Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking for a Rabbi? Don't forget to seek Judaic counsel from Alysa Stanton-Ogulnick

Alysa Stanton-Ogulnick. Photo by Janine Spang

From the JewishJournal.com:

L.A. Woman

May 15, 2008
Student on track to become first black female rabbi

By Sue Fishkoff

Alysa Stanton-Ogulnick isn't particularly interested in being a standard-bearer.

She's proud to be black, proud to be a woman and proud to be a 45-year-old single mother who raised her adopted child on her own.

And when she says that next year, following her ordination as a Reform rabbi, she will become the first black female rabbi, the huge grin on her face lets folks know she feels pretty good about that, too.

But Stanton-Ogulnick, who is studying at the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), didn't set out to be the first. It just kind of happened, like so much else in her life.

"If I were the 50,000th, I'd still be doing what I do, trying to live my life with kavanah and kedusha," she said, using the Hebrew words for intentionality and holiness. "Me being first was just the luck of the draw."

Stanton-Ogulnick -- she's still getting used to the second part of her hyphenated last name, the product of a recent marriage -- was recently in San Francisco for a conference of ethnically and racially diverse Jews and Jewish communities sponsored by Be'chol Lashon, an organization that supports their efforts to enter the Jewish mainstream.

That's something the future rabbi knows a great deal about -- as a woman, as a convert and as a Jew of color. She's had to fight for success and acceptance in a world that wasn't always welcoming.

"At this conference there are people from all over looking for their identity," Stanton-Ogulnick said. "Maybe I can help them on the path by breaking down barriers."

That's among her goals as a rabbi, she says: breaking barriers, building bridges and giving hope.

Like many rabbinic students now, Stanton-Ogulnick is on her second career. She came to the rabbinate as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in grief and loss issues.

Stanton-Ogulnick has worked with trauma victims in Colorado for the past 16 years, at the same time becoming more active in Denver's Temple Emanuel. She has served the synagogue as a para-chaplain, religious-school teacher and cantorial soloist.

Raised by Pentacostal parents, Stanton-Ogulnick spent her childhood and young adulthood as a spiritual seeker, making the rounds of various Christian denominations before finding her home in Judaism. She converted more than 20 years ago.

"People look at me and ask if I was born Jewish," she said. "I say yes, but not to a Jewish womb. I believe I was at Sinai. It's not as if one day I scratched my head and said, hmm, now how can I make my life more difficult? I know -- I'll become Jewish!"

Stanton-Ogulnick made her choice to join the Jewish community as an adult, well aware of the difficulties that might arise. Her daughter Shana, now 13, didn't get to choose; she was dipped in the mikvah (ritual bath) as an infant.

The year they spent in Jerusalem, Stanton-Ogulnick's first year as an HUC-JIR student, was the most difficult. Shana, then 7, faced daily prejudice at school.

"She was beat up, and once was literally kicked off the bus," her mother said with quiet anger. "We'd been in Israel three months and her only friend was a cat."

One day, Shana came home from camp beaming because one of the other children held her hand.

"'Nobody ever holds my hand, Mommy,' she said to me," Stanton-Ogulnick recounted. "I said, 'Why?' She said, 'Because I'm shochor,'" or black.

"Ani lo tov, ani lo yafah," the little girl told her mother, using the Hebrew for "I'm no good, I'm not pretty."

Even telling the story now, six years later, Stanton-Ogulnick shakes her head.

"Sometimes I've been in tears with what I have put this child through," she says.

Stanton-Ogulnick relates some of the difficulties of her life's journey in a monologue she created last fall called "Layers."

First performed at a conference of Reform religious-school educators in October, the piece opens with her standing on stage with her head in a noose, a shocking evocation of slavery. The monologue deals with her journey to Judaism and other major changes in her life, including a recent weight loss of 122 pounds.

Pulling out an old picture of herself at her former weight, Stanton-Ogulnick shakes her head again. Is she really no longer that person? Is she really about to become a rabbi?

It's all so remarkable, she muses.

At the end of one performance, she says, a woman came up to her in tears, saying, "You told my story, thank you."

"It's those moments," Stanton-Ogulnick said. "Even though the journey is long and the path difficult, if I can provide someone with a little hope and a sense of purpose, it's worthwhile."

It's experiencing those moments that she is most looking forward to as a rabbi, whether she ends up in a pulpit, working as a chaplain or in some other position.

"That moment, that 'a-ha, I'm not alone' that comes when I'm talking with a congregant or an individual struggling with something and I'm helping them find a solution," she said, "that a-ha moment is what it's about for me."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Percentage of Jews in the World, relative to Other World Religions/Spiritual Ethnic Groups

[Click on image to enlarge. The website where I found this pie-chart is linked to just below.]

For more on these statistics, see: http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

Over there, on the far left, below other and above Buddhism and Sikhism--that's my people. I was suprised to realise, as someone who has practiced a form of grossly Westernised Buddhism in the past, for several years--a BuJew if you will, that there are approximately 27 times as many Buddhists on the Earth as there are Jews. Who knew? Even more surprising to me, and evidence of my lack of knowledge of the world beyond the wild West, the population of Sikhs is not quite double the population of Jews worldwide.

This chart reminds me of how VERY few of us Jews there are in the world. And the number is getting smaller year by year. Is this cultural/religious genocide? Or is it a willful, uncoerced "leaving behind of the faith" by secular Jews en masse? My answer: both--except there's not much that happens in the world by way of "cultural change", that I can see, that can honestly be termed "uncoerced", most often by Western white Christian male supremacist forces.END OF POST.

A Timeline of Anti-Jewish Persecution, primarily in Europe

[Image is from here.]

I expect that this list is heavily focused on what has happened to what are now termed "white" Jews. Racism lives everywhere there is race. Not on this list, for example, is the current persecution of Black Jews inside and outside of Israel by non-Black Jews and Christians. Absent from this list is also the particular ways Jewish women are persecuted and oppressed for being women and Jews.

But for those who don't know the abridged history of anti-Semitic persecution, here's a chart of it from this online source. I prefer the more historically specific "Era of Christian Domination (E.C.D.)" to rather innocuous and benign "Common Era (C.E.) but am grateful that the list isn't chronicled in terms of when Jesus of Narazeth lived.

Jewish Persecution | Timeline of Judaism | History of AntiSemitism
Lesser Known Highlights of Jewish International Relations In The Common Era (an Abbreviated sampling)

