I’ve been publicly quiet on things for awhile, and for good reason: I’m a very small fish faced against an enormous community. I have very little clout within the Internet, let alone in my local activist community. But I’m starting to veer towards dangerous territory now, and I think it’s time I speak out about something we’re missing out on.
First off, you might recognize me if you’ve been following the “trigger warning” debate that cropped up earlier this year, in May and June. I’m the Rutgers University student who was sourced in the New York Times, who wanted to put TW’s on the Great Gatsby and King Lear. Huff Post and BBC really loved my ideas, to the point where they interviewed me to talk about my work.
But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that I’m one of you: I’m one of those trans, non-binary, feminist activists who wants to make the world a better place. I’m a social justice activist, first and foremost.
But in these past two weeks alone, we have been royally fucking up. You see, we have a problem in social justice, and these problems have been simmering under the surface for awhile now. We have an enormous, ongoing problem with abuse and harassment directed at others: both outside of the community, and among our own.
Last week, Eron Gjoni posted a call out about his former girlfriend, Zoe Quinn, a video game developer and a former inspiration of mine. I read through his call out, and I’ve studied his receipts closely. I quickly found out that Zoe Quinn shows the classic signs of an emotional abuser: she constantly utilizes suicidal threats, gaslighting, lying, guilt tripping, isolation from others, redirecting her partner’s concerns, and spiteful blame in order to control Eron. The list goes on and on, and the receipts are damning to any abuse survivor.
Previously, there were concerns about Eron’s call out: he appeared to be the only one calling Zoe Quinn out, and, despite there being enormous receipts, many people were skeptical of his claims. In fact, this led to many individuals spreading misinformation about Eron. This was further compounded by Zoe Quinn’s post on “terrorism,” which sidesteps the abuse allegations completely. This led to many activists smearing Eron’s name, calling him “spiteful,” “jilted,” and other various baseless insults towards Quinn’s ex-.
However, Eron is no longer alone in his call out. Now, a total of five people and organizations have come out verifying pieces and angles of Eron’s story. For their own privacy, I won’t disclose their names; but if you’ve been following this story, their call out’s on sexual harassment, lying, control, malicious intent, exploitation, and emotional manipulation only seem to further strengthen Eron’s story.
Now, why is this relevant? We’ve talked about Zoe Quinn to death, right? Well, no.
Zoe Quinn framed her life and work around a dedication to social justice activism. At the very core of Quinn’s career was a desire for inclusivity and visibility for marginalized identities. However, Quinn’s personal life shatters her work completely. Her abusive behavior and malicious intent has hurt nearly half a dozen people, which makes her dangerous in the eyes of an abuse survivor.
In other words, those of us who are survivors must be aware of Zoe Quinn. We must know who Zoe is, and whether her actions are abusive. And if so, we must distance ourselves from Zoe, as survivors are the very same vulnerable people that an abuser preys on. We have an obligation to know if the people in an accessible industry, the indie gaming industry, are abusive towards others. Doubly so when abuse survivors are approaching Zoe Quinn for twitters, tumblrs, DM’s, e-mails, interviews, recommendations, autographs, friendly discussions, and professional funding.
However, Zoe Quinn truly strikes a nerve, because she is not an outlier. Zoe Quinn represents a much larger issue currently going on in social justice. And that’s what I want to strike at now, while the iron is hot and the fire is rising. Ultimately, we need to explore how social justice communities operate, and how we often let the wrong people into them.
In social justice, the entry barrier for joining a social justice community is very low. The requirements are minimal at best: you must be able to understand systems of oppression. You have …
My thoughts on all the crap going on and why I think there’s a lot of abuse apologism.