Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kyle Payne is Back to Blogging: But Where in the World is He?

To Kyle D. Payne,

I was surprised to find out you were back online, blogging at "The Road Less Traveled". I realise that most of your posts in 2009 have been reprints, so to speak, of earlier writings you have done, going back to 2006.

But my 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?

This raises a few other questions, which I hope you will take time to answer as soon as time permits.

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?

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?

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?

Why are your name and photograph not visible on your blog as they were before your time in jail? If both are there, please post the link to that information here.

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.

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?

I'd appreciate having a response to all the above questions, concerns, and requests in the comments section of this post at A.R.P.




  1. Questions noted. Answers in due time. Have a good weekend!

  2. Thanks for replying and I look forward to seeing your responses.

    And I hope "in due time" means soon, as in within a week or two.

  3. oh -ugh-. ugh ugh ugh. The real question: why isn't he in jail?


  4. Hello belledame 222.

    The putrid answer, as far as I can tell, in part, is that he wasn't charged with a sex crime--a crime of sexual assault or sexual violation. He was charged--stupidly and obscenely, in my view--with the crime of trespass, of invasion of privacy (which here means not the physical boundary of her body but instead the invasion of her dorm room). He was also, as far as I know, charged with theft.

    Theft of what? Not of her psychic and bodily integrity, not of her sense of relative safety in a dormitory and in the world beyond it, not of a quality of well-being possessed before "the incident", not of everything--every immeasurable thing--that any sex crime takes from a victim, often forever.

    No, he apparently stole an object out of her dorm room, but was not charged with treating her as an object, as his possession for the period of time during which he violated her.

    This is not news, of course: the court system is set up to protect [especially white, clean cut, and/or rich and/or famous] male perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence, of atrocity, of acts which are part of a larger system of gendered denigration and subordination. There is so much (obviously) that apparently flies under the radar of professional regulators of white male supremacy. These regulators appear to not be able to comprehend profoundly injurious actions as "criminal"--or as a civil/human rights violation.

    In my mind, Kyle is guilty of a crime of gross sexual assault of a female human being, an unconscious woman, while he was her R.A. at the college they both attended at the time.

    As far as I know, she dropped out of school due to the trauma while he got to graduate, even after "the incident" was knowable to every administrator at the college who can read and has access to the local newspaper's reports. That he was not immediately suspended, and was allowed to finish his coursework, to graduate (with honors??, with awards??), is disgusting. It's another obscenity.

    What he is obligated to do, according to his own stated values if not the court's, is to alert community safety groups and a national sex offender registry to the facts of what he did, and always let them know where he is residing and going to school. Will he do that? Probably not. Why?

    Because the courts have not said he has done anything so serious as to warrant that sort of "restriction on his life". And his profeminism apparently ends at the point where the courts tell him it can end. There's nothing radical about that. That's status quo behavior on his part.

    That's why he's not in jail. And the truth is, even if he WERE convicted of a sex crime, he'd likely not be serving much time in jail. (He was sentenced to six months, which has passed.)

    "Justice for women in patriarchy" is an hazy idea more than it is a reality, unless and until the meanings of terms like harm and justice are determined by the very populations negatively impacted by such abuse, by those among those populations who fully understand what the harm and injustice is. Those that tend to fully understand do not tend to be members of "objective", "impartial" juries and judges who may or may not have a clue what the gross violation of one's being, one's body, feels like, does, and leaves behind.

  5. Gag. Fucking gag.

    I had this old blog which I stopped writing in as soon as it got popular because I was getting too much hatemail.

    I think Kyle had it on his blogroll for a while. I wanted to email him to tell him to stop linking to me. Then I decided that I'd really rather not be in touch with him ever.

    I sometimes get upset about how much air-time discussion of Kyle gets. I mean, men not claiming to be feminist rape in huge numbers every day- why don't they get this kind of attention?

    I'm a prison abolitionist, so I'm actually sorry he went to jail. However, I'm also a realist, so I'm fucking disgusted that he wasn't kicked out of school/obligated to tell everybody where he lives and what he looks like.