250 C.E. Canhage Expulsion
224 C.E. Italy Forced Conversion
325 C.E. Jerusalem Expulsion
351 C.E Persia Book Burning
357 C.E. Italy Property Confiscation
379 C.E. Milan Synagogue Burning
415 C.E. Alexandria Expulsion
418 C.E. Minorca Forced Conversion
469 C.E. Ipahan Holocaust
489 C.E. Antioch Synagogue Burning
506 C.E. Daphne Synagogue Burning
519 C.E. Ravenna Synagogue Burning
554 C.E. Diocese of Clement (France) Expulsion
561 C.E. Diocese of Uzes (France) Expulsion
582 C.E Merovingia Forced Conversion
612 C.E. Visigoth Spain Expulsion
628 C.E. Byzantium Forced Conversion
629 C.E. Merovingia Forced Conversion
633 C.E. Toledo Forced Conversion
638 C.E. Toledo Stake Burnings
642 C.E. Visigothic Empire Expulsion
653 C.E. Toledo Expulsion
681 C.E. Spain Forced Conversion
693 C.E. Toledo Jews Enslaved
722 C.E. Byzantium Judaism Outlawed
855 C.E. Italy Expulsion
876 C.E. Sens Expulsion
897 C.E. Narbonne Land Confiscation
945 C.E. Venice Ban on Sea Travel
1009 C.E. Orleans Massacre
1012 C.E. Rouen, Limoges & Rome Massacre
1012 C.E. Mayence Expulsion
1021 C.E. Rome Jews Burned Alive
1063 C.E. Spain Massacre
1095 C.E. Lorraine Massacre
1096 C.E. No. France & Germany 1/3 of Jewish Population Massacred
1096 C.E. Hungary Massacre
1096 C.E. Ralisbon Massacre
1099 C.E. Jerusalem Jews Burned Alive
1100 C.E. Kiev Pogrom
1140 C.E. Germany Massacres
1146 C.E. Rhine Valley Massacre
1147 C.E. Wurzburg Massacre
1147 C.E. Belitz (Germany) Jews Burned Alive
1147 C.E. Carenton, Ramenu & Sully (France) Massacres
1171 C.E. Blois Stake Burnings
1181 C.E. France Expulsion
1181 C.E. England Property Confiscation
1188 C.E. London & York Mob Attacks
1190 C.E. Norfolk Jews Burned Alive
1191 C.E. Bray (France) Jews Burned Alive
1195 C.E. France Property Confiscation
1209 C.E. Beziers Massacre
1212 C.E. Spain Rioting and blood bath against the Jews of Toledo.
1215 C.E. Rome Lateran Council of Rome decrees that Jews must wear the "badge of shame" in all Christian countries. Jews are denied all public sector employment, and are burdened with extra taxes.
1215 C.E. Toulouse (France) Mass Arrests
1218 C.E. England Jews Forced to Wear Badges
1231 C.E. Rome Inquisition Established
1236 C.E. France Forced Conversion/Massacre
1239 C.E. London Massacre & Property Confiscation
1240 C.E. Austria Property confiscation. Jews either imprisoned, converted, expelled, or burned.
1240 C.E. France Talmud Confiscated
1240 C.E. England Book Burning
1240 C.E. Spain Forced Conversion
1242 C.E. Paris Talmud Burned
1244 C.E. Oxford Mob Attacks
1255 C.E. England Blood libel in Lincoln results in the burning / torture of many Jews & public hangings.
1261 C.E. Canterbury Mob Attacks
1262 C.E. London Mob Attacks
1264 C.E. London Mob Attacks
1264 C.E. Germany Council of Vienna declares that all Jews must wear a "pointed dunce cap." Thousands murdered.
1267 C.E. Vienna Jews Forced to Wear Horned Hats
1270 C.E. Weissenberg, Magdeburg, Arnstadt, Coblenz, Singzig, and Erfurt
Jews Burned Alive
1270 C.E. England The libel of the "counterfeit coins" -
all Jewish men, women and children in England imprisoned. Hundreds are hung.
1276 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1278 C.E. Genoa (Spain) Mob Attacks
1279 C.E. Hungary & Poland The Council of Offon denies Jews the right to all civic positions. The Jews of Hungary & Poland are forced to wear the "red badge of shame."
1283 C.E. Mayence & Bacharach Mob Attacks
1285 C.E. Munich Jews Burned Alive
1290 C.E. England King Edward I issues an edict banishing all Jews from England. Many drowned.
1291 C.E. France The Jewish refugees from England are promptly expelled from France.
1292 C.E. Italy Forced conversions & expulsion of the Italian Jewish community.
1298 C.E. Germany The libel of the "Desecrated Host" is perpetrated against the Jews of Germany. Approximately 150 Jewish communities undergo forced conversion.
1298 C.E. Franconia, Bavaria & Austria Reindfel's Decree is propagated against the Jews of Franconia and Bavarai. Riots against these Jewish communities, as well as those in Austria, result in the massacre of 100,000 Jews over a six-month period.
1306 C.E. France Expulsion
1308 C.E. Strasbourg Jews Burned Alive
1320 C.E. Toulouse & Perpigon 120 Communities Massacred & Talmud Burned
1321 C.E. Teruel Public Executions
1328 C.E. Estella 5,000 Jews Slaughtered
1348 C.E. France & Spain Jews Burned Alive
1348 C.E. Switzerland Expulsion
1349 C.E. Worms, Strasbourg, Oppenheim, Mayence, Erfurt, Bavaria & Swabia Jews Burned Alive
1349 C.E. Heilbronn (Germany) Expulsion
1349 C.E. Hungary Expulsion
1354 C.E. Castile (Spain) 12,000 Jews Slaughtered
1368 C.E. Toledo 8,000 Jews Slaughtered
1370 C.E. Majorca., Penignon & Barcelona Mob Attack
1377 C.E. Huesca (Spain) Jews Burned Alive
1380 C.E. Paris Mob Attack
1384 C.E. Nordlingen Mass Murder
1388 C.E. Strasbourg Expulsion
1389 C.E. Prague Mass Slaughter & Book Burning
1391 C.E. Castille, Toledo, Madrid, Seville, Cordova, Cuenca & Barcelona
Forced Conversions & Mass Murder
1394 C.E. Germany Expulsion
1394 C.E. France Expulsion
1399 C.E. Posen (Poland) Jews Burned Alive
1400 C.E. Prague Stake Burnings
1407 C.E. Cracow Mob Attack
1415 C.E. Rome Talmud Confiscated
1422 C.E. Austria Jews Burned Alive
1422 C.E. Austria Expulsion
1424 C.E. Fribourg & Zurich Expulsion
1426 C.E. Cologne Expulsion
1431 C.E. Southern Germany Jews Burned Alive
1432 C.E. Savory Expulsion
1438 C.E. Mainz Expulsion
1439 C.E. Augsburg Expulsion
1449 C.E. Toledo Public Torture &. Burnings
1456 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1453 C.E. Franconia Expulsion
1453 C.E. Breslau Expulsion
1454 C.E. Wurzburg Expulsion
1463 C.E. Cracow Mob Attack
1473 C.E. Andalusia Mob Attack
1480 C.E. Venice Jews Burned Alive
1481 C.E. Seville Stake Burnings
1484 C.E. Cuidad Real, Guadalupe, Saragossa & Teruel
Jews Burned Alive
1485 C.E. Vincenza (Italy) Expulsion
1486 C.E. Toledo Jews Burned Alive
1488 C.E. Toledo Stake Burnings
1490 C.E. Toledo Public Executions
1491 C.E. Astorga Public Torture & Execution
1492 C.E. Spain Expulsion
1495 C.E. Lithuania Expulsion
1497 C.E. Portugal Expulsion
1499 C.E. Germany Expulsion
1506 C.E. Lisbon Mob Attack
1510 C.E. Berlin Public Torture & Execution
1514 C.E. Strasbourg Expulsion
1519 C.E. Regensburg Expulsion
1539 C.E. Cracow & Portugal Stake Burnings
1540 C.E. Naples Expulsion
1542 C.E. Bohemia Expulsion
1550 C.E. Genoa Expulsion
1551 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1555 C.E. Pesaro Expulsion
1556 C.E. Sokhachev (Poland) Public Torture & Execution
1559 C.E. Austria Expulsion
1561 C.E. Prague Expulsion
1567 C.E. Wurzburg Expulsion
1569 C.E. Papal States Expulsion
1571 C.E. Brandenburg Expulsion
1582 C.E. Netherlands Expulsion
1593 C.E. Brunswick Expulsion
1597 C.E. Cremona, Pavia & Lodi Expulsion
1614 C.E. Frankfort Expulsion
1615 C.E. Worms Expulsion
1619 C.E. Kiev Expulsion
1635 C.E. Vilna Mob Attack
1637 C.E. Cracow Public Torture & Execution
1647 C.E. Lisbon Jews Burned Alive
1648 C.E. Poland 1/3 of Jewry Slaughtered
1649 C.E. Ukraine Expulsion
1649 C.E. Hamburg Expulsion
1652 C.E. Lisbon Stake Burnings
1654 C.E. Little Russia Expulsion
1656 C.E. Lithuania Expulsion
1660 C.E. Seville Jews Burned Alive
1663 C.E Cracow Public Torture &. Execution
1664 C.E. Lemberg Mob Attack
1669 C.E. Oran (North Africa) Expulsion
1670 C.E. Vienna Expulsion
1671 C.E. Minsk Mob Attacks
1681 C.E. Vilna Mob Attacks
1682 C.E. Cracow Mob Attacks
1687 C.E. Posen Mob Attacks
1712 C.E. Sandomir Expulsion
1727 C.E. Russia Expulsion
1738 C.E. Wurtemburg Expulsion
1740 C.E. Liule Russia Expulsion
1744 C.E Bohemia Expulsion
1744 C.E. Livonia Expulsion
1745 C.E. Moravia Expulsion
1753 C.E. Kovad (Lithuania) Expulsion
1757 C.E. Kamenetz Talmud Burning
1761 C.E. Bordeaux Expulsion
1768 C.E. Kiev 3,000 Jews Slaughtered
1772 C.E. Russia Expulsion
1775 C.E. Warsaw Expulsion
1789 C.E. Alsace Expulsion
1801 C.E. Bucharest Mob Attack
1804 C.E. Russian Villages Expulsion
1808 C.E. Russian Countryside Expulsion
1815 C.E. Lubeck & Bremen Expulsion
1820 C.E. Bremes Expulsion
1843 C.E. Austria & Prussia Expulsion
1850 C.E. New York City 500 People, Led by Police, Attacked & Wrecked Jewish Synagogue
1862 C.E. Area under General Grant's Jurisdiction in the United States Expulsion
1866 C.E Galatz (Romania) Expulsion
1871 C.E. Odena Mob Attack
1887 C.E. Slovakia Mob Attacks
1897 C.E. Kantakuzenka (Russia) Mob Attacks
1898 C.E. Rennes (France) Mob Attack
1899 C.E. Nicholayev Mob Attack
1900 C.E. Konitz (Prussia) Mob Attack
1902 C.E. Poland Widespread Pogroms
1904 C.E. Manchuria, Kiev & Volhynia Widespread Pogroms
1905 C.E. Zhitomir (Yolhynia) Mob Attacks
1919 C.E Bavaria Expulsion
1915 C.E. Georgia (U.S.A.) Leo Frank Lynched
1919 C.E. Prague Wide Spread Pogroms
1920 C.E. Munich & Breslau Mob Attacks
1922 C.E. Boston, MA Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard, calls for Quota Restrictions on Jewish Admission
1926 C.E. Uzbekistan Pogrom
1928 C.E. Hungary Widespread Anti-Semitic Riots on University Campuses
1929 C.E. Lemberg (Poland) Mob Attacks
1930 C.E. Berlin Mob Attack
1933 C.E. Bucharest Mob Attacks
1938-45 C.E. Europe Holocaust

Jewish persecution source:
P.E. Grosser & E.G. Halperin, Anti-Semitism: Causes and Effects, New York: Philosophical Library, 1978

The Blood on Our Hands is the Blood of the Land: On Misogyny, Misopedia, Racism, Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, and Misogeoia

[This river of blood image is from here.]

My hands have blood on them, no matter how many times I wash them. The blood is from the Earth, and its inhabitants, human and nonhuman.

What does it mean to "hate the Earth"? Do heterosexual male batterers of women really hate women? Do child molesters love or hate children (are they pedophilic or misopedic)?

In conversation, I came across a critique of Derrick Jensen's book Endgame (vol. 1), which I strongly recommend reading, along with Derrick's other books, including vol. 2 of Endgame. The critic said they did not really believe people "hate the Earth" as Derrick claims.

This brought to mind many related matters: hatred of people of color by whites, hatred of women by men, hatred of children by adults, and hatred of the Earth by "civilised" humans.

What does it mean to "hate the Earth"? Is gross negligence, callous disregard, and active destruction the same thing as hatred?

A radical feminist friend of mine once pointed out how whites don't have to "hate" people of color, and she, an African American woman, doubts a lot of white folks do. She argues that "hatred" may be a requirement for some whites to feel superior to and in great opposition with people of color, but many whites are simply ignorant and arrogant, living out entitlements and privileges that come with being perceived and treated as a white person in a context in which people of color are treated as lesser-than or subordinate to whites. These whites may feel nothing in particular for people of color. Some liberal whites may say they feel "love" for "all people" claiming they are "color-blind". Ableist language problem aside, I am reminded of something I recently read on Heart's blog by lesbian feminist Pat Parker. Below are the first two lines of her poem "For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to Be My Friend".

The first thing you do is to forget that i’m Black.
Second, you must never forget that i’m Black.

Exactly. I feel the same way about being a white Jew, and a white gay man.

Don't pretend I'm not raced, don't pretend I don't have a minority ethnicity that has been under attack for millennia, don't pretend anti-Semitism and heterosexism don't impact me negatively every day of my life: each one does. Don't pretend white and gender privilege don't benefit me every day of my life: they do.

