Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I’m dyin’ here, people. It’s like people trust me or something.
So I’ve been given this rather…explosive…information. It’s a direct report of unethical behavior by a big name in the skeptical community (yeah, like that hasn’t been happening a lot lately), and it’s straight from the victim’s mouth. And it’s bad. Really bad.
He’s torn up about it. It’s been a few years, so no law agency is going to do anything about it now; He reported it to an organization at the time, and it was dismissed. Swept under the rug. Ignored. I can imagine his sense of futility. He’s also afraid that the person who assaulted him before could try to hurt him again.
But at the same time, he doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else, so he’d like to get the word out there. So he hands the information to me. Oh, thanks.
Now I’ve been sitting here trying to resolve my dilemma — to reveal it or not — and goddamn it, what’s dominating my head isn’t the consequences, but the question of what is the right thing to do. Do I stand up for the one who has no recourse, no way out, no other option to help others, or do I shelter the powerful big name guy from an accusation I can’t personally vouch for, except to say that I know the author, and that he’s not trying to acquire notoriety (he wants his name kept out of it)?
I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, I can do no other. I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described; all I can say is that the author is known to me, and he has also been vouched for by one other person I trust. The author is not threatening his putative assailant with any action, but is solely concerned that other men be aware of her behavior. The only reason he has given me this information is that he has no other way to act.
With that, I cast this grenade away from me…
At a conference, Ms. Watson coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me. I can’t give more details than that, as it would reveal my identity, and I am very scared that she will come after me in some way. But I wanted to share this story in case it helps anyone else ward off a similar situation from happening. I reached out to one organization that was involved in the event at which I was raped, and they refused to take my concerns seriously. Ever since, I’ve heard stories about her doing things (5 different people have directly told me they did the same to them) and wanted to just say something and warn people, and I didn’t know how. I hope this protects someone.
Further corroboration: a witness has come forward. This person has asked to remain anonymous too, but I will say they’re someone who doesn’t particularly like me — so no accusations of fannishness, OK?
The anonymous man who wrote to you is known to me, and in fact I was in his presence immediately after said incident (he was extremely distraught), and when he told the management of the conference (some time later).
People are still writing into me with their personal stories. This one isn’t so awful, but it’s mainly illustrative of her tactics…there’s nothing here that would form the basis of any kind of serious complaint, but most importantly, I think, it tells you exactly what kind of behavior to watch out for with her.
Rebecca Watson was the guest of honor at an skeptics event I attended in Summer 2010; I was on the Board of the group who hosted it. It’s a very short story: I got my book signed, then at the post-speech party, Watson chatted with me at great length while refilling my wine glass repeatedly. I lost count of how many drinks I had. She was flirting with me and I am non-confrontational and unwilling to be rude, so I just laughed it off. She made sure my wine glass stayed full.
And that’s the entirety of my story: Rebecca Watson helped get me drunker than I normally get, and was a bit flirty. I can’t recall the details because I was intoxicated. I don’t remember how I left, but I am told that a friend took me away from the situation and home from the party. Note, I’d never gotten drunk at any atheist event before; I was humiliated by having gotten so drunk and even more ashamed that my friends had to cart me off before anything happened to me.
But I had a bad taste in my mouth about Watson’s flirtatiousness, because I’m married, and I thought she was kind of a pig. I didn’t even keep her signed book, I didn’t want it near me.
Over the years as rumors have flown about atheist men warning each other about a lecherous author/speaker, I thought of all the authors and speakers I had met during my time as an atheist activist, and I guessed that Watson was the one being warned against.
Now there are tweets and blogs about her sexually inappropriate behavior as well as her fondness for getting boys drunk, so I feel quite less alone. I don’t think she realizes he is doing anything wrong. Women who behave inappropriately sexually never think they are doing anything wrong.
I have mixed feelings about your grenade-dropping. I have heard arguments both for and against what you did. Whether or not I agree with it, I just want to say that the accusations against Watson match up with my personal experience with her, insofar as she seemed hellbent on helping me get drunk, and was very flirty with me. Take it for what you will. I believe the accusers.
And now, for some advice:
This post should never have been written, whether it’s true or not. Nor should the one that it was copied from.
And for the skeptic Cedric: