taura_g: (Puppy!)
The last line on [livejournal.com profile] drwex most excellent summation of his views is what I wonder any social community can come to some basic agreement of...

If we cannot find a way to work with each other - despite our different frameworks - to deal with an abuser and social gatherings then we have a pretty deep problem.

In my LiveJournal alone (and I certainly don't have the largest of friends list I know of...), my flist crosses the boundaries of PolyBoston, the local SpinJams, the Burner Crowd, the Kink Community, Community Theater and the MIT Suspects crowd.  More than one of them has struggled with this issue and that is a lot of points of view, a lot of history and a lot of different lifestyles.*

So in an attempt to boil an extremely complex situation and discussion into it's simplest form, I am asking for ideas.

Putting aside recent events and escalating disagreements, how would you want to deal with an abuser and social gatherings within your social circle?

Guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Don't make specific references to people or history*.

  2. This is in regards to gatherings in private settings, ie a person's home.

  3. One person's friend could be another person's abuser.

*(ETA-Forgot to put this at the bottom) I am a historian at heart and have some very passionate ideas on personal history that I may expound upon in a separate post.

Date: 2014-07-11 05:18 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] trowa-barton.livejournal.com
It is something to think about tonight.

Uh yeah

Date: 2014-07-11 05:23 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] drwex
drwex: (Default)
One person's friend could be another person's abuser.

Yeah, once I figure this out I'll be sure to say something. Right now I'm trying to hold onto the idea that we are none of us saints, while respecting the views of people who want a hard line of the "no abuser should ever be given the chance to repeat their offense on the innocent".

This is the kind of thing I've been losing sleep over. Thanks for trying to help focus discussion on the important things.

Re: Uh yeah

Date: 2014-07-11 06:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] taura-g.livejournal.com
Which is where the problem lies, isn't it? If it weren't for the fact that many abusers out there are friendly, charming people who have good friends of their own, there really wouldn't be a problem would there?

The hardline view would be very easy to take if all abusers generally came across as lowlife.

Re: Uh yeah

Date: 2014-07-11 06:43 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] drwex
drwex: (Default)
Indeed. I talked about this in my own LJ under the notion of "othering" and "monsters". There are definitely those (perhaps best represented by the_xtina) who feel an absolute hard line is necessary. For them the crime outweighs the humanity. I respect that view, though I don't agree with it.(*)

Then there's another view that I think aroraborealis has articulated, which seems to say that people make mistakes and it's important to understand those mistakes and separate out people who are mistaken, who are honestly trying to redeem their mistakes and so on. Early on, Song noted that part of her attempt to settle with Judah involved him agreeing to admit his actions and take anger management counseling.

I think that this second view would support a rule (and again, I think Song has written along these lines) they would like to see a person who hasn't taken such steps kept out of the group until such steps are taken.

I think a significant chunk of the disagreement between the two sides in this dispute is over whether Judah falls into one or the other view. People have referred to his behavior within their sight or in the time since his attack on Song. In response, Song has pointed to a model of domestic violence patterning and others have pointed out that most rapists are not guilty of single attacks but show a pattern of behaviors.

Enh, I'm just repeating what others have said and I'm not sure I'm adding anything so I'll stop here.

(*) and here's where I check my privilege card and say, yep it's my privilege that lets me do this. If I was not in such a privileged position I might feel differently.

Date: 2014-07-11 07:07 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] smacaski.livejournal.com
I tend toward the latter view that abusers can redeem themselves and should not necessarily be banned from the community/ies forever. However, I think until such time that the abuser a) acknowledges the abuse, b) that it was wrong and they are repentant, and c) take demonstrable steps to show they are trying to reform their abusive behaviors, I would not want them to be invited back into the community. Of course, then we get into the subjective arguments of what "demonstrable steps" means and how one much observed improved behavior is needed. And, as you note, for some people there may never be enough good behavior to warrant re-entry. And while I have known abusers/accused abusers and have allowed myself to reestablish relationships with them after what I feel is an honest effort to reform, in the back of my mind I do still wonder if that abusive side can ever re-emerge, so I'm still always a touch wary. I suppose my feeling can be summed up as "Forgive, but never forget."