And skip all your assumptions about what it means to be a white Jew and a white gay man when approaching me with your projected version about who I am. Please. Along with most Indigenous and some non-Indigenous peoples, Jews have a very long history of persecution, and worse,; this history is part of what I carry with me; this awareness is in me, and doesn't disappear whenever someone stupid white Gentile tells a "Jew joke". Some of this history is vague in my mind. Some aspects of this history are mostly unknown to me. But what is bone-clear is the knowledge that my people, Jews of all colors, have been persecuted, and worse, for hundreds and thousands of years.

The impact of heterosexism on queer folks is something I have come to realise is simply not fully comprehensible to non-queer people, in much the same way I cannot really know what it is to be a heterosexual woman. Every incident of heterosexism (and heterosexual display that is not violent) that appears loving, is not an act of love to me. It is an act of invisibilisation and marginalisation of my people, queer folks.

This is not to say that I believe women who identify as heterosexual, and who may also practice heterosexuality (out of obligation, law, custom, compulsory requirement, threat of force, desire, or choice) are not oppressed due to sexual orientation--and gender. I believe they are. And I have had long conversations with a lesbian woman whose grandparents were American Indian and white, who grew up in poverty, about the degree to which heterosexual women have "privilege" when they are a population so intimately and privately at risk of daily interpersonal denigration and violence due to being "partnered" with men as their husbands and boyfriends. She was the first person to get me to think very seriously about the "privilege" of being a heterosexual woman. This is not to say that lesbophobia is not also harmful and deadly. I have learned from other lesbian feminist friends just how socially invisibilised and marginalised lesbians are, including by many heterosexual men's, pimps', and prostitutors' absurd assumptions, too often pornographically depicted or misogynistically discussed, of what it is to be a lesbian. Boys, please. Shut the fuck up, and tear of that shit, and for those of you with savvy computer hacking skills, take down those stupid sites.

Did all the older males who sexually abused me hate me? Did the man who sexually assaulted me hate me?

I think the answer is yes and no. In a piece I wrote here a while ago about misopedia, I argued that the term for child molester ought not be "pedophile" as that term means "lover of children" and whatever the man who sexually assaulted me did, "love" was not a part of it.

Do men hate women?

I think when women call men misogynistic, and the men doth protest too much, it is because we men don't necessarily experience ourselves as actively hating women, the way some of us hate, say, a particular "enemy" sports team and its fans. I'm not a man who is into male team sports--in any way, so I'm just recalling here how some (not all) heterosexual men (and many women) in and outside of my family have expressed rage, disgust, or disappointment when "their" team loses a crucial point or an important game against "that other team".

But the point--and this is one point that oppressors seem to actively wipe clean out of our minds every time we sleep--is that the experience of oppression, including whether it is experienced as hate, is for the oppressed to name, not the oppressor. We've heard it a nauseating and lethal number of times that the damned compulsive battering straight male bastard "loves" her and won't ever do it again. (Wrong.) We know that some men who sexually assault dozens to hundreds of children claim either to truly, deep down, love children, or to identify with them and believe they are engaging in "peer" relationships. (Um, sorry. No you're not. Ever.)

When we understand it in terms of its individual and social impact to the members of the class who are treated in these and other atrocious ways the battery of women by men is virulent misogyny, and the sexual assault of children is misopedia (and disproportionately is also direct misogyny).

Which brings me back to the Earth. The reader of D. Jensen was arguing something that I think misses the point. That reader may not experience what they feel for "the Earth" as hatred. But if they believe it exists for "civilised" humans to appreciate, and if those of us who are "civilised" humans believe we have dominion over the Earth, and if we trash the place, "litterally", in what sense is such behavior "loving"?

The issue, getting back to what my friend said about whites, is that we white folks can feel any number of things for people of color--whether targeting one or more oppressed ethnic groups at a time, or on a more individual scale. Did Miss Daisy Werthan "hate" her driver, Mr. Hoke Colburn? (Did she ever address him as "Mr. Colburn"? Was he ever not her employee? Did he really have the economic option of saying "Thanks, but no thanks, Miss Daisy: I'm done being your driver, but we can be friends if you want." Did (and do) Black and Brown women who are caring for white folks' children really have the option of saying, "You know what? You raise your own brats. I'm going home to take care of my own children, or help my neighbor do the same."

What did Howard K. Stern feel for Anna Nicole Smith? What does Chris Brown feel for Rihanna? Of course as humans, and perhaps as mammals too, we are capable of feeling a great many things, in succession or even simultaneously, which is brings us to the problem of liberal individualism.

The issue at hand, for those of us who are radical activists, is not exactly what individuals feel, at any given moment, for those we oppress. It is what the cumulative impact is of what we do collectively and individually, regardless of what we feel. This is why, for me, I don't particularly give a shit if some husband says he "loves" his wife, sometimes to death. I do care if he kills her. I don't care if some emotionally/psychologically child-like adult only finds comfort by fondling children. What oppressors feel doesn't change what the actions do, to the class of people for sure, and also, often enough, for the individual survivor or victim.

If what we do is harmful and oppressive, destructive and subordinating, toxic and lethal, then those so harmed get to call that "hate", in my view, without being challenged by the oppressors as to "the legitimacy of that truth claim". Sure, some child molesters really do "love" their victims, as do some battering husbands. People are complicated; we feel lots of things that are often in paradoxical conflict with one another. But social reality isn't SO complicated that we can postmodernise our way out of seeing structural, systemic harm for what it is because of what it does, tangibly.

If it is the case that ever since "civilised" humans have been on the Earth, the Earth has been in a slow or rapid state of disease and dying, then we who call ourselves civilised are not "loving" the Earth. We're killing it. There's a difference.

If men, collectively--while some do actually love women-as-humans (at least allegedly)--are also degrading and exploiting women in selfish, narcissistic, and callous ways, that is "hateful" not "loving", if "felt" or understood in terms of the harm done.

If wealthy whites are living well at the expense of poor people of color, if the Global North is grotesquely exploiting the Global South, if the West is colonising the East, that's not love or respect, that's hate and derision.

This is why I consider any white Christian missionary to be doing "the Devil's work". There's nothing even close to "Jesus's love" going down when one is part of a group committing cultural/spiritual genocide--no matter which recorded interpretation or misinterpretation is being referred to about how he loved others. When other white EFL folks (English as a First Language) tell me of their plans to go to places where people of color live who don't speak English, in order to teach them English, I wonder if they are aware they are, among other things, practicing genocide. I'll often raise this as a probability, which is usually met with a "you're over-reacting again*" attitude on the part of the young white person who thinks this'll be a great way to earn money, travel, and do "good". (*Can one actually "over-react" to witnessing genocide? Not this Jew.)

Yes, some of us really do "love trees" (and there are some I have loved, down to touching them gently and saying hello, to counting the rings of the stump after a hurricane force wind blew a 60 year old spruce over, a spruce I had understood as my neighbor. And the way I live, in a suburban environment, is also simultaneously wiping the Earth clear of rain forests, and the plants, nonhuman animals, and human beings who once populated the areas free of the misogeoic, misopedic, misogynistic, anti-gay and lesbian, and anti-Jewish Western cultural imperialism, exploitation, and globalisation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: just a little bit, or just a lot

Happy Birthday to two women who have been working for at least a little bit of respect for womankind for several decades, Aretha Franklin and Gloria Steinem:
[Photo of Aretha Franklin, found here.]

Please scroll down a bit on this related web page for biographical information about her, as well as her discography.

[Above: Aretha Franklin, "Respect"]

Here, [c]ommentator Evelyn C. White describes the life-affirming effect Aretha Franklin's powerful anthem, Respect, had on her and other young black women growing up in the turbulent 1960s. Respect is one of NPR's 100 Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century.

[Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, circa 1970. Photograph by Dan Wynn]

"For the four or five years surrounding the birth of Ms., I was traveling and speaking as a team with a black feminist partner: first Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a child-care pioneer, then lawyer Florynce Kennedy, and finally activist Margaret Sloan. By speaking together at hundreds of public meetings, we hoped to widen a public image of the women's movement created largely by its first homegrown media event, The Feminine Mystique.... Despite the many early reformist virtues of The Feminine Mystique, it had managed to appear at the height of the civil rights movement with almost no reference to black women or other women of color. It was most relevant to the problems of the white well-educated suburban homemakers who were standing by their kitchen sinks justifiably wondering if there weren't 'more to life than this.' As a result, white-middle-class movement had become the catch phrase of journalists describing feminism in the United States..., and divisions among women were still deep."
Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), pp. 5-6

See this autobiographical essay by Gloria Steinem, for more of herstory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celie's Revenge on "Feminist" Men

[The image above, of a radical Muslim feminist woman, was found here.]

(See also, this post: *here*)

What follows is by a non-religious and aetheist radical feminist.

"It's so convenient and the very epitome of privilege to only hear and consider what you want to hear and consider: that which reinforces your privilege. All else is put on mute." -- Celie's Revenge

Here is some of the latest radical feminist writing by Celie's Revenge, which she welcome me to share here. This was originally written in response to a discussion at a social networking site about the issue of whether there is, really, such as thing as a "feminist" man. I fully concur with Celie, that while "in theory" there could be such men, "in reality" we don't exist. And to those who name John Stoltenberg, or even me, as "examples" I'd say we're not examples. And even if we were, "two" does not a phenomenon make. Sorry. When there are several hundred, or thousand, we can all point to and say, "YES, he's been solidly in support of feminism and feminist issues without also being a misogynist jerk, a rapist, a sexual exploiter of young people, among other things that are anti-feminist practices", THEN we might be able to say "Yes, there is such a thing as a Feminist Man". I don't believe in concepts being presented as socially present if I and every radical feminist I know hasn't witnessed the reality, which necessarily means "more than two".

With Friends Like These or The Myth of Feminist Men
by Celie's Revenge, posted to a social networking site on March 22, 2009

The reasons I don't believe men can be feminist:

1) I'm so glad you've had wonderful experiences with dudes who call themselves feminist. I have not. Just the opposite in fact. It’s gotten to the point where if meet a dude who calls himself feminist I run for the hills. If it's has gotten that far--personally or politically, we’re through romantically or even as allies. Seriously. I just don’t trust feminist men. I do love and respect the work of many men who are doing anti-sexism work but I’ve never met them personally; these guys are writers or filmmakers--almost mythic like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny…LOL. They exist to me in a land far, far away….but the actually feminist men I meet and deal with in the non-virtual world have all, without exception, been pricks. Sorry.

