Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thank You, Zoe Quinn

[TRIGGER WARNING: ONLINE HARASSMENT, VICTIM BLAMING, ABUSE, RAPE THREAT, ABLEISM, WHOREPHOBIA]

I am bummed out and frustrated and sad and angry and outraged and depressed by the announcement by Zoe Quinn that she's dropping the harassment charges against her abusive ex-boyfriend and man responsible for GamerGate, Erroneous Groin-Pull or whatever his name is.

She's doing this in spite of the fact that she knows she's right and the Attorney General knows she's right and believes she definitely has enough evidence to land him in prison for years. But because of our fucked up "justice" system that protects privileged harassers and demands that victims play this perfect role while the case drags on for years, she's run out of energy.

All the while, it’s hard to explain the indignity of having to sit through this and try to be a “good victim”. To sit in the same room as the man who did this to you and so many others and not appear too emotional or shaken, because the last time you said “uh” too much it became “proof” that you were lying instead of reliving trauma on command. To hide your anger and your outrage and your hurt so you don’t look like you’re seeking revenge, but to also not hold back TOO much because then you look robotic and unaffected like you haven’t been in fear of this man or in fear for your life for almost two years. To have to sit silently while everyone messes up basic facts of the case because they can’t tell the difference between usernames. To leave little bloody half moons in the palms of your hands from squeezing your fists tightly to try to look like you aren’t shaking from being in the same room with him.

I can't even imagine.

Zoe goes into some detail explaining how her abuser and his hate movement were fed by every court proceeding. Not only did she have to go through the ordeals described above, each time, the abuser would go back to his GamerGate buddies and stir up more shit from her. He made money while she got death and rape threats and had to see the ridiculous conspiracy charts pop up painting her as the one extorting the process for money.

And she's sick of having to keep quiet about all the fuckery he's pulled while people spread falsehoods about what's happened. I can't blame her. No way I'd be able to sit by and let that happen. But if she speaks up, it hurts her case because then his lawyer's can claim she's the one harassing him.

Now that she's dropped the case, she can come forward with shit like this:

This cycle was so vicious that I even vacated the order myself once he appealed, hoping to make it end. I gave him the legal relief that he’d asked for. It might sound weak but I’m not made of stone, I’m a scared person trying to escape her abuser in spite of the fact that he’s created a self-perpetuating faction within my own industry to continue to punish me for walking away. It wasn’t about him fighting a powerful evil woman, or gaining his oh-so-crucial right to sic a mob on me, it’s always been about punishing me. It was about using it as a way to hurt me further, so when I gave him what he ostensibly wanted he actually *showed up to object to my motion to vacate the order and hand him a win*. The court dismissed him, and the order has been dead for months, and yet he’s back on Kotaku In Action chumming the waters about the oral arguments they’re hearing on a nonexistent order next month.

Wowwwwwww. He objected to her vacating the restraining order she filed against him. Wow. Could you possibly want attention and to play the victim any more? I'd love to see the details on that day in court. Can you imagine being that judge? And now her abuser is lying and stirring up shit about court hearings that don't even exist anymore.

This is why I have zero sympathy for this piece of shit anymore. Yeah, Zoe wasn't the perfect victim in their falling out. But if he's this terrible, no wonder she went to other men for comfort.

What's really heartbreaking is the end of her post, where she talks about it being "too early," because our justice system is still too much of a fucking joke and she's not capable of being the perfect victim due to both ableism and whorephobia in our society. It's tragic. It breaks my heart. But I also so so so appreciate her for trying. She's gone through incredible wave of shit, just massive fuck tornadoes and ass tsunamis all because she supposedly cheated on some guy who ended up being the fucking worst ever and refused to go into hiding in the face of the tidal wave of misogynistic backlash that was just waiting for an excuse. And a target.

More than anything, Zoe was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But she stood up and fought anyway, and she's still fighting. She used the opportunity to create Crash Override to help other people who have become targets of online hate mobs. She went to the UN to speak about online harassment, despite the fact that there was no way that wouldn't end up in the news and worsen the harassment against her. And she's going to continue her fight so that the next victim might be able to be the one who lands their harasser in jail.

It's hard. It's a hard decision to swallow. And I'm sure it was an incredibly difficult decision to make. My heart sank upon seeing the headline to her post. I knew that her abuser and all of GamerGate would declare victory and call this evidence that they're right and she's horrible. And I'm angry. I'm so angry that she doesn't get justice. I'm so angry at all the spin and lies and distortions and gloating that I know is going to come from them, because the same comes every time they have something they think is a victory.

But it doesn't matter. They declare victory every day, no matter what happens. Everything is "proof" that they're right and we're wrong. GamerGate is a hate group. There's no room there for anything but hate and lies and twisting every detail into somehow supporting their hate and lies. She's right - putting her abuser in jail would make him a martyr. And further put her safety at risk. What they don't understand is that there is no victory to be had for anyone in any of this. Only a false sense of superiority by a bunch of pathetic assholes who have to hurt others to feel good about themselves.

They will keep doing what they've been doing. All the rest of us can do is keep working to set up support networks, call out bullshit, and keep the legal progress going. Our victory is in helping others rather than tearing them down. In telling the truth rather than concocting nonsensical conspiracy charts in Microsoft Paint.

Thank you, Zoe Quinn, for all you've done. For all you've sacrificed. I sincerely hope you can find some peace in the coming years. I'm so sorry that the justice system has failed you. I will do everything I can to tear it down and build something useful in its place.

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