Date: 2014-07-14 06:33 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] taura-g.livejournal.com
Demonstrable steps can be a kicker at times, but I think that a person would have to be pretty public about the fact that their behavior was wrong and taking steps to repair it anyway, if they wanted forgiveness/reaceptance.

Re: Yes.

Date: 2014-07-15 11:51 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] mrw42.livejournal.com
Forgiveness/re-acceptance from/by whom?

I think it is unrealistic to believe that any community of significant size and poorly defined membership can achieve consensus on complex questions like: Did the reported events actually occur as described? Does the behavior in question constitute abuse? Has the abuser properly acknowledged his or her culpability? Is he/she sufficiently contrite? Has he/she taken appropriate actions to prevent reoccurrence? Is it safe to allow the abuser to socialize with us, with our friends who haven't been warned, or with our children?

I think that we have to accept that each person needs to answer those sorts of questions for him/herself, based on his/her knowledge, beliefs and personal experiences. We should understand that people's answers may change over time as the situation evolves. At times, there will be people who feel strongly about opposing answers -- that is unavoidable.

Perhaps the best we can do is to respect everyone's right to reach his/her own conclusions, and realize that holding different views on these issues does not make anyone a bad person. We should try to accept that each of us has the right to decide who we invite to our homes, whether we attend (or stay at) a given event, whether to socialize with a given person, and whether to warn others about the situation.

[Please note: absolutely nothing in this post is specific to Shira or Judah. I don't know either of them well, and I do not know the details of that situation well enough to comment on it.]
Edited Date: 2014-07-16 06:08 am (UTC)

Re: Yes.

Date: 2014-07-16 01:48 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] taura-g.livejournal.com
Perhaps the best we can do is to respect everyone's right to reach his/her own conclusions, and realize that holding different views on these issues does not make anyone a bad person. We should try to accept that each of us has the right to decide who we invite to our homes, whether we attend (or stay at) a given event, whether to socialize with a given person, and whether to warn others about the situation.

As the conversation has continued, this is the one thing that wish more people would agree on. Respect for everyone's right to reach their own conclusions.

We are not all going to agree. Too many different viewpoints and experiences.

Re: Uh yeah

Date: 2014-07-18 08:19 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] sariel-t.livejournal.com
Ditto. This is something I have been having problems with, too.

Date: 2014-07-11 06:10 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] lillibet.livejournal.com
I don't have a general solution.

I have stopped inviting, or declined to invite, to my home at least two people who have behaved violently or abusively to others in my circle.

I have also chosen to continue inviting someone who behaved violently toward someone of my acquaintance who does not come to my parties--in that case I discussed the incident (which did not involve the police or any legal action) with my friend and am reasonably confident that it was an isolated incident to which the other person's behavior contributed substantially, and that my friend has taken steps to address his behavior in that situation and its underlying causes with professionals.

As a host, I feel responsible for the behavior of my guests in my home and, to some degree, for essentially saying "these are cool people" about and to everyone who attends. Certainly in the particular case mentioned above I would feel responsible if my friend were to behave violently at the party and somewhat responsible if he were to, for example, establish a relationship based on acquaintance at my home that later became violent.

Date: 2014-07-11 07:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] zzbottom.livejournal.com
First off, where I once regularly hosted open-to-the-community parties somewhat regularly, I am now, almost certainly, not going to do that ever again. That is one sad but basic fact. I don't wish to be held responsible, directly or passively, for someone else's trauma.

As for smaller, specific-invite events, I will make sure that invitees are made aware of the proposed guest list and allow them to make their own decisions. In cases where potential conflicts or triggers arise, I'll be happy to act as intermediary to ensure that parties at odds won't coexist at my events.