2) Feminist men are self-righteous. Look at how your friend reacted? Even a hint a criticism causes them to get defensive and self-righteous and hostile to the point of attacking a woman personally AND asking her to give HIM an apology? LOL. This is a feminist male ally who has TRULY interrogated his male privilege? Not in my book! Notice how your friend called me a bigot because I dare critique his views on BDSM as being sexist? What social or structural power do I as a black woman have over men when I express an opinion or perception about them as sexist? But I’m a bigot? Anyways, it’s always interesting how the oppressor uses the language of the oppressed against them to claim MEN are being victimized by WOMEN when they are “falsely” accused of sexism. As if being "falsely" accused of sexism is ever nearly as bad being the victim of sexism?

3) The feminist men I’ve encountered often times try to co-op feminism. I actually want to do a paper on the co-optation of Black feminist theory by the likes of Michael Eric Dyson and others who call themselves feminist men. They co-opt and DE-FANG feminism. They also try to make feminism into “humanism” by taking the focus off women. Yes, liberal women often do this too but it’s particularly galling when men try to do it!

4) Feminist men try to tell feminist women who the “good” feminists are. And these good feminists are rarely the radical ones, but are the ones that offer a user-friendly, male-rewarding agenda that coddles men and gives them equal standing in a movement women created and work so hard to keep alive.

5) Feminist men can use being feminist to excuse their sexism. Feminist men still don’t know how to listen to women. It’s the feminist men who tell me they love listening to women even as they cut me off, assume to know what I’m saying before I finish, and talk the most in an effort to impress me with the feminism. Feminist men are often just as sexist as non-feminist men but they can use the intellectual pretense of embracing feminism to justify their sexism and misogyny. How many times have I called a feminist dude out on his sexism only to hear him bark back, “Do you know how much work I do on behalf of women?!?” (I've yet to meet a "feminist" man who thanks ME for all the work I'VE done on behalf of women!) Feminist men rarely acknowledge that they still have male privilege whether they want it or not. So by they will be heard above women, will get more visibility and understanding than women among other perks when they call themselves feminist.

Feminist men want to be THANKED or applauded for being feminist as if doing right by women should be rewarded, rather than status quo behavior that is completely unremarkable. Feminist men do not respect women’s anger or women leadership or women’s space anymore than non-feminist men. Feminist men often use calling themselves feminist to get women to let down their guard, trust them, and then we regret it later because we are emotionally, verbally, or even physically assaulted by men we would normally not trust. And one of my favorite feminist male tactics is to get the stamp of approval from one or two very “important” feminists and then use that to silence critiques of their sexism from all other feminists. It’s like feminist men create a resume and get reference from women they only show one side to and then all other women are expected to trust and believe in their good intentions and this makes them immune to any accusation of sexism.

To be fair, yes, I have met men who are doing amazing work on behalf of women and towards ending patriarchy. But are they feminist men? Or are they just decent men? Much less rare than a dude calling himself a feminist is a just, good man doing the right thing by women and working towards the awe inspiring goal which is for men to want for women what they receive by "virtue" of being born male.

So no, I don’t believe men can be feminist. It’s a nice gesture, but as the saying goes: "With friends like these……."

END OF POST. Comments below:
Anonymous said...
I've never met any men that I would call feminist. Men think they are feminists, but this is their own self-evaluation. Jennifer's comment that they seem like the easter bunny or Santa Claus is quite accurate, or indie filmakers on Sundance. It seems that men pretend to be feminists for suspect reasons. And they don't seem to know that if a woman says they are being sexist, that the woman's opinion is actually true. Men can organize on their own to end porn, prostituion and violence against women, and they should be doing this. I'd rather work in all women's groups on projects of collective interest. It is a waste of time to engage men, they need to engage each other and let the real feminists work on women's revolution.

Valerie said...

I think the label is the problem. The dudes I have met who want to tell me about how empowering it would be if I hit them before I let them fuck me tend to identify proudly as feminists every ten seconds, but random decent guys who haven't bothered to think up swanky a label for themselves don't. I have mixed feelings about saying this on your blog, as you seem pretty solid.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whose Voices Get Spoken Here? A Radical Profeminist Stance

[I found the above image here.]

Do to some extremely helpful feedback from several radical feminists on and off-line, I am clarifying and changing some practices and policies here at A.R.P.


2. No known anti-Feminist/anti-Womanist activists and/or bloggers will have an opportunity to speak (have comments posted) here, from now on. No comments that are critical of radical feminists and Womanists will be posted here. If a woman has issue with something a radical feminist or womanist here says, they can take it up with them, elsewhere. Not here.

3. No known Men's Rights Activist's comments will be posted here.

4. No comments by known apologists or activists for the racist sexxxism industry will be posted here. This does not include those who are struggling to survive it or get out of it. In other words, any woman's voice that supports women's freedom from male supremacist sexual exploitation and oppression, is welcome here.

5. No known committers of sex crimes, including makers of pornography--legally or illegally, will be allowed to participate at this blog.

The blog, A Radical Profeminist is intended to be feminist-friendly space, pro-Womanist space, and space that is generally safe and welcoming for women (and men, and trans folks, and those of us who are intersex) to critique patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism, anti-Indigenism, pro-ecocidal policies and practices, Western civilisation, heterosexism, and white and/or male supremacists, including those of us who call ourselves "feminist" and "profeminist" by name but not through practices fully accountable to Womanists and Feminists who support radical social transformation, including the vision of an end to patriarchy and white supremacy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To U.S. Male Soldiers: There's Not a Goddamned Thing that's "Heroic" about Your Rape of Women

[The above image is from here]

I have been aware of this under-reported form of sexual subordination and terrorism of women for some time. As is obviously the case, men in and outside of the U.S.'s "armed forces" rape systematically and do so with the knowledge and complicity of other men. U.S. male soldiers, if overseas, rape as part of a practice of overall aggression and domination of various places around the world, almost always "of color". That the U.S. is a virulently racist-misogynist State I think need not even be seriously debated.

What has been turning up in the news, from time to time are incidents and accounts of U.S. male soldiers rapes of U.S. female soldiers. Given the more highly ranked rapists' support of and participation in this atrocity, I conclude that such rape is both normal and culturally condoned in all branches of the U.S. military.

If only media could connect a few dots: militarism, misogyny, racism, capitalism, and colonialism are all parts of a whole, and that whole is Western white male supremacist society's assault against the rest of the world, particularly and in especially horrendous forms, against women for being female.

Here's an article on this subject.

Below is the text:

Op-Ed Columnist
The Great Shame

Published: March 20, 2009

I had a conversation several weeks ago with a former Army officer, a woman, who had been attacked in her bed a few years ago by a superior officer, a man, who was intent on raping her.

The woman fought the man off with a fury. When she tried to press charges against him, she was told that she should let the matter drop because she hadn’t been hurt. When she persisted, battalion officials threatened to bring charges against her.

“They were talking about charging me with assault,” she said, her voice still tinged with anger and a sense of disbelief. “I’m no longer in the Army,” she added dryly.

Tia Christopher, a 27-year-old woman who lives in California and works with victims of sexual assault in the military, told me about the time that she was raped when she was in the Navy. She was attacked by another sailor who had come into her room in the barracks.

“He was very rough,” she said. “The girls next door heard my head hitting the wall, and he made quite a mess. When he left, he told me that he’d pray for me and that he still thought I was pretty.”

Ms. Christopher left the Navy. As she put it: “My military career ended. My assailant’s didn’t.”

Rape and other forms of sexual assault against women is the great shame of the U.S. armed forces, and there is no evidence that this ghastly problem, kept out of sight as much as possible, is diminishing.

New data released by the Pentagon showed an almost 9 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults reported in the last fiscal year — 2,923 — and a 25 percent increase in such assaults reported by women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Try to imagine how bizarre it is that women in American uniforms who are enduring all the stresses related to serving in a combat zone have to also worry about defending themselves against rapists wearing the same uniform and lining up in formation right beside them.

The truly chilling fact is that, as the Pentagon readily admits, the overwhelming majority of rapes that occur in the military go unreported, perhaps as many as 80 percent. And most of the men accused of attacking women receive little or no punishment. The military’s record of prosecuting rapists is not just lousy, it’s atrocious.

Louise Slaughter, a Democratic congresswoman from upstate New York, said: “I know of women victims, women in the military, who said to me that the first response they would get if they tried to report a rape was, ‘Oh, you don’t want to ruin that young man’s career, do you?’ ”

Ms. Slaughter has been trying for many years to get the military to really crack down on these crimes. “Very, very few cases result in court-martials,” she said, “and there are not that many that are even adjudicated.”

The Department of Defense has taken a peculiarly optimistic view of the increase in the number of reported sexual attacks. The most recent data is contained in the annual report that the department is required to submit to Congress. The report says that “the overall increase in reports of sexual assault in the military is encouraging,” and goes on to explain:

“It should be noted that increased reports of sexual assault do not reflect a rise in annual incidents of sexual assault. Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States. Estimates suggest that only a small percentage of sexual assaults are ever reported to the police. The department suspects that the same is true for military society as well. An increase in the number of reported cases means that the department is capturing a greater proportion of the cases occurring each year.”

How’s that for viewing hideous statistics through rose-colored glasses? If the number of reported cases of rape goes sky-high over the next fiscal year, that will mean that the military is doing an even better job!

The military is one of the most highly controlled environments imaginable. When there are rules that the Pentagon absolutely wants followed, they are rigidly enforced by the chain of command. Violations are not tolerated. The military could bring about a radical reduction in the number of rapes and other forms of sexual assault if it wanted to, and it could radically improve the overall treatment of women in the armed forces.

There is no real desire in the military to modify this aspect of its culture. It is an ultra-macho environment in which the overwhelming tendency has been to see all women — civilian and military, young and old, American and foreign — solely as sexual objects.

Real change, drastic change, will have to be imposed from outside the military. It will not come from within.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Response from Kyle D. Payne: On Perpetration, Accountability, and Profeminism

Yesterday afternoon I received this reply from Kyle which is his response to my posted questions here. Kyle references some of the commentary/discussion that follows that blogpost. I've just checked Kyle's own blog and found he posted it there as well.

