relationship with a friend of the opposite sex when they're straight is not abuse. None of this looks like abuse. Abusers separate their partners from ALL close friends and family as well as engaging in an extended campaign of gaslighting, breaking down self esteem, and convincing the partner that they need the abuser to survive. I've seen abusive romantic relationships in action. This was not abuse. This was Zoe doing some bad things leading to a bad breakup leading to Eron doing things to literally but Zoe's life in danger, or at the very least cause her real psychological harm.

There is an issue of consent here, and depending on how Eron responded to Zoe's assertion that cheating and then sleeping with the partner without telling them is a violation of consent, you could certainly call it rape. But that's not what this is about, is it? No one actually wants to have this conversation about cheating and consent until it can be used to justify the brutal harassment of a woman and everyone she's associated with.

None of these people attacking Zoe give a single flying fuck about emotional abuse or consent issues. They don't. They've only ever said a peep about it to accuse feminists of all the things they're doing now. This is not about abuse. This is not about consent. This is about hatred of women and trying to drive women out of the gaming industry. Last night I saw two women I look up to talk about leaving the industry because of everything they've endured just from supporting Zoe in some way, real or imagined. And then I see screenshots of people on 4chan or whatever saying that this is proof they're "winning." THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT ABUSE. THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT DRIVING WOMEN OUT OF THEIR FUCKING VIDEO GAME WORLD.

Abuse does not justify abuse. Ever. And I can't really get my head into any discussion about consent while I continue to see evidence that no one really cares about it. While the type of abuse that I suffered for so long, that no one ever talked about, is used as justification for brutally attacking and abusing women. Fuck. That.

Alana Moore said...

TW: abuse, MI, rape, suicide

Listen, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I agree about the intentions of #gamergate as a whole. But I think it's unfair to make these accusations against Eron without even reading his evidence. And I think it's unfair to assume nobody bringing up consent or emotional abuse actually care. I have defended Eron BECAUSE I'm a feminist and emotional abuse survivor and see so many similarities in his experience. But I have been talking about consent and emotional abuse for years before this came up and will continue to. You say you don't think it's helpful addressing the abuse or consent because many of the people involved don't care. We simply have different approaches because I don't think it's helpful to seem contradictory in our positions just because we don't personally like someone. (We = feminists.)

As for my reasoning and points of disagreement:

1) Not all lying is gaslighting but all gaslighting includes lying, and I'm not sure how you're judging that without reading. I did feel that Zoe reach the level of gaslighting, and Eron's emotional response to it was consistent as well.

2.) I haven't seen you address whether threatening suicide is abusive when used to get your way or prevent a breakup. Because that is something that happens multiple times in the chat logs and only when Zoe's trying to control Eron.

3.) Zoe did a lot more than express discomfort with Eron having a straight opposite sex friend. She continually belittled, guilted, and threatened self harm until he agreed to cut off his friend. And even him cutting her off wasn't enough, and she continued to belittle and guilt him. She only relented after she got him to claim cutting contact was his idea and desire! She was literally trying to control his feelings, and that's very much a typical abuser thing. She was also doing the control thing of making someone say up is down and day is night.

4.) How can you say something could be called rape but not abuse? I can't understand that so maybe I am missing some nuance here. But I don't think you can say airing her private business is abuse because it endangers her life ... Without acknowledging that cheating on someone and talking them into unprotected sex is clearly ALSO ENDANGERING THEIR LIFE. It's also worth noting that Eron has stated he didn't believing thezoepost would endanger her life. Whereas Zoe repeatedly called cheating abuse and rape before, during, and after her engagement in it.

And basically, there are some uncomfortable trends throughout the logs, of Eron constantly apologizing and giving into all Zoe's beliefs/demands. There is also a trend of Zoe identifying all the behavior she engages in as abusive prior to doing it. Additionally, he has said he feels he has been abused, and that it caused anxiety, panic attacks and low self-esteem. He has also written a tumblr post about his feelings at the time that are dead on descriptions of depersonalization/dissociation.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I see what you're saying, and if you're truly in this to fight emotional abuse, great. But the reality is that most of the people who brought up emotional abuse don't actually give a shit about it, and I don't trust Eron at all now. He's been giving advice to GamerGate leaders and he said that he didn't think Zoe would get harassed after he posted his big ol' website thing, which is complete bullshit, and he also says he would do it again. So, fuck him. He's a piece of shit.

GS Talbert said...

You're arguing that the victims of Sanduskey should stay silent because he may face abuse. You are a sick, sexist, and disgusting person. You should feel ashamed of yourself because you are a shameful person.

GS Talbert said...

Can't agree more. Zoe has been a revolting pig from start to finish. I hope she ends up in jail.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Wow, that is the worst false equivalency I've seen in a long time.

Sexual abuse is an entire universe away from emotional abuse. A child telling an adult about abuse is not even slightly close to making an entire blog dedicated to exposing every detail of a relationship. And last but not least, SANDUSKEY IS A MAN.

Feel free to never comment on my blog again, you worthless piece of shit.