Allies back you up. They don’t shoulder to the front of the line and take your place. Hugo has in fact made something of a name for himself for his ‘now now there young lady’ attitude on his website to feminists versus MRAs. Allies don’t brush off attempted murder as ‘notoriety’. Most of all, allies understand. Or they exert a lot of effort to try. When has Hugo ever listened to anybody but himself—and his lawyers?
Absolution is a religious idea that is not compatible with liberation. Whatever we have done, we have done. Nothing and no-one can stop us from being the person who has done the worst actions we have taken.
—Excerpt of a guest post by Maia on Feministe
See: On Change and Accountability - A Response To Clarisse Thorn
[…] we need to center survivors. I also generally am leery of the idea that a community should forgive someone just because they have changed. My own sense is that when a community shows that protecting and supporting a survivor is their priority, it not only does the right thing by standing behind the survivor, it also makes it easier for abusers who want to change to do so.
… [I]s it really so awful if people decide that they “hate” Hugo Schwyzer for what he’s done? Anger is OK but hate is always bad? “Hate speech” is pejorative language directed at a vulnerable group or category of people without regard to their characteristics or actions as individuals. That has nothing to do with somebody deciding that they hate Hugo Schwyzer. And it’s not up to you to make a decision that what he’s done isn’t bad enough to merit people’s hatred
Feminism is a pretty simple thing, really. And when your defenders repeatedly invoke witch hunts and other classic sexist tropes in your defense—how come it’s always men who inspire this argument?—–one has to question how deep that layer of feminism really is. So sexism is bad except when it helps Schwyzer?
How come these people are so very very concerned about the inappropriate reactions of women to a guy who admitted attempted murder and rape and yet see nothing wrong in those who try and defend him while leaving out those facts?
But the blind spot this guy generates around him is absolutely astonishing to me. It’s like he’s a cult leader or something–otherwise rational women are willing to throw him a parade for…what, again? What has he done that numerous female feminists haven’t done, and better, and for a longer period of time?
One thing I’ve seen over and over is abusers using their own abusive history as a way to manipulate their new partners. It especially tends to work on either women who have no education on the dynamics of abuse and/or, horribly enough, women who have already been abused. They will explain away restraining orders, criminal histories, exes who won’t talk to them, having lost custody of their children (when that actually happens, which is pretty rare), etc. by saying that either:
1. My ex was a horrible mean person who did all these terrible things just to hurt me for no reason, and now my life is ruined, poor me.
2. Yes, I made some terrible “mistakes,” but I have learned so much and am a Brand New Man now, so wise, so self-aware.
-Excerpt of a comment by Feministe commenter a survivor [Jan 19, 2012]
Re: On The Hugo Business
Note: Bold/italics added for emphasis
But apparently one can be reasonable and also create five different commenting personas in order to pat themselves on the back in a blog comment section. Fascinating.
The internet is full of mystery.
Quoted Hugo supporter (known here as "Madaline") was caught by mods at Feministe (namely Jill) and revealed to be posting from the same IP and using like a bajillion different names... Quelle surprise!
Are you guys the company he normally keeps? Because I’m starting to understand why his popularity is so reality-resistant. It’s like The Five People You Meet in Heaven married A Million Little Pieces. And had a bunch of ugly, ugly babies.
-Excerpt a comment (reposted for hilarity) by Feministe commenter piny [Jan 20, 2012]
re: On The Hugo Business
Note: comment was made in response to Hugo’s supporters and has since won the Best Comment Of The Day award (as far as this blog is concerned).
I have huge admiration for all of the Feministe community, where I’ve been an intermittent commenter since 2005. I will refrain from commenting here again; clearly, it’s evidently impossible for me to be anything other than a deeply divisive presence.
If someone has an idea for how we move the conversation forward, and if they’d like me to be part of that conversation, I’m amenable (after the holidays, of course). If the best thing is for me to stay out of this discussion because no good can come from it, I’m fine with that as well.
Comment from Hugo himself [Dec 24, 2011]
re: A Different Take On Accountability
You know, participating by commenting to let others know he’s not going to be participating by commenting because his participation by commenting in this conversation is a Very Bad Thing (or so the feminists tell him)…
Not being a Christian, I am generally of the firm belief that nobody even has the right to forgive someone who commits a crime like his other than his victims, no matter how sincere the repentance (which I don’t really buy with respect to Schwyzer in the first place), and that any “atonement” should be directed to the victims, not to anyone else. And he made it quite clear himself that the woman he tried to kill – and her family – have not forgiven him in the least, and I don’t see that he’s done anything to atone to her. So what right does anyone else have to “forgive” him, and what right does anyone have to demand that people do so? None.
Excerpt of a comment by Feministe commenter Donna L. [Dec 24, 2011]
Re: A Different Take On Accountability
Note: Bold added for emphasis
Nobody has the right to forgiveness, and so no community has the right to make it a standard outcome for abusers in recovery. And this is especially important for feminists, because injuries against women are denied by patriarchy. Forced forgiveness is a way to shame women into accepting the continued presence of their abusers and to suppress their own feelings of rage, fear, and heartbreak. As survivors will tell you, it’s common.
People who tell you to get over it, or not spend so much time on it, or make disparaging remarks about your concerns are not doing it for the good of anybody but themselves. They want the subject to stop being talked about. It makes them deeply uncomfortable. Given that the guy called himself an ‘accidental rapist’ and boasted about getting away with attempted murder—-which is being brushed off as a ‘mistake’—-one has to wonder why.
Mental illness does not equal violence, no matter how much the media and society would have us all think.