Central to this whole discussion is a woman, unnamed here and also hopefully in the press, who Kyle sexually violated while she was unconscious while he was working as a Resident Assistant at the college that was her academic safe home, until his violation of her occurred. Campus sexual assault often and usually falls under the umbrella of sex crimes that happen in the home against women who know their perpetrators. When students are in school, it is often their home away from their home of origin.

Below is his reply, unedited. Interspersed with his reply, inside brackets and in bold, are my responses. I considered just putting up his statement uninterrupted, but I realised it was politically problematic and irresponsible to do so. Giving perpetrators airtime that is uninterrupted with feminist concerns is not something I have any desire to promote.

Hi Julian,

Thank you for sharing your questions about my return to blogging and especially for asking about how I intend to hold myself accountable and live up to my own professed values. I appreciate you “calling me out” in general - I think it’s appropriate (and you’ve done a nice job of clarifying why in your comment to Valerie). But also, it is helpful for me to know what questions people have, particularly feminist or pro-feminist bloggers who have commented on my harmful (and hypocritical) actions.

One of the problems - and for the sake of your questions, let’s leave it at one for the moment - with my “Because you deserve to know” post from August 2008 is that I took what should have merely been an apology and a brief explanation of what I’m doing to make amends and turned it into a personal narrative. In other words, I wrote on my terms, rather than directly in response to the concerns of a community of feminists (or, for that matter, a loose network of feminists of all stripes whose only common bond is a reliable internet connection and a considerable amount of spare time). That was wrong.

Now, even as I am very critical of that piece of writing, I do believe that it was heartfelt, honest, and relevant to my personal transformation. But is it something that needed to be shared in that context? Absolutely not. It was offensive. And even if my struggles as a survivor of sexual abuse (and connections with anti-rape/anti-porn activism, research, and advocacy), my confusion about violating a woman, and the identity crisis that followed was of any significance to readers, it was the wrong time, given the post’s close proximity to my sentencing. Not to mention the fact that I was only beginning to understand the personal issues involved.

As I approach this piece of writing, then, I am pleased to have a structure with specific questions - it makes it less likely (though, let’s be honest, not impossible - just look at this intro!) that I will rush off all willy-nilly with little regard for what people actually want to know, and ultimately, offend readers. So, a quick note, and then I’ll get crackin’ on your questions.

[I am always concerned about someone's humanity, and their political perspective, when they offer up the problem as being offensive--someone does something misogynistic or racist and registers it as wrong because it was 'offensive'. That's not my understanding of what is wrong. I believe it's the harm of an act, the actual, lived damage (or damage which kills) to an individual human being and to the class of human beings being simultaneously terrorised and subordinated that is the issue. Whether or not something is offensive is usually entirely beside the point for me as a profeminist activist. "Offense" relegates political harm to an abrasion of someone's sensibilities.]

I will attempt to provide thorough answers to your questions (and those of anyone else who would like to participate in this discussion), and I am willing to answer any follow-up questions. Obviously there may be questions I would prefer to discuss privately, and there are others I can’t or simply won’t answer. But in the interest of maintaining an open and honest dialogue, I will, at the very least, explain why I am not answering a particular question. As much as possible, I may simply ask that a question be rephrased. As always, I welcome your feedback and criticism.

[In my experience, one thing perpetrators do is to try and maintain control of situations and interpretations which ought not be in their control. What's written above falls under that category.]

[Julian wrote:] [M]y surprise stems in part from there being no public statement on your blog about your release from jail and what has happened to you in the last several months, taking us through your decision to blog again. Can you understand why that might concern some of those you have been linked to in the blogosphere?

In my public statement last August, I committed to a hiatus from blogging until I have been “welcomed back into a community of feminists,” which was an inarticulate, potentially misleading, and passive way of saying that I wanted to re-establish a relationship of trust and mutual support with feminists (which, along with re-building other relationships, I have begun to do) before continuing to have a “public voice” on any range of subjects.Without this foundation, I worried that the attention and emotional energy I invested in blogging might divert from holding myself accountable to feminists (and women generally), as it did in the months between the time of my arrest (February 2008) and sentencing (August 2008). In fact, as I was mum on the issue at the time I started my blog in November 2007, you could say that blogging was always, to some degree, an “escape” from holding myself accountable. However, it developed into, as I later realized, a vehicle through which I could better get to know, think critically about, and fess up to my actions in the long run, while also figuring out how those actions fit into my life and what that means for me in the present moment.

[There is no evidence of anything other than escaping responsibility on Kyle's blog, prior to this latest post. He may well have been figuring things out offline but why did none of that appear online in 2008?

(Not pressing issues for the feminist, or perhaps any other, blogosphere, I understand, but then I again, I don’t claim to have anything particularly important to say, or demand/ask that anyone read my blog.)

[I think that statement is disingenuous which is to say dishonest. Why? Because Kyle references his relationship to feminist campaigns and strategies for fighting patriarchal atrocities, particularly those that involve what too many men experience as "sexual". Concurrently with blogging in the first half of last year, Kyle also recorded and made public a series of video posts on YouTube, which he has since taken down. He was strongly encouraged to do this; he didn't do it because he figured out on his own that he should. In those posts it was clear he was speaking with authority on feminist matters. This necessarily takes attention from feminists and other profeminists, to monitor what is being said "in the name of feminism". This blog and anything I do or write, is and ought always been understood to be impacting women--Womanists and Feminists in particular.]

In short, I don’t buy the argument raised by Hugo, despite his apparent intimate knowledge of my experiences and personal transformation (or lack thereof) during the last several months, that because blogging once enabled me to evade accountability, it can never serve any other purpose. But maybe he’s right. Maybe all of this really is for show because I’m so desperate to gain favor with feminist communities. “That horse done left the barn?” Whatever shall I do?! Or maybe one would do well to save the impassioned, arrogant lecture for another day, perhaps after getting to know or even meeting one’s subject.

[This sort of defensiveness is typical of someone who "doesn't get it"; I believe far too much of his behavior has been self-serving and self-absorbed. Evidence above. What I believe Kyle doesn't get was made very clear to me by watching a feminist woman speak a battering boyfriend of a woman. Her message to him, which I found stunningly to the point was this: "If you really care about her, and you acknowledge that your behavior has injured her, the only loving option for you is to remove yourself from her life. And for you to stay out of her life until such time that experts on battery and abusive relationships have determined it is safe for you to re-engage with her, if ever." Kyle is taking responsibility for removing himself from the population he greatly and negatively impacted, the Womanist/Feminist blogosphere, among other populations, such as that at the college he attended.]

If blogging is preventing me, at this point in time, from being held accountable as a man who wants to live a pro-feminist lifestyle, or if it is in some way harming other people, then I welcome that feedback (gross generalizations aside). I believe, just as it allowed me to speak publicly about my crime and the circumstances surrounding it, that blogging will allow me to be engaged in dialogue with others, while also practicing critical self-reflection. I also believe it will help me, and perhaps others, understand my experiences in a way that transcends the dualistic tendencies evident in the vast majority of commentary on my case - tendencies I have certainly been guilty of applying in the past, as I will explain. Continuing as a blogger (assuming I do), while taking care of my personal responsibilities, depends largely on establishing and maintaining strong relationships with friends, family members, colleagues, critics, and helping professionals who can, among other things, call me out when I’m not learning from my mistakes.

[I see more defensiveness coupled with a common tactic: critique the critics for being, in whatever way, "gross generalizations". This is not to say that gross generalisations "happen" when someone does something atrocious, it is rather to say that when the public does this, it is to be expected, is not unwarranted, and should not become a target of disappointment, publicly, by the perpetrator. This is a form of turning the tables, which, in my experience, male supremacist abusers are quite effective at doing. This falls under the "if only you could explain this to me in a way that would be helpful to me" umbrella. The point of focus, once again, is the perpetrator and how he's treated, rather than the victim and the extent to which the perpetrator owns what he did, responsibly. What should be happening in abundance here is self-cricitism, not criticism of the critics. His behavior has alarmed people for good reasons: because it was grossly violative. The wish for men who commit acts like this to be seen once again as fully human, as a person who committed a grievous act, but who is capable of being rehabilitated. So far, we have no information that rehabilitation is possible or likely. And that level of defensiveness, this far down the alleged road to what some folks often call "recovery" is a sign of lack of self-awareness of what the problem is. I understand male supremacist perpetrators to be dangerous to the extent that they remain defensive and incapable of holding their critics in as much of a compassionate place as they wish their critics held them. As a profeminist once said--I'm paraphrasing--"If you've not been shot dead by someone who knows what you did, consider that a rather generous expression of collective compassion on the part of the feminist community."]

And just so we’re on the same page, Julian, I include you (and other bloggers who are willing to engage me, at least in part, as something more than a stereotype) in this list. I do, however, respect and appreciate that your interest, as I understand it, is simply women’s safety and well-being. While you may accomplish it inadvertently, you are not pursuing this dialogue to help me per se, and that’s fine with me.

[I do not have an investment in the betterment of a perpetrator's humanity, exactly. If that happens to occur in such a way that results in women being safer, including during the process of 'getting better', great. But the core concern, for any profeminist, in my view, ought to be "is the victim safer" and "are women less oppressed"? In my experience, the arrogance of male supremacist perpetrators to be upset with people who stereotype them as "just, only, and always a perpetrator" is deep and often unshakable, and is often a form of political self-absorption, if not also sociopathy.]

A quick note on recent posts. Recent additions to my blog include new posts on civil disobedience, school shootings, “McJournalism,” ROTC discrimination, as well as several (5) articles from my college years (which I believe are all clearly identified as such). [I cannot find Kyle's name with some of those posts; maybe I'm not looking in the right places. And his "about this blog" info still doesn't tell us who he is or where he lives.] I understand that a few of these old articles (3) - those dealing with various forms of feminist or feminist-inspired justice work - struck up some conflict, implying that I was “back at it,” speaking on behalf of feminism/feminists (and in doing so, supposedly pretending that I’ve never acted in anti-feminist ways). [No. This inaccurately frames the issue, dramatically. Kyle was, by any measure known to feminist communities I've been part of, to not simply "re-emerge" without immediately identifying where he was, what he now understood, and how women are safer than they were due to whatever has happened to him in the meantime. At least that. It would also be responsible to re-emerge to say "It is no longer appropriate for me to have this forum. Showing up as if nothing happened in the interim period is, for me, bizarre behavior, deeply out of touch with anything resembling responsible profeminist behavior.] The “speaking on behalf of” business is misleading to begin with - I’m not certain I have ever claimed to speak for feminism or feminists, emphasized my perspective as a man over women’s voices, etc. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I did not add this material to boast feminist credentials - after all, what would that accomplish, given the fact that these supposed credentials are clearly dated prior to my crime in January ‘07? Instead, I wanted to add some complexity to a story that has been twisted, often deliberately, to make for a simple, easy-to-digest spectacle. Also, with regard to the timing, the old articles just recently became available to me.