Date: 2014-07-11 09:11 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] elusiveat.livejournal.com
I think it's really important to distinguish between public-space abusers and private-space abusers. If someone is acting inappropriately in public space, it is absolutely appropriate for a host to ask them to leave, stop inviting them, and if necessary use the force of law to eject them. The host gets to define what is inappropriate, but common decency dictates that they should in *some way* respond to distress on the part of their other guests. Hosts have a responsibility to look to the safety of their guests, and if one guest is putting other guests in danger, measures *must* be taken. There is also a responsibility of immediate witnesses to intervene as necessary.

Private-space abusers feel a lot more complicated to manage in public space. At minimum, I feel there's a responsibility of a community to make sure that immediate potential victims are aware of relevant histories so that they can take measures to maintain their own safety, including avoiding entrusting their safety to the abuser in private space. It's also totally reasonable for individuals to approach community members and say that they will not attend events attended by *specific* known abusers and to say that they will not attend events to which those abusers are invited. This is appropriate ostracism in that those who feel the abusers should be ostracized can participate in ostracism while not forbidding others from forming friendships with abusers. Saying that you never want to attend an event to which *any* known abuser is invited seems less reasonable to me, especially since different people are going to have different thresholds for what constitutes known abuse (both what is abuse, and what level of evidence is required for it to be known), but ultimately that comes down to individual judgment. In a large community, universal mutual trust is impossible, and as you say one person's abuser will inevitably be other people's friend.

Things get messy when a potential victim has been warned of possible abuse and nevertheless decides to trust a known private-space abuser in private space. This starts to turn into more of a "closest friends" matter, where people who know the potential victim well might take them asside, but unless there is obvious and immediate physical danger I think there's a point where people need to be permitted to make their own mistakes. NB: this should not be taken in any way as excusing the known abuser if said person proceeds to violate the trust that's been given them, whether it was deserved or not. Ultimately, abuse is an action, not an identity, and even somebody with a known history of abusing should be held responsible for *every* instance of abuse. Similarly, no victim should be blamed for a lapse in judgment. Everyone makes mistakes.

Regardless of public of private space, any individual who feels immediately physically threatened should not be forbidden from taking whatever measures they need to take in order to feel safe. This would include leaving the space, seeking a chaperone/escort, physical self-defense, and/or calling the police. One such example is if someone departing space for their own safety fears being followed by the abuser.

Date: 2014-07-11 09:17 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] elusiveat.livejournal.com
I want to say something about the error misplaced trust, but I'm not quite sure how to word it. The idea I'm grasping toward is that the *ability* to trust is both precious and fragile. So in some ways it feels like misplaced trust says something positive about a victim or would-be victim.

Date: 2014-07-11 10:20 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] beowabbit
beowabbit: (Default)
Late to something but here’s a placeholder to try to remind myself to come back here and say a little bit at some point. This is something I’ve thought about quite a lot.

Date: 2014-07-12 12:37 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] intuition-ist.livejournal.com
how would you want to deal with an abuser and social gatherings within your social circle?

I'm going to assume the gatherings in this question are at my home, since that's the context I have some control over. Short form: There are people connected to the community whom I want nothing to do with, and whom I do not want in my personal space, who will probably try to come if there is an open-invite party. Therefore, I do not and probably never will hold open-invite parties in my home.

I do my best to not invite people to a gathering when I know they will have issues with each other. On the other hand, the invite list for my parties is generally known to the entire list, so if you're invited, and you have an issue with another possible attendee, then you can make your own decisions about whether you'd like to attend. (I'll make the subject of another rant entirely about those people who *don't* want me to reveal the fact that they're invited. Gah.)