  6. Re: "[...]men not claiming to be feminist rape in huge numbers every day- why don't they get this kind of attention?"

    I hear you on the amount of attention Kyle has gotten. If I thought he wanted it, I probably wouldn't post about him.

    But to answer your question, I think it is because the other sexual assaulters aren't known by us. If I know of any rapist, child molester, or sexual assaulter, I'll post anything I know about him/them right here.

    And, if Kyle professes to be profeminist, and has done anti-rape work in the past--including being an answerer/counselor for a rape crisis hotline, he's held to a different level of accountability--by his own self, we hope--that non- and anti-feminist men don't even think they should be held to in the first place.

    So I can engage Kyle in a conversation about his actions, past and present, whereas the average joe-rapist wouldn't even have replied to my initial post. Whether the conversation proves to be helpful to women, is for the female audience here to say. If all it's doing in grandstanding an abuser, well, that's not sufficient reason to post about anyone.

    I think there should be a website, or set of sites, like holla back, where women post images and other relevant information about men who have assaulted them, where the women get to remain anonymous, and the rapists don't.

    Yeah, yeah, the boys cry out: what about justice? Well, speaking only for myself, that would be one form of justice far beyond the one that happens in courts of law.

  7. also, there's a special kind of awfulness about the betrayal of someone posing -as a counselor- (which he also did)--pro-feminist, anti-abuse, etc.--abusing already vulnerable women. There's a term for it: "sanctuary trauma." So, yeah, he does get a special place in abuser hell for it; it's not just about the hypocrisy factor.

    and at minimum if he shows his face at more feminist/anti-abuse conferences, I think everyone ought to know who/what he is before he takes advantage of anyone else, gets any more airtime/power, etc.

  8. "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?"

    Don't ask him ask us. He doesn't get to decide. He's a sexual predator. This isn't some man to man chat you can have to sort out things on behalf of the ladies. There is no trust to be built between women and sexual predators, nor should it be the goal of any feminist or pro-feminist to attempt to do so. All that's left with Kyle Payne is to warn other women, particularly feminists about him.

    The answer to that is that he needs to get off the internet and stay as far away from any form of activism that women are involved in, stay away from anti-porn activism, stay away from anti-prostitution action and inform every woman he meets of his crimes, so she can decide for herself how she wants to respond.

    I would also suggest that you ask him to take down his link to your blog as I have seen other feminist bloggers have done, as leaving it in place appears to be an endorsement.

  9. Julian, I don't like undue amounts of attention paid to this situation, because I think rapists and rape apologists are everywhere, including (and especially) in the homes of women, and that reality gets obscured where the focus is on one guy out there somewhere else. I think the sex positive/pro-porn crowd has displayed undue interest in this situation because they are eager to discredit anti-pornography, anti-prostitution men. If their concern was for raped women, perhaps they might devote more attention to problems of rape and abuse in the sex trade, pornography, and in SM relationships. Strangely, that subject generally gets short shrift with this crowd.


  10. I'll respond to each of the last two comments above separately.

    Hello delphyne.

    "Don't ask him ask us. He doesn't get to decide. He's a sexual predator. This isn't some man to man chat you can have to sort out things on behalf of the ladies. There is no trust to be built between women and sexual predators, nor should it be the goal of any feminist or pro-feminist to attempt to do so."

    Yes. Thank you for that reminder. My question to him wasn't so much to suggest that he has any call (authority, say, etc.) on this matter (he doesn't, I agree), it was, rather an attempt to find out how he'd respond.

    I believe Kyle should, and likely will, read what you have written here, and I believe he ought to take your statement as an authoritative answer to the question.

  11. Although I agree with most of what delphyne commented, I do think it's appropriate for men to confront men about rape, sexual assault, pornography and prostitution, as Julian has done here. It's too true, only men can stop any or all of the above, and one way they begin to accomplish that is, they confront rapists, perps, and men who use pornography and traffic in the bodies of women.