[That doesn't address this core issue; why would Kyle come back to his blog and not immediately deal with the most glaring issue at hand: his violation of another human being, and the consequences he's had to face thus far, which in my view are far too pro-perpetrator, and far too invisibilising of the victim's humanity. Even to this point, Kyle has not made reference to what he actually did to her, nor did he fully name his actions on his blog prior to him being in jail.]

I have no intention of blogging about feminism in the future, unless invited to do so by feminists… and even then, I don’t think it’s that great of an idea.

[If Kyle is to blog at all, why isn't he blogging about his crime as understood and named by feminists, not the court system?]

(Note to bloggers: the “invitation” bit is to define parameters, not because I think I deserve such an invitation, not because I have some special insight into women’s concerns, not because I am counting down the days to some magical reunion, etc. So let’s hold off on the, “Can you believe what Kyle said?!” routine. Please and thank you.)

[Huh? What the fuck is that? Self-righteously trying to control how others respond to him? If I'm reading that right, and I may not be, Kyle appears indignant at people being frightened, triggered, upset, betrayed, horrified, cynical, and furious by Kyle's horrendous behavior? This is even more astounding self-absorption.]

With regard to linking, I have added links recently to various websites and blogs of interest to me, and ideally, to my readers. I have also complied with requests from a few of these bloggers to remove links to their sites. I did not mean to imply any type of relationship or association with other bloggers by linking to their work - I am not, for instance, convinced that Cara at The Curvature and I are best buddies, or that we ought to be, or that she “endorses” my work. But that’s not the point. They perceived some level of association and were uncomfortable with it, so they asked that I remove links, which I did. And in at least one case, it was a repeat request - I did not keep a record of removal requests from last year and which links I removed, so I made the mistake of re-adding at least one link recently.

[Kyle linking to other political people and groups means is a relevant issue, and remains one of particular concern to me, given that I am one of the blogs he links to. I have been challenged here to ask Kyle to remove my link on his blog. I have very mixed feelings about doing that, and haven't ask Kyle to do that as yet. My chief concern is that if he only links to blogs or political groups that mention nothing about what he's done, he can appear to new arrivals as not-a-perpetrator. I believe every woman, certainly, should know what Kyle did, and where Kyle is living currently. By going to his blog, they should know this. It is not apparent what he did, nor that he served time in jail for doing something much more minor: invading a room and possibly stealing something from it.]

In general, I can’t help but feel that the territory disputes over whether or not a person is allowed to blog, what subjects a blogger is allowed to discuss, as well as which sites a blogger is allowed to link, are unnecessary and a huge drain on resources. With all due respect to “policing” a movement, I guess I tend to fall back on the assumption that, in moments of contention, we disagree and critique, or we simply direct our finite energies in other directions, effectively ignoring the blogger in question and his or her writings.

And this is very likely, at least partially, male privilege talking. But it’s on my mind.

[The only policing that ought to be happening is tracking Kyle's movement and behavior around women. What he writes about above I perceive as a diversionary tactic. Not relevant. And, yes, profoundly male supremacist in its assumptions, which still place him and his freedoms and entitlements at the center of his ethical universe. More relevant is this: why did Kyle not face more consequences for the crim he committed? Why does he assume he is free to blog, to speak out, to live a life of someone as if that someone hadn't damaged another human being in seriously sexually violative and cowardly ways? I consider those who sexually assault people whose capacity to fight back with aggressive force, such as the very inebriated, the drugged, some of the physically disabled, some elderly people, and some children, to be among the most despicable and cowardly of sexual violence perpetrators.]

I cannot imagine we will ever all agree on precisely the rights and responsibilities of bloggers, or human beings in general. So the above proposal is inevitably a compromise. But such is the nature of human existence (i.e. we make compromises or, well, we fight bitterly and die) - I can’t imagine this is a news flash for anyone reading this post. I respect, for instance, Ren’s right to “dog” me on a weekly basis for allegedly returning to my uber-manipulative ways, if that’s how she likes to spend her free time. In turn, I will probably ignore her on a weekly basis. It’s a compromise.

[More self-absorption. More meandering off-topic. More focus on criticising those who have every right and reason to critique Kyle. That some are 'using' his case to blast feminist activism against pornography is grotesque to me; it is also to be expected. It so greatly shifts the focus away from the crimes men do, as men, and onto others who are attempting, in a variety of ways, to challenge the rights and entitlements men have to do these things. That those who are politically against anti-pornography feminists use profeminist men's abuses of others is a social reality. It is but one reason why I think profeminist men have a different standard of self-responsibility, and must live fully accountable to feminists in such a way that such a crime as the one Kyle committed is not possible. This means, for example, that as he approached the victim's dorm room, he instead took out his phone and called 9-1-1 stating "I'm about to commit a sex crime." He is structurally entitled not to do that. Doing that would be "responsible" in the profeminist sense.]

I have seen many concerns expressed about my unwanted “return to the feminist blogosphere,” or my “return to blogging as a feminist voice,” which I believe gives me too much credit. For one, I don’t believe free speech is up for negotiation here. I am well aware that I have lost all credibility as a pro-feminist man - that’s no secret. So I fully expect that many feminists and pro-feminist men reading my new posts (again, none of these directly pertain to feminism) may dismiss my ideas outright. And that’s perfectly fine. Dismiss it, find something better to read. But I struggle with the notion that feminists and pro-feminist bloggers feel the need to banish me, or anyone, from the “feminist blogosphere.” Again, it seems like a waste of precious resources (e.g. time and energy). And also, the whole concept of banishment here seems to suggest that I just walked right in of my own volition - since my release last month, when did I knock on the door, and who let me in?

[This whole section of his reply, manifesting in especially thick form in the paragraph above, continues to demonstrate the boldness and arrogance of those who act from male privileges and those who do not wish to be honest with themselves or others. This is all diversionary and rife with male entitlements. His continuing effort to make something very specific into something more general, is one of many male supremacist tactics for evading truth-telling and accountability. And the only reason being honest matters, is because it is what allows others to determine their level of safety around someone else who is, to some, a known perpetrator of a sex crime.]

I don’t quite comprehend what banishment entails in this context, and I presume others are experiencing the same confusion since banishment from a particular ’sphere is so often conflated with banishment from the internet… and again, really? That’s the answer - banishing people from the internet? If it is so apparent that I truly am a monster, a narcissist, a perpetual (*insert simplistic label*), incapable of learning, growing, and engaging in any sort of redeeming personal transformation - I’ve seen this explicitly stated in countless places, but if you’re interested in the most indulgent if blissfully ignorant recent psychoanalysis, please see Hugo’s open letter - then one could well assume that I pose no threat to the feminist blogosphere, or anyone else. I am, it would seem, nothing more than a punch line, a spectacle.

[This is not about Kyle, but he only sees it as being about him. In my view, this level self-centeredness on his part makes him dangerous to others.]

Also, I’m not so sure merely self-publishing on a blog, particularly with nothing so much as an attempt at speaking for or about feminism since my release, constitutes an intrusion into the feminist blogosphere. When did I try to sign up as a member of said blogosphere? When did I force anyone, or even ask anyone, to read my writings? And since August of last year, when I openly admitted to my crime, when have I made any attempt whatsoever to hide my wrongdoings and mislead anyone? When did I supposedly pretend that I never did anything wrong? When did I ask anyone to forgive me or forget the harm I’ve caused? When did I ask for, or imply that I am entitled to, your trust, acceptance, respect, and support? Again, I believe I’ve been given a little too much (or too little) credit.

[First, Kyle has never fully or adequately named his crime. On his blog, he has called it things that keep in a thick fog around the specific details of what he did. Kyle did much of the above by continuing his blog while removing his name, image, location, and by not informing his readers of what has happened in the last six months of his life, and why.]

I do appreciate the need for me to be held accountable, which is why I have not disregarded the recent round of criticism, or this line of questioning c/o Julian. What I would suggest, however, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, is that we continue with a few basic assumptions in mind. [This is pure male supremacist arrogance and entitlement.] First, I will most likely live on this Earth for a fairly long period of time, and in the process, continue breathing, having thoughts, and interacting with other human beings in a variety of ways. [This is due in large measure to the compassion of those you have upset, and to the fact that you never insisted that your attorney change the charges you faced to more accurately reflect what you did.] I can sympathize with the torches and pitchforks, death threats, and all the rest, but let’s at least consider the possibility that I am not going to simply disappear, and in doing so, reinforce the perception that we as a society are clueless as to how to engage people who have made mistakes in the past (and who go on living, attempting to learn from those mistakes, and dare I say it, actually learn… it happens).

[Committing an act of sexual assault is not a mistake. It is rarely a crime. It is rarely perceived to be a human rights violation. It is commonly misunderstood as unstoppable, natural, and unpredictable by the perpetrator.It is an act of violence, of inhumane behavior, of gross political and psychological--if not also physical--harm, usually misogynistic and male supremacist in content and effect. There's no mistake here. A mistake was not committed over one year ago. To frame such an act up as "a mistake" shows a serious lack of comprehension of what Kyle did and how he holds what he did, to disturbingly rationalise it into something else.]

(Again, please consider interrogating the assumption that personal transformation can only occur when one disappears entirely from public view, being neatly reduced into the “offender” category, leaving the “non-offenders” in peace to make sense of things without the unpleasantness of cognitive dissonance. I am happy to leave feminist bloggers alone, and I believe I have as of late. But I will not go into hiding because my presence in any sort of public way causes you to have to think and occasionally challenge your assumptions.)

[In my opinion, this is pure male supremacist horseshit. Kyle has had a variety of opportunities to be accountable and completely honest about what he did, and he has repeatedly chosen not to be, including in this correspondence.]