I don't tolerate abuse. If I believe someone to have abused my friends, they lose all access to me & my home, and likely any good feeling I ever had about them. If some incident tries to get started under my roof, I have no compunction about calling people on their shit -- and evicting them from the event, if necessary. If someone tries something on *me* and I feel threatened and/or unable to remove myself from the situation, hell yeah I'm calling the police, and putting them in jail if possible.

from another comment thread entirely: personally i think there could be a little less tolerance of people's insane crap in the wider community and a little more calling to a standard of behavior without losing anything much in the doing of it.

Date: 2014-07-13 11:51 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] mizarchivist
mizarchivist: (Bookworm hides)
This is about where I stand, too. I did try for big parties once upon a time (like 10-15 years ago) but quickly moved to curated to ease my spouse's discomfort at the chaos that is an open-invite. And now I've become someone who prefers carefully curated parties. These days I do not do well these days with large parties, particularly one I'm hosting. More than 10 people, and I'm really not having fun.
My habit has been to drift from people who generally cause chaos and strife around them: not necessarily abuse, but obviously that would fall into the spectrum. So, I've not had to immediately face this issue of what to do? I, like others, would like to think that I'd be willing to separate the unrepentant from the penitent. But, if this event I'm theoretically throwing is in my home, I also defer to the comfort of my whole house. I'm probably the least hard-lined of the four adults here... and yeah. So, ???

Date: 2014-07-12 01:25 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] dcltdw
dcltdw: (Default)
Now that I think about it, there is a case in one of my social circles that is similar to this. To summarize, some guy at one larp is accused by several women of sexual harrasment or assault. This guy plays at larps in $LOCATION1 whereas I tend to play in larps in $LOCATION2 and $LOCATION3.

To me, the important thing is that directors of other games know this guy's name. "This is something you should know: this guy has been accused of serious transgressions at $game1. The directors at $game1 are $name1, $name2, and here are their email addresses if you have questions for them. The directors who resigned over the handling of this are blahblahblah. Now you know."

Sufficient? Not necessarily: some other games could have directors who don't give a damn, the guy goes there, history repeats itself. But I am unwilling to go to the effort to spread this guy's name to anyone who might be in or potentially join the larp community. But the minimal effort, definitely.


I am unsympathetic to someone who says "give me a second chance". No. Ignominy is what happens to people who do bad things, and if you're looking for redemption, you'll bear the consequences of what you did without complaint. If I'm still willing to talk to you, you are currently experiencing a second chance: don't spoil it by whining. Too often, people say "aww c'mon, gimme a second chance" when they really mean, "aww c'mon, this change thing is hard, how about you stop asking me to act differently".


In the past, I've been okay with cutting people off. What I've been trying to do in the present is to cut people off sans rancor. I don't need to get all excited, or angry, or anything. What I can actually do is rather limited, so only focus on that, and don't waste emotional energy on it. Do what I need to do, and move on.

Date: 2014-07-12 01:30 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] weegoddess.livejournal.com
Honestly, I'm not sure. There's a lot to consider here - lots of factors and lots of variables. My first question would be to the nature of the abuse that the accused person has been charged (or labeled) with. I would most certainly not invite someone into my home who I believed was a danger to any of the other invitees. I would have to weigh what I knew of the person and what others had previously come forward to say.

I'm giving it thought; in the meantime, I am reading and listening.

::and sending hugs, just cuz::

Date: 2014-07-12 03:34 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] weegoddess.livejournal.com
Okay, giving it more thought lead me to add something I hadn't explicitly said and hadn't realized the omission: the abused absolutely must be protected. I suspect that most people would agree with this and I'm sorry that it has to be explicitly said, but comments of late make me wonder about that.

A concern I have is that there are many abusers out there who have not been identified as such people have not come forward. I'm not sure how to identify them without data to back it up, one data point might be a conviction even though I realize that these are very rare and difficult to get. The legal system is messed up and cannot be trusted as the only means of identification; we know this. Another data point might be if more than one person came forward with a similar account of personal experience with the suspected abuser. This does not mean that I would ignore one person's account and call it invalid. But corroborating accounts would convince me a lot more that the one person's story was based on more than a personal vendetta, which admittedly is a possibility.

