Trusting the Wrong People: There is Nothing Left to Say.
A couple days ago I wrote out three threads over three days. Each highlighting a specific type of sexual harassment or assault. I was driven to do this, not by the Harvey Weinstein situation, but by all the people who were coming forward. Telling their own stories. It wasn’t just brave, it was inspiring. Though no one knew the method of which I chose to tell the stories, I wrote them out by how old I was when they occurred. 22, 24, 32.
It just goes to show that sexual harassment and assault doesn’t necessarily stop because of your age.
They were received well. The first one received very well actually. And I thought that was that. I had several messages from strangers, some of whom were survivors of assault and harassment themselves wanting to talk to me about their experiences. I spent the next several days talking to people, listening, trying to make sure that they could have a voice. Perhaps they weren’t ready to tell 300 people (the amount of people that followed me on Twitter), but they were ready to tell 1 person.
Then it started. The nightmare I had been running from for 2.5 years.
See, one of my stories was about online sexual harassment. And after that online sexual harassment how that person went out of their way to whisper in just the right ears, and suddenly I was a crazy person. A stalker. A conman. Manipulator who was looking to hurt people. Combine this with harassment I was already getting after writing some rather harsh critiques on gaming culture, it was enough to set off a chain of events.
Doxxing attempts, thankfully getting the wrong name. Fake accounts associated with the doxxing attempt. Screenshots floating about as proof of various sins I had committed. Accusations of anything from being a TERF to supporting lowering age of consent. These things not only hurt, they were incredibly damaging to my mental state as I had just begun to come out as non-binary and possibly trans. Several people, all of whom were in the trans community, told me to shove myself right back in that closet. I was obviously just trying to get attention and appropriating trans culture.
So I did. I shoved it all back down and didn’t speak on it again.
Not only that, I was also trying to get a job as a teacher. When people looked me up online, this is what they found. That I supported lowering the age of consent, which then led to storify’s (remember those?) that I was a child molester and a rapist. I was passed up for by at least four jobs that I know of because of this, possibly more.
Eventually people realised my husband was the easiest way to find out where I was, as he was online as well and in newspapers quite often, at least this is what I assume happened because one minute they had no idea where I lived, the next they did. Our address was given out, my phone number. Google maps street view. I was getting death threats to my main email account, as well as my Facebook account, and Twitter. I would get pictures of women bound and gagged, with suggestive captions about me. The last breaking point was when someone found my mother’s name and said they would contact her. As I have a restraining order against her, I was terrified.
I finally went to the police.
After the police was given as much info as I could, I deleted everything. Twitter, email, Facebook, paypal, skype, anything that had my name attached to it was gone. I didn’t want to start over, I just wanted to disappear. I didn’t want another picture. I didn’t want another death threat. I just wanted to be left alone. I began using aliases, and less and less using Lillian. I was terrified if anyone knew who I was, it would start all over again. For years I kept as low of a profile as I could.
And it all started because I asked a friend how to deal with someone who was making me uncomfortable.
So here we are today.
You know, I could go into a long, drawn out defence of myself, and I thought about it. I had screen shots, proof of being stalked, not just by the people who released random stuff today, but by the same toxic gaming culture most of you all mock and hate. Some of the screenshots of being stalked are from as late as this year.
But then I realised, I’ve been defending myself since I was 22 years old. First from Brian, losing my job, which lead to losing my flat and having to move, which lead me to having to find the job at the call centre. Where Will worked.
Defending myself from Will’s accusations after he raped me. That I was ungrateful for not liking it. That I was just frigid and mean. That I asked for it really, and then didn’t want it afterwards, when in reality I was too drugged to stop it.
Defending myself from an onslaught of online harassment, first from toxic gamers, then from the very people who was supposed to be against them, all because a guy had been too sexually forward and I went for advice on how to stop him from doing it so I didn’t have to just flat out block him.
For the past year I’ve gotten to know a lot of people. I’ve not only talked to many of you, I’ve bared my soul to you. I’ve been open and honest about my life, about being poly, about coming out of the closet finally after those painful years being shoved back in. I shared stories of my childhood. About the brain damage. About living in constant pain.
I’ve shared my fears of being an addict because of my own mother. My hatred for my father. My love of my brother. The terror I live with that because of his skin colour I’ll wake up one day to find he’s just another notch in some police officer’s belt.
I never wanted to share what happened to me. I unfollowed almost everyone associated with the accounts because I thought it was easier that way, but people got angry with me for not telling them who it was and not trusting them with the information (ironic huh?).
When I found out that there was someone else with the same story from the same guy with such a similar outcome as mine, I thought it was time to at least try to explain the terror I lived with. Perhaps those who I unfollowed would understand finally and ease up on their anger of me.
But after a fitful night of sleep, I don’t care if you believe me. I was never on Twitter for popularity. As I said many times, I never wanted a lot of followers, I just wanted a few friends. In the end, that’s what I was given. A few good friends. Amazing, wonderful, warm people I’m lucky to have in my life.
However, most of you saw screen shots with the wrong name (I mean, what do I need to do, put up a picture of my passport?), stuff from an account less than a month old about people I have never even associated with and myself leading some kind of harassment campaign, pulling evidently the longest twitter con in history.
You were people I thought I knew. People I had gone to bat for. People I had listened to stories about. People I had given my last bit of money to because I worried how you were going to eat. People I had gotten up to listen to, even though in the UK it was 3 or 4 or 5am, because you needed someone to talk to.
I had been honest with you, vulnerable with you, you begged me to trust you, to tell you all the truth about everything, and then you believed the first pastebin dump that came along. In the end, you’ve only proven that sexual harassment victims should never speak out. Because when they do, there’s always going to be hell to pay.
Stay safe and stay sane.