  12. Hello Heart.

    Thank you very much for your comment. I really resonated (um, agreed) with this:

    "I don't like undue amounts of attention paid to this situation, because I think rapists and rape apologists are everywhere, including (and especially) in the homes of women, and that reality gets obscured where the focus is on one guy out there somewhere else."

    Yes, yes, yes. It's almost always the guys "out there" rather than the guys women come home to. (Same thing with child sexual abuse.) Thanks for reminding me of that. It's so easy to pick up on "the one case" (especially the most sensational, such as that of the serial killer) that for various reasons attracts more "spectacular" (and often pornographised) attention, and lose some focus this is systemic, endemic, and, as you say, mostly happens at home.

    Here's my dilemma. I have known many women who, when in college, were raped, in various ways, which the courts call various things, who never found anything resembling justice, or even caring treatment on their campuses, or off campus.

    I do think campus rape is a particular form of male terrorism and subordination against females that does need more attention put on it. To me this form of routine violative assault is specifically designed, intentionally or not, to effectively shut down women's options regarding attending university--as if she's safer at home or at work outside the home.

    My experience is this, with colleges: unless the case is clearly "criminal" in some way that men consider things criminal, university and college administrators generally attempt to suppress all reports of sexual assault on campuses across the U.S. This is done, in part, because these institutions don't give a shit about women's safety and well-being ESPECIALLY WHEN caring means exposing the rapes (just the stats and the names of the perps, not the names of the victims) to the media.

    This on-going suppression allows them, their records, and their literature to parents and prospective students, to have "admirable and attractive" (and grossly inaccurate) stats on campus rape.

    I pose a question below to you, Heart, and also to delphine, to belledame222, to Valerie, and to anyone else interested in being involved in this particular discussion.

    Question: What do you recommend I do when another "profeminist" man--one known to have committed a sexual assault against a woman--re-emerges into populations he once was part of, but does so somewhat under the radar, such as by making his name (and image, which was once posted) less visible on his own blog?

    Do you believe it to be appropriate and responsible to let people know this is happening, given that his blog exists to bolster a dangerously incomplete picture or image of himself? For me, this is a very likely scenario:

    Kyle moves on to another campus or community where people might find his dishonest blog. They are encouraged by his politics. They also do not find bloggers (or non-bloggers) who have called him out because links from his blog to their criticisms and warnings are gone or were never established to begin with. (This is why I haven't asked him to remove my link--anyone who comes here knows where I stand with Kyle. And if they come here due to going to Kyle's blog, that's fine with me, as long as what they find here isn't wishy-washy on the subject.)

    What's the responsible thing to do--here?

  13. Regarding your most recent comment, Heart, like you I fully believe male supremacy exists because men want it to exist and allow it to exist.

    What follows are my beliefs only, not Heart's.

    I believe we men must not only call each other out systematically on what we misogynistically do but we also ought to "take out" those men who should be taken out. I'm far from being into overtly masculinist approaches--I've never been in one fist fight with anyone and I don't, as yet, know how to work a gun, but some of us guys need to leave the Earth sooner than later.

    One part of men's male domination maintenance program is not calling one another out on what we do that is harmful and oppressive to womankind. I despise a politic that holds that men should change because it would make men more humane to ourselves--as if women's humanity, and how patriarchs incessantly work at demolishing it, doesn't count and isn't sufficient motivation for men. Let us become more humane to one another in the act of rejoicing that women are free from us, by fighting for women's freedom, at all costs. In accomplishing that, I believe we will be made humane.

    If men spoke out against, intervened upon, and/or killed off every man who is a rapist, every male pornographer, male pimp, male trafficker, male batterer of women, male incest perpetrator and/or molester of girls, and every man who is a street harasser of women, and every other patriarchal prick who tries to violate, subordinate, control, intimidate, exploit, and harm women in any number of ways--if we men did this, as an organised or not-so-organised practice, to every perpetrator of male supremacist atrocity against womankind we knew of--atrocities named as such by women, with men being fully accountable to women--I think the world would look quite different and be quite different for women.

