This is an update to my situation: I am angry. I am writing this for the sake of venting… at the very most to keep documenting what has been happening. Writing feels like all I can do…
I’ve been fighting for over a year with Kotaku, and then game journalism in general, to care about what they have done to survivors in this space (in terms of misrepresenting our stories).
I’m not the only one this was done to by Kotaku and the same journalist. It’s a loop that I’m tired of talking about because it keeps spinning and getting worst and worst as journalists throw more fuel on it by turning it into discourse, invalidating, downplaying, showing solidarity, then completely backtracking on that solidarity…
A year ago, after I came forward, other survivors of my rapist started contacting me, and we started talking with eachother. For a tiny moment there was a burst of hope that maybe something could get done about him. That I am not the only one, and that he had done similar to others. Another, who shared a similar experience with him (in terms of how he punished her professionally for turning him down), rallied a bunch of us together to talk to Kotaku. We were promised accountability by the journalist. We were promised a lot.
The story was so much bigger than what it ended up being downplayed as. I wrote about what I collected on it here in my Open Letter. This is the post I keep pointing to for comparing what Kotaku wrote, vs the information they actually had.
What I truly hate about this is how we were framed. The other source, who’s account was published, said that she was not flirting with him. Her condition for involvement was that Kotaku can only use her account if they also publish the text message transcript to show that she was not flirting, and make clear in the article that she was not flirting. D’Anastasio agreed to do that, but in the final piece the account was framed as flirting.
I was framed as having told them that he was a mentor when, during the interview, I told them that he was a friend. I see that the article has since been amended to quote from my blog, but the framing in the interview was important. That was the information I gave them.
The way this was handled, completely destroyed the energy that was happening. The chance we had at getting some accountability, even legally. D’Anastasio scared off one crucial source that stopped talking entirely after she was interviewed. His accomplishments were put on a pedestal, and we were put down. It’s just disgusting on so many levels.
I said as much in my email to their former Editor in Chief, which you can read here for all of that… I hate having to keep going over this again and again.
D’Anastasio also talked to my mom for a really long time, but used none of that. She also reached out to my sister. My sister asked if she could talk over email, but never heard back… So there was a lot. We went out of our way to give her everything. The focus boiled down to the rape and subjectively flirting.
That’s an overview of the initial situation because I guess I’m never clear enough… The silence on part of game journalists, when they usually have so much to say about literally everything else, has been asphyxiating. When they do manage to say something it is either invalidating, or them acting helpless. The latter I could sympathize with if they wouldn’t use that as an excuse to further invalidate the situation in a way where they can just block or brush this off.
I should remind you that the people that you all did this to, the people who’s stories were stolen, twisted, and abused, have to live with it. We cannot block it out. