Date: 2/22/21 5:27 am
From: Rebecca Hartman <rhartman...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Clarification on OBA statement
Personally, I would like Treesa to terminate this discussion. Sarah posted
an OBA statement in support of women who speak out against sexual violence,
asserting that OBA condemns that violence, supports survivors and is
committed to inclusivity.

Perhaps a discussion about OBA's position might be appropriate for our
list. But one that has devolved into the sadly predictable reciting of
canards about false accusations of rape, and passionate claims that
evidence and presumed innocence ensure justice in the legal system, is not.
At its core, this thread reflects the continued need for commitments like
the OBA statement. I'm all for having difficult conversations, but this
one seems counterproductive to me.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2021, 12:22 AM Sarah Merkle <smerkle8765...> wrote:

> Jeff,
> This is my first time posting on OBOL and it is regretful that this is the
> topic.
> The comments you made were extremely triggering to read; they contained
> lightly veiled (at best) sentiments of misogyny, ableism, and victim
> blaming. You chose to take time to respond to an ongoing conversations by
> contributing nothing but your blatant privilege and lack of understanding
> of the experience of women, femme folx, and survivors. For your two
> “stories of false allegations,” I can tell you thousands of true accounts
> of survivors that I have heard within my community and through my work as a
> victims’ rights advocate. This is a red herring to distract from the
> conversation at hand; the safety of non-cis-men in the birding community.
> If you want to have this conversation, I suggest you educate yourself about
> the statistics involving rape and sexual assault in this country. Here is
> a good resource <>. 1 in every
> 6 women is sexually assaulted in their lifetime and this is just the
> individuals who choose to come forward about their experiences. Many, like
> me, never did. You mask your misogynistic and rape apologistic comments
> under the guise of holding to the principle of “inncont until proven
> guilty” and by examining the viability of bringing different types of legal
> action against Jason Ward. No one was asking for you to convict him of this
> crime, there was merely an expression of solidarity with Aisha White’s
> experience and a call to make birding a safer space for everyone; your
> knee-jerk reactions say much more about you and your priorities than they
> contributed to the conversation. And regarding your comment about letting
> “justice play out,” let me share this statistic from RAINN: “for every
> 1,000 rapes, 384 are reported to police, 57 result in an arrest, 11 are
> referred for prosecution, 7 result in a felony conviction, and 6 result in
> incarceration.” The number of convictions is even less when it comes to
> cases involving women of color. That you would see a post about
> cultivating safe space and respond with defensiveness, questioning, and
> personal attacks shows me, and others like me, that you are unsafe and/or
> uninterested in addressing the inherent power dynamics and problems present
> within birding and society, at large.
> As an individual living with mental health conditions and as a survivor,
> It took me years to be able to be comfortable being alone in nature. Despite
> this, I will keep birding and keep dreaming of a birding scene where we can
> have hard conversations about privilege and intersectionality as it
> pertains to the safety of our fellows birders, and where even queer, femme,
> “anarchist psychos” like me have space to bird safely.
> I stand with Aisha White and every survivor of any gender.
> -S
> On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 10:02 PM Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...>
> wrote:
>> Brodie
>> I don’t know how you can read minds over a thousand miles away. That was
>> not what I wrote, or implied.
>> You should apologize. It borders on libel.
>> BTW: People here should not say that the accused did what he has been
>> accused of. If he is tried and found not guilty, I will search him out and
>> suggest he sue for defamation. We don’t know what happened.
>> Let justice play out.
>> Why don’t we drop the discussion here, especially since as far as I know
>> there has never been an event in Oregon birding anything like the event
>> alleged in Georgia?
>> Jeff
>> On Feb 21, 2021, at 10:31 PM, Brodie Cass Talbott <
>> <brodiecasstalbott...> wrote:
>> I wanted to add my voice, as a man, to say I condemn Jeff's statements.
>> The obvious intent of his statement was to tell women birders that if they
>> are victims of sexual or emotional abuse, and they speak up, then the men
>> in this community will question their motives, and cast aspersions on their
>> allegations, even if the perpetrators themselves have made no effort to
>> deny the claims.
>> The men in this community need to do better.
>> I stand with women birders, and I believe women.
>> Brodie Cass Talbott
>> Portland
>> On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 6:54 PM Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi
>>> The alleged victim (I of course have no information about what is
>>> alleged other than what is on the internet) started a GoFundMe five days
>>> ago. From GoFundMe just now:
>>> Legal Fees for Aisha White
>>> $33,437 raised of $10,000 goal
>>> While her appeal for money to possibly hire a lawyer may be valid, as a
>>> matter of practicality, suing someone for damages is only viable if that
>>> person has significant assets. For all I know, he does, but he may not.
>>> We of course do not know if the event described occurred, but money sent to
>>> GoFundMe is money got, with no obligation to spend it in a particular way.
>>> If he has assets worth pursuing, the normal expectation would be that she
>>> would find a lawyer who would evaluate the case, and take the case on a
>>> contingent fee basis. Paying a lawyer an hourly rate to sue someone with
>>> limited resources is not viable, and it would cost a significant amount to
>>> sue someone with significant resources to defend. Good luck to her if the
>>> accusation is factual.
>>> We saw recently in video the recent case of a black male birder being
>>> accused of threatening a woman in Central Park where the accusation was
>>> entirely fabricated. I am not saying that happened in this case though.
>>> Everyone is innocent unless proven guilty.
>>> Of course everyone here is opposed to violence against women, or anyone
>>> else for that matter.
>>> Jeff Gilligan
>>> On Feb 21, 2021, at 7:09 PM, Sarah Swanson <sarahlovesbirds...>
>>> wrote:
>>> Hello again-
>>> Please allow me to provide some context about the OBA statement for
>>> those who are not active on birding social media. The OBA statement was
>>> prompted by recent allegations against prominent birders, including Jason
>>> Ward and Chris Collins. An Audubon article on Jason Ward can be found here,
>>> but be warned that it includes a description of an alleged rape:
>>> Though none of the birders involved in the recent allegations are based
>>> in Oregon, these kinds of behavior and the fear of them are relevant to
>>> women in our birding community.
>>> This clarification is my own and is not from the board.
>>> Thank you and good birding,
>>> Sarah

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