reflections two days after going public with
September 20, 2014
On Friday (Sept 19, 2014) Lisa and I went live with the Team Harpy website. We decided to make the website for a few reasons: raise awareness about what is happening and to fundraise for our legal costs. (It has largely been a success on both fronts so far).
While it is still in the early days for this legal battle1, I do plan on documenting my personal feelings about the process on my blog. Partially to ensure that people understand the human impact that this lawsuit is having on me. For obvious reasons, there is a bigger picture perspective and way to view the lawsuit. There is the free speech angle. The is the challenge to rape and abuse culture. Import things. But also important is me (and Lisa) as human beings dealing with this.
For my part, I find is super strange to (in a roundabout way) become a poster child for ‘free speech’ when I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about saying that unrestricted free speech is a bad thing. In other words, I still firmly believe that there ought to be limits to free speech. My usually analysis involves talking about hate speech restrictions on free speech. The legalities surrounding defamation is a different conceptual restriction on freedom of expression. It is one I do understand, even if it is less immediate for me than hate speech restrictions.
One part of me wants to notice the power differentials between hate speech restrictions vs. defamation. I mean… who is considered to have a ‘reputation’ worth protecting seems awfully suspect in a society where Monica Brown can be arrested and convicted “for walking while trans and Black”. She has been convicted of solitation because an undercover cop offered her a ride. Her reputation is ruined2. Obviously, Monica Brown’s situation and mine are clearly different.
The power differentials of this current case are also super fascinating to me. One the one side, we have a white cishet man who keynotes and is ‘well known’ and on the other side with have a (now) unemployed woman whose been very vocal about her mental health and a underemployed trans woman of colour. And the reality is, is that the judicial system is generally not on the side of women like Lisa and me.
This is actually one of my main sources of anxiety about the case. I stand by what I wrote and what I said. I also know that it was true. And the latter should mean that this case will be an ‘easy’ win for us3. But he is playing on the lowest difficulty setting and we are not. That means that even though we have the truth on our side, this isn’t going to be easy.
The ironic this is that my post was about restorative/community justice. It was about trying to work out non-judicial ways to address problems in our communities in ways that favours and supports and uplifts victims and/or survivors. It was about the need for processes of accountability that bring peace, healing, and justice for victims/survivors and that aren’t just punitive for people who do harm.
And all of this is already taking its toll. I’ve already had more than a few sleepless nights over this. Definitely way more than a few anxiety attacks about this.