Secondly, the simple fact that I share my perspective with others does not mean that I am, or that I think I am, an expert or authority, or that my voice is more important than anyone else’s, or that I embody a particular political identity (e.g. feminist). I am a work in progress (and one with pretty significant progress left to go), and it is through my experiences over the last year or so, including my experiences in the almighty and heavily guarded blogosphere, that I have become much more in tune with this fundamental truth. This whole dilemma over me identifying with feminist politics, while having a decidedly anti-feminist act (even if an isolated one) in my past, is obviously difficult to accept. But it does not automatically mean I am posing, lying, manipulating, “trolling,” or some other convenient explanation when I publish something on my blog.

[This is more of the same of what I've named earlier that is seriously problematic, outrageously self-serving, and astoundingly self-centered.]

Are these acceptable assumptions with which to establish a common ground?

[There never was a common ground. In matters of sexual politics, "common ground" is a liberal illusion.]

I do, as always, encourage criticism on the views I share on my blog. And of course, since my ethic on blogging is clearly no Ultimate Truth, I welcome others’ feedback on my decision to return to blogging. Emphasis, if possible, on what actual harm I am causing, in concrete terms. Note to Hugo and countless other pop psychologists - please stick to what and whom you know. While I appreciate that people may feel that the timing is wrong, I suspect that the timing will always be wrong for someone. So it would help me a lot to understand specific, relatively unpacked concerns regarding my return to blogging, what I blog about, etc.

[Again, my concern is that Kyle has made his appearance, location, name, and history--named fully and accurately, from a feminist standpoint--go away. And, to me, this means women are more, not less, in danger. Men's dishonesty, and evasive tactics in conversation, are one of many key interpersonal components in how men's unjust power over women is kept strong.]

And if I have somehow managed to pull a fast one on the world by openly confessing to my crime (in a very public manner) [in a self-servingly dishonest and incomplete manner] last year and discussing it openly in this context, I welcome your suggestions as to how I might ensure that visitors to my blog are well aware of my wrongdoings while not judging me [no, just seeing you in the context of what you did] based purely on that miniscule snapshot of my life. [Calling the gross sexual assault of a human being an act that can then be put into memory as "a miniscule shapshot of my life" is about as out-of-touch with reality as it gets. In what sense is such a crime miniscule? And to whom?]

[I believe Kyle ought to be questioning many of the assumptions he is walking around with, about his freedoms, entitlements, political position, and willingness to name reality in a way that doesn't make him the victim, and his critics the perpetrators.]

[Julian wrote:] What can you tell those of us you have known online, even if only as a fellow profeminist blogger, about how and to what extent you believe yourself to be of less danger to women than you were about one year ago?

My first reaction to this question, honestly, was to ask, “Is what I think relevant?” I could make all sorts of claims about my character, my values, my feelings, and my political views in the same way that I might have prior to violating a woman in January ‘07. I could even give a play-by-play of my efforts at personal transformation. Would that make me any less dangerous? To some extent, any claim by a man in patriarchy that he does not pose a threat (or a significant threat) to women is suspect. As a result, I’m hesitant to answer at all, and instead I think it would be more appropriate for women to judge based on my actions.

[I agree.]

In order to flesh out some of what I have learned, I will say, for what it’s worth, that I do feel that I am less of a danger to women, in part because I am actually aware of my capacity to harm women, as well as my own inclinations toward male privilege. [Men's male privileges are not inclinations, exactly. They are structural, institutionally supported ways we men are that harm women whether we know it or not. They are concrete; they exist in real space and time, as harmful and oppressive misogynistic and sexist acts, not as possibilities.] I have been very conscious for as long as I can remember of the potential for men to harm women, children, and other men. I have lived and breathed it for a long time - as a survivor, an advocate, a researcher, a pro-feminist ally, and a friend and mentor to abusive men and boys. But for reasons that seem fairly clear, given my psychological response to this exposure (which I don’t feel comfortable exposing to public scrutiny at this time), I was never able to face up to the fact that I’m just as capable of that sort of violence, domination, and hatred as those men who have haunted my nightmares, as well as those of people close to me.

[Your history of being abused as a child is not appropriate to raise again here, which I believe you have already done once before in this correspondence. The issue is male privilege and entitlement, and dishonest, which all men participate in to varying degrees, regardless of whether or not, or to what degrees, we have been harmed in our pasts. To do so is to put into practice a tactic we men use well to our advantage, at women's expense.]

I was ignorant, convinced that I would never feel any desire that superseded another person’s (whether a partner or a stranger), that I was somehow immune to this type of desire, a cultural norm for men in patriarchy. Obviously I’m not, and I certainly wasn’t then. But I am able to recognize that fact now and, with some help, deal with the responsibilities of being a “recovering sexist,” as Pearl Cleage put it.

[To name oneself as "a recovering sexist" is not sufficient evidence of such recovery.]

[Julian asked:] What do you think would be appropriate, in terms of accountability to Womanist and Feminist bloggers, for you to do to attempt to rebuild trust, to demonstrate that sufficient systems of accountability are in place now that weren’t in 2007 and 2008?

As you might very well imagine, my initial response to this question was much the same as the last. But I realize that it is important to make clear what I think is appropriate before comparing notes on the subject. Along the same lines as my previous answer, I feel that I need to demonstrate that I can live according to my professed values. And while I do not mean in any way to diminish the significance of the harm I have caused, I believe, and the people who know me well and have watched me grow up are in agreement, that my crime in January ‘07 was an isolated incident. [But demonstrating alarming self-unawareness of your own self-centeredness and arrogance, and presumptions of entitlements demonstrated in this piece of writing is not an isolated incident. And much of what shows up here is the issue, if the issue is "Do you get how male supremacist you can be and still are?"] It was not indicative of a wolf in sheep’s clothing who posed as an ally to prey upon vulnerable women - and it’s a long, long way from establishing a pattern of such predatory behavior. That is nothing more than a caricature manufactured by bloggers who, understandably (but regrettably) so, know little to nothing about me or my life.

[We know Kyle by what Kyle shows us, by what he says, by what we learn about what he does off-line that he hasn't addressed online. If a man repeatedly acts in male supremacist ways, showing little to know consciousness of how and to what extent his male entitlements and privileges are enacted, and if, while doing this, a man makes a claim that he is more self-aware, or "recovering", or not a wolf in sheep's clothing, or not a stereotype, in my view an appropriate conclusion to come to is that the man "still doesn't get it".]

That said, it took a year-and-a-half for me to confess to a crime of exploitation against a woman, and that was only under the pressure of criminal prosecution. And during that time, I continued to present myself uncritically. Regardless of the personal circumstances involved, or whatever degree of identity crisis I was facing, my silence was inexcusable.

[Yes. And that great chunks of that silence and completely self-serving behavior continue to this day.]

Ironically, the bulk of suggestions I have received from feminists online asked that I shut up - and to be clear, shutting up was often implied under something to the effect of dying, disappearing, or being dismembered (and again, while interesting, I’m skeptical about how this sort of approach would actually solve anything, save for killing off all men, and later, any dominant group in society). [Kyle the persecuted victim is back. There is no suggestion that all men ought to be killed, and to the degree that some of us have contemplated such a world, it is utterly impossible to achieve, and so remains a form of rhetoric.] I believe regaining trust is a matter of listening first and, when necessary, speaking up self-critically (for the same reason that a student does not merely read a textbook or listen to a lecture, but becomes engaged through writing, discussion, and other vehicles for critical thinking/reflection). [As I see it, Kyle has not exhibited much behavior that demonstrates he is listening to what feminists are saying; instead, he apparently feels victimized by these suggestions and comments.] And as I implied before, the outcome (trust, respect, support, etc.) is not the point - it’s a moral obligation. I believe I ought to be open, honest, and critical with others about my own participation in sexism and other forms of oppression - I’m young, White, middle-class, male, heterosexual, and American, so I don’t anticipate running out of experience to draw upon in this regard - and to invite feedback and criticism from the friends, family members, critics, and others I mentioned above.

[I recommend Kyle start with what you did to that woman in a way that doesn't invisibilise her humanity as just as important as your own, and in a way that doesn't turn her into pornography, again.]

While drawing upon such criticism is valuable to me, I want to avoid relying on women to “fix me.” It would be rather ironic, attempting to take the burden of sexism off women’s shoulders by adding the burden of humanizing men. [Men are partly humanised by being humane and not sexist to women.] So, I believe I ought to listen and listen closely to feminists, being careful not to abuse their time and attention, and of course, being familiar with feminist theory and what women have been saying about sexism for a long time. I believe I ought to accept the personal responsibility of doing whatever I need to do as a man - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - to not harm women, and with any luck, help advance women’s standing in the world.

[But when Kyle is told, by feminists, to be silent on his blog, he dismisses this recommendation as utterly ludicrous. So much for the learning by listening.]

And as I previously stated with regard to blogging, I plan to steer clear of direct involvement in feminist and pro-feminist organizations and discussions, at least for a long period of time.

[And Kyle, by his own statements, intends to ignore what feminists have recommended he do.]

I am open to feedback here. I am not straying from others’ viewpoints to be difficult or “win” an argument. [But Kyle has been tremendously male supremacist in this writing.] I’m trying to get my ideas out in the open to allow others to dissect and interrogate them. So, have at it, if you’re willing. And I want to be quite clear about this will I’m talking about, given the responses I’ve seen from bloggers in the past. I am not, nor am I capable of, forcing anyone to read, interrogate, and respond to my thoughts. If you don’t care, think it’s a waste of time, or simply would prefer not to be troubled by what I have to say, ignore me. Direct your attention elsewhere.

[That is a given. Most people I know are doing exactly that.]

[Julian asked:] What have you learned about yourself and how it is that you violated that young woman who you had a position of authority over, not just as a man, but also as her Resident Assistant?

While my previous comments about being ignorant and in denial about my own capacity to harm women were brief, and potentially vague, [No. They were very vague.] they represent the best concise summary of my understanding of what happened and why. While I might have been highly advanced intellectually and politically, I was immature. My sexuality was very repressed, which again, has a lot to do with my experiences of, and responses to, childhood sexual abuse, [and this would be the third time this irrelevant information appears here] as well as later involvements with anti-rape/anti-porn activism, research, and advocacy. In a position of authority over a woman who was incapacitated, well aware that it was highly unlikely anyone would find out, I acted on impulse and exposed her breast, and then I photographed her without her consent.