    We'd also have to radically change ourselves by radically changing the institutions we control and benefit from in obscene and despicable ways, but not so we men can be nicer to one other and cry without shame in one another's presence. We're far too nice to one another knowing what we do to women. Men know how to cry. We do it to manipulate women, in our all-too-momentary periods of contrition.

    No offense to canines, but a man I once knew--a young heterosexual man--once said to me: "Men are dogs." He knew what he was speaking about because he was speaking in part about what he knew about himself and his heterosexual male friends and acquaintances. He said this once to me, and not enough times to his heterosexual male buddies.

    I'm not a fan of "men protecting women". I don't believe "protection" is empowering to women as a class of people; I think it's subordinating and controlling. I have known women who can and do fight men and otherwise defend themselves against pricks, often in ingenious ways; resistance comes in many forms.

    I'm against the White Knight approach to patronisingly "caring about" and "rescuing" women as if women were young children. I recommend every man see "The Bandit Queen" and learn everything you can about what men are from that movie, and what women have the right to do in response to what we are and what we do. While that movie is a story of an actual person who fought against men in South Asia, I don't believe there's anything uniquely "South Asian" about the violent forms of misogyny in that film. That violence is also as Western as colonialism, slavery, and corporate pornography.

    But the rape atrocity, and everything that goes into maintaining it, must end by any means necessary, in my view. For what is life--for women--while there is the palpable threat, the horror, and the traumatic memory of rape? And woman-killing poverty? And gynocidal genocide?

    I learned the most about men by living with them, living with myself, and realizing that what Pearl Cleage, Phoolan Devi, Andrea Dworkin, and so many other women know or knew about men carries a depth of truth that most men will never publicly admit to, let alone eradicate. So, for me, fuck male bonding. Fuck allegiances with men that exist to harm women.

    Every twenty-four hours that men stay silent or keep one another's (and our own) secrets about how we abuse women, how we oppress women, and how we maintain and protect the institutions which bolster our misogynist violence, patriarchy has another fucking holiday.

  14. Kyle had sent me a comment early yesterday saying he had his answers written out to all of my questions, but was concerned about the length.

    I told him to go ahead and send it; I'd deal with the length, perhaps by posting his whole reply/answers as a separate post, so it could have its own comments, but would also link to the post with the original questions.

    Then this morning he wrote again saying he had some "unexpected errands" to run last night, and wanted to edit the response down before sending it, which he said should be by the end of today.

    I wrote back telling him to send it before noon today. (No excuses, no stalling.)

    We'll see when/if it arrives. Don't hold your breath.

  15. So I wanted to explain my question about this getting so much attention to you, especially in light of BD turning up at your blog, but Heart put it wonderfully.

    There are, unfortunately, a large band of pro-porn fauxminists on the internet who cruise blogs looking for mention of Kyle Payne and then talk about how awful he is. They don't talk about rape much outside of this context. They also occasionally post fantasies about their radical feminist rivals getting raped or about all anti-porn men turning out to be rapists. That is, they don't tend to care about rape except when they're wishing for more of the kind that makes them feel vindicated.

    Belledame is one of them, which is why she turned up on your blog for the first time in a post about Kyle Payne and probably will start being extremely hostile to you the second you start mentioning any queasiness about porn, for example.

    I would recommend you not engage her, as she has a couple dozen friends with which she occasionally coordinates attacks on blogs that are openly anti-porn and/or radical feminist, and you don't need to sift through the hundreds of openly hostile emails/comments.

  16. Regarding your earlier question, I think you do what you've already done. You post somewhere where Google can find it that he's a predator, and you hope that the people he's trying to fool at whatever his new environment is can find that.

    Honestly, I think he's getting off on the attention at this point, as he seemed to when he was blogging as one of those rare anti-porn men. Which is why I think another truly effective tactic could be to curtly tell him he's still a rapist, post about it someplace public in order to try and protect whoever he's hanging with now, then ignore him.

  17. Thanks for clarifying that, Valerie. Come by any time.