There are also people who have been noted to be 'creepy' but no one has actually come forward with specifics of why they might an actual threat or danger. One person's creepy might be another person's annoying or 'socially clueless'. And we know that there are a lot of social-clueless people in our bunch. That doesn't make them bad people or abusers. Some people might truly not realize that they are coming across that way. Should they be shunned? I'd hate to do that without data. I think that lots of us have been ostracised at one time or another, and it hurts. I'd hate to shut out a person who has not been found to be an actual danger or threat, simply because they are annoying. Some people are annoying *because* they feel unloved and shut out. Then again, creepy behavior might just be targeted to specific people (i.e. potential victims) and that's a big red flag. If someone tells me that someone else comes across as creepy to them, I pay attention.

All that said, if someone was identified to have done intentionally bad things by a person(s) whose integrity and judgement I trusted, I would not want them around me or mine and would do my best to avoid them. I think that most of us can agree on that.

I hope that made sense? If not, I hope that people will ask me to clarify. And that they'll play nice. We're all grown-ups here.

Date: 2014-07-12 11:56 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] yendi
yendi: (Default)
#3 is the thing that I think tends to really create havoc because people have a LOT of trouble accepting the possibility that this might be about their friends (also applies to "people they admire" -- I'll avoid examples here, as well, but there's a certain mindset that says that creating a great work of art or mentoring someone else who creates great art means the person in question must be innocent).

I suspect you know where I stand on this, but in case it's not clear, I fall very firmly on the side of protecting the abused here. That means that the abuser shouldn't be welcome in my home, and shouldn't be welcome by anyone reasonably expecting or interested in my visiting their home.

I'm not opposed to the notion of contrition or rehabilitation, but those are very different concepts from just giving someone another chance. And while I do realize that this is something that by definition requires the abuser having friends and connections, I don't see the victim as someone who should have to shoulder this burden (nor do I take for granted than an abuser is inherently capable of contrition or of being rehabilitated or reformed).

(And as always, I'm a big advocate of awareness of Geek Social Fallacies and The Missing Stair when having these conversations.)

(Note: Will be at ReaderCon all day today and tomorrow, so my time on LJ is limited.)

Date: 2014-07-12 04:09 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] crazybone.livejournal.com
I struggle with this. I was raised in a religion that is really big on forgiveness and redemption but I was never really that good at it. I would let most things go eventually but, certain things were beyond the pale. Sexual assault of adults or children was one of these. Like most people a significant amount of this has to do with my personal feelings, outlook on life, and the experiences of those close to me. I've seen a bunch of people get off with a slap on the wrist for things like this way too often for second chances to be a default option.
Honestly I'm kind of envious of people like [livejournal.com profile] smacaski who have the ability to forgive, but not forget.
I might feel more confident in the forgive part if I had more faith in the accuracy of the evaluations for treatment programs for individuals such as these.
As it is, my experiences have told me it's pretty easy to "pass" these tests if you want to do so.

Of course, it's easy to be hardliner on a stranger rather than your best friend right?
That said, a general rule I have for people I'm close to is if you own your damage and are actively taking steps to work on it then you still get to be part of my life in some way. This might be phone and email conversations only or me going to their place alone. However, without clearing a much higher bar than that I would not feel comfortable giving them access to other people in my life or my communities and thus probably won't be allowed at my house.

Date: 2014-07-15 03:11 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] dpolicar
dpolicar: (Default)
I don't have any deep thoughts here.

But I endorse a model where I can be understood to endorse, at least by default, the character of everyone I invite to, or decline to disinvite from, my parties.

Which I think requires that I either disinvite, or decline to invite, anyone whose character I have reason to endorse less-than-default.


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