[I remain unclear about what happened next. What did Kyle do, and from what value system, when uploading the images into his computer. That seems more calculated than impulsive. It takes time to do. One has to know what one has done, and decide to hold onto it, rather than report it. How is it that the police got involved? Did Kyle report himself?]

Also, this is pretty much just splitting hairs, but I should clarify, I was not the resident advisor for the victim. I was the head resident advisor for a complex with two residences halls of about 200-250 students each - Pierce Hall, which is all-male, and White Hall, which is coed. My “house” was the basement floor of Pierce with about 45 male students. I was, however, on duty for the entire complex and assisted two other staff members who were helping the female student - they called me to assist and left shortly after I arrived at the scene. If anything, my position as a leader on staff makes what I did much worse, so I’m not defending myself here. Just wanted to clarify.

[That doesn't matter. Although one issue is: how many times did Kyle encounter the victim prior to him violating her? Did she know him by name? Did she know that he was an R.A.? Did she know he could have such access to her? Did she know there might be a circumstance in which he would be left alone with her? Was he ever attracted to her in an objectifying way prior to the incident? If so, why did he agree to be left alone to watch over her?]

[Julian asked:] Why are your name and photograph not visible on your blog as they were before your time in jail?

My name is printed on my blog multiple times within the contents of individual blog posts. However, as of right this moment, it is not printed on an “About the Blogger” page like in the past, nor is my photo available on the site. In the interest of presenting a clearer impression of what my blog is about, as well as my purpose for managing it, I set up pages with a description of the blog (with an emphasis on the meaning behind the “Road Less Traveled” title), a disclaimer (clarifying my social location and the privileges/limitations associated with it), and a comment policy. I will soon add a bio page with my name and photo. For me, who I am as a writer is shaped significantly by what I write (taking into account, of course, personal factors such as race, class, and gender), which is why I have briefly put off developing a new “About the Blogger” page as I add new material. And as you might expect, I’m trying to explore new areas of activism and service supporting peace, justice, and sustainability (outside of feminism), so for that reason, the bio is a bit of a work in progress.

[It comes across to me as an attempt to hide aspects of Kyle's identity. Why isn't his name on the cover page? There are ways to make one's name and location very visible. He has not made that a priority, while he has prioritised other structural changes to your blog. That is politically problematic, and, in my view, irresponsible.]

[Julian wrote: Do you think it would be appropriate and responsible to post current photographs of yourself on your blog? If so, would you please post a current, well-lit photograph of yourself here and on your own blog that shows visitors what you look like currently, in 2009. If not, please explain why.

I have no problem posting a photo of myself on my personal blog. I feel that it could help readers connect with me by seeing the person whose words they’re reading - or, as the case may be, marveling at how I manage to not look bloated, being full of shit and all. With respect to your blog, Julian, I would expect that you could retrieve my photo from my blog, if you felt so inclined.

[I did that--but the image was not found on his blog--I didn't find any picture of him there. I found it elsewhere online. But the matter of what I post about Kyle isn't exactly the issue. The issue is: does Kyle do things which have the effect of making himself less, not more, visible and responsible to those who have a right to know everything about what he did to another human being? What is the political function, that is, the effect, of him being hazy on details about his crime?]

[Julian wrote:] How might anyone not closely in your life know if and when you change your hairstyle, hair color, amount of facial hair change, clothing style, or weight to a significant degree, and in what town or city you live and study? If your appearance changes, who should be made aware of that, in your view?

My appearance, as well as where I live, work, and study, is not the business of anyone but those close to me. [I strongly disagree.] While I respect that exposing men who have commited abuse (which I support) - and then going the extra step of aggressively monitoring them (which I do not support) - may help people, survivors in particular, feel that justice has been done, I don’t believe that the actual benefit, in terms of preventing further violence, is worth the invasion of privacy. [That is a very self-serving conclusion to come to, given what else Kyle says before that in this paragraph.] In other words, I believe the latter (privacy invasion) may undermine the former (violence prevention). I fully expect that you will disagree, so I strongly encourage your feedback. [I very strongly disagree.]

As your question seems to pertain to the registration of “sex offenders,” a legal classification that did not apply to my case, I will share my general viewpoint on registration requirements and their utility, which may help clarify my position on who has a right to know my personal information.

[I would argue it did apply to Kyle's "case" if his case is his life and what he's done during it, to date. That he wasn't charged with a sex crime is, in my opinion, a gross injustice to the woman who Kyle sexually violated, and to all women who have been sexually violated by men who then were not charged and sentenced accordingly.]

(On a related note, I know there are major discrepancies between your account of why I was not required to register and the facts surrounding the case, in addition to major discrepancies between your description of the criminal charges and the facts surrounding the case… to say nothing of your bizarre speculations regarding the racial and sexual politics involved in my prosecution and sentencing - I see where you’re going, but you’ve made claims that you simply cannot even begin to back up, which undermines your position… but that is another discussion for another time.)

[I welcome getting clear about this.]

I believe sex offender registration encourages the general public to believe that the threat of sexual violence (although, to be clear, sexually violent crimes are only one component of “sex offenses” - there are other non-violent examples) is contained. The perception is that the only men (the vast majority of sex offenders are men, so I’ll be specific here) who pose a threat to commit sexual violence are sex offenders, or the perception is is that sex offenders are more likely than other men to commit sexual violence, hence the aggressive monitoring. The first claim is obviously false, and the second is dubious, given what we know about under-reporting and recidivism rates.

As we know, sexual violence is extremely under-reported, a phenomenon that has been studied by several feminist, criminal justice, and human rights organizations, and certainly a disturbing reality to which any advocate for SV/DV survivors can attest. If only a small fraction of cases are reported, then it would seem that we’re singling out a select few who are no more dangerous than the men who committed abuse but simply never got caught. We also know, based on DOJ statistics, that sex offenders are less likely than any other group of criminals to commit a new offense of any type (though, when they do re-offend, they are four-times more likely to have committed a new sex crime than non-sex offenders who re-offend - though I would assume such is the case with other “types” of criminals who repeat the same type of offense). So, in addition to diverting our concern away from men who have committed abuse but never got caught, we point the finger at men whose likelihood of re-offending is considerably low.

[This is not my experience of "sex offenders".]

I can understand and sympathize with folks who want to be able to identify, contain, and ultimately eradicate the threat of sexual violence (I’m on their side), [only to the degree that Kyle's freedoms and entitlements as a white man are not impinged upon] as well as survivors who want to expose their abusers (I’m there, too). It’s not the exposing and naming that I’m concerned about - as I’ve demonstrated in my own experiences of wrongdoing, I think men who have committed abuse ought to be called out and held accountable. But I have serious doubts as to whether the monitoring you are suggesting actually helps more than it harms.

[And I believe Kyle coming to these conclusions is grossly self-serving.]

This is probably no secret, Julian, but your utter disregard for men’s privacy - and yes, even men who have committed abuse - neglects a vital element of their development as human beings. [This boldly assumes men's privacy is inherently more important that girls and women's development free from sexualized harm, and assumes that privacy helps men behave humanely, when, in fact, it is the right of privacy of men that allows most sex crimes to occur, and to never be prosecuted: that is, male sex offenders do not usually, and hardly ever, report themselves to the police, thereby maintaining their privacy. Whose humanity is served by such actions?] And given your politics, I don’t expect you necessarily to sympathize, but forcing men who have committed abuse into a box, [I have no such abilities. I doubt I could effectively force even one man into one box; this rhetorical approach, of taking things and making them into grand absolutes, is a male supremacist strategy for evading responsibility and accountability] permanently labeling and stigmatizing them, and ensuring that they will never be able to move forward from (just to clarify, not “forget” or “disregard” - “move forward from”) the terrible wrongdoings they have committed doesn’t seem like a viable path toward rehabilitation. [And, as noted, rehabilitating men is not my aim. Removing misogynistic sexually dangerous men from society is something I wish would happen, yesterday. Working to end men's violence against women is what I am interested in, and I believe a part of ending it is through not pretending men have any right to privacy not extended to women: such as the right to live privately and not be sexually abused.] So, at best you could say that aggressive monitoring diverts attention (and an insane amount of resources) from more serious threats, and at worst it makes it painfully difficult, if not impossible, for men to make the necessary changes in their lives to truly rehabilitate.

[I think there are far more effective solutions than that.]

I am not without my own personal biases, obviously. The blogger who originally wrote about my arrest did not discover it on her own. A young man, who was a fellow student of mine in college, informed her. That in itself did not bother me - it was a matter of public record, and quite frankly, if I had witnessed such a blatant example of hypocrisy, particularly by a so-called “pro-feminist male,” I would have called him out in precisely the same way. It was when I found out who the young man was, and recalled what I had heard about him from several women who came to me as an advocate during college, that I became concerned. The young man who outed me to the feminist blogosphere was (and perhaps still is) a serial rapist.

[What is his name? Where does he now live? Can you produce a photograph of him?]

So I’m not surprised when I realize that many of the most misogynist men I have ever met, who wouldn’t be caught dead supporting women’s liberation in any way, shape, or form, will gladly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with feminists when it comes to identifying a scapegoat for sexual violence.

[This is an exceptional situation, not a common one. Most men, profeminist or not, actively misogynistic or not, do not stand with women in any meaningfully accountable ways.]

Regardless of what other men have done, I bear responsibility for my actions. And I certainly anticipate that, as a result of those actions, women may feel threatened by me. [May, or ought to?] And in order to approach that conflict responsibility, I will continue to be open and honest with women (and for that matter, men) in my life about my personal history, in addition to avoiding any sort of privileged access to communities of feminists/women. On the other hand, I hope you can understand my skepticism at the suggestion that keeping the world up-to-speed on my appearance and whereabouts is actually making anyone safer.

[I see no reason for any sex offender not to do that.]

This type of discussion regarding registration and monitoring of sex offenders, whether state-sponsored or organized by survivors, raises a lot of questions that go far beyond the nature of our discussion here. So I’ll leave it at that for now. But I would be open to discussing these registration issues with you in some other venue.


Okay, not really a conclusion. But I need to wrap up my side of the dialogue and give you and others a chance to respond. Thanks again for your questions.