Hello everyone. I’d been meaning to post here to describe a strange problem I’m having, although it’s become rather exacerbated and the situation has changed. I have to ask you guys not to spread this story around before the weekend, don’t speak about it, please. I need a support network of sceptics that aren’t largely available to me right now, but there are reasons why discretion is important in the immediate present. I understand this is the Internet and I may delete this after a few days of advice to prevent it being found and being punished for this message with everything from libel law to punishment-assault, but I need some advice. In the meantime, please keep this quiet.
The situation has transformed from an ongoing debate about the efficacy of outspoken atheism to protecting women from a budding cult leader with a history of rape. I began with completely different set of questions regarding how to move forward than I currently have.
I’m a member of a very unique community called the Poetry Slam. It’s a massive worldwide event that happens weekly in about 200 cities around the world. Ours has about 120 people who come every week. We’ve basically turned performing poetry into a riled-up competitive sport, peculiarly similar to the dance-battle phenomenon in L.A. People are rewarded by the audience for daring to be vulnerable about their lives in their poetry, or for saying something relevant about a social ill, like racism, war, homophobia or feminism. It’s remarkable.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks about announcing your own weaknesses on stage: it has attracted a few predators who have learned to pretend how to be “allies” to feminists, “fighting” for women’s rights while sexually harassing them once trust is achieved. There’s currently an initiative to deal with sexual violence and harassment in our community.
Okay, there’s the preamble. Back in December, a pagan who loves Jesus began to take issue with how I speak out about the potential dangers of religious faith. He began performing angry pieces about how any atheist who isn’t quiet about his/her disbelief is oppressive. For a month, I began producing a piece about the evils of religion, that I planned to ask our videographer to upload to our Youtube page. I would ask him to call it “The Blasphemy Challenge”, and, through keyword searches, it would bring hundreds of sceptics to the poetry slam, at least online, and that was my evil plan against the entitled pagan.
This person, you should know, has no personal boundaries; he corners people for hours at a time to yell at them about what he thinks; while calling himself an ally, he friendily intimidates women into accepting him as their saviour from the institution. And, when he was voted off from his positions in the community, he announced that there was a giant conspiracy against him and that everyone was in on it. Ever since, he began cornering people, mostly women, to groom them into thinking that he was being persecuted and that he should be defended. (I should also tell you that he has epilepsy that may have caused brain damage; I suspect it’s Temporal Lobe epilepsy, and that his religious convictions and his belief that everything that happens is some epic battle is due to the fact that the part of the brain that identifies when something emergent is happening is stuck on 11).
End of the preamble, I promise. Here’s where things got weird: someone recently quietly came out as having been sexually assaulted by him years ago. So have two other people since. He doesn’t know of these revelations. He reportedly uses guilt and harassment to turn Nos into Yeses; possibly alcohol as well. While the victim is going to the police, little will likely happen, and it’s mostly to avoid possible reprisals when the call-out goes public. While he absolutely needs to believe he’s an ally to women, he might become violent, you never know. The idea is to use the monthly community meeting as a First-Nations style victim circle, and to collaborate about how to move forward, such as a forced leave of absence from the community with required courses about how to overcome tendencies towards sexual violence and harassment.
I know that many of you will say "Go to the police, oh my gosh!" You need to understand that pressing charges for rape represents months if not years of slut-shaming, victim-blaming and is not for the non-rich, even in Canada. That being said, the police are being notified just in case of reprisals for the accusation, and there may be a police report after the fact.
Since the revelation of sexual assault, my friends who know and my wife have requested that I do not do the antitheism poem, at least for now; as they're afraid of provoking him and being triggered by his malice.
He’s recently announced he’s not coming to the meeting. He doesn’t know what the meeting’s actually about, it’s very quiet, but his perfectly regular sense of paranoia won the lottery and decided that he’s being targeted for ostracization of some kind, probably for being generally mean.
Instead, he is sending the women he has spent the last two months grooming to support him against this illusory menace. They are coming with a statement he has prepared, and will read it out. Essentially, this serial-rapist (who probably doesn’t see himself that way, as most people think rape just means physical force) has groomed a series of women to believe that he is persecuted for being blue-collar and spiritual, and they have been deployed to fight in his stead. A month ago one of these women announced that there aer demons in our community and they would be exorcised.
In short, he is developing a small cult of women who are acting as his human shields and his prohibition police. It is our job to make the case that he is a rapist and is not persecuted but has in fact been spared from punishment for his various abuses over the years. It is our job to convince them that he’s dangerous and needs help, although he has effectively installed a strange mixture of magical thinking and conspiracy-logic into them.
Do you have any tips about how to make this case without it turning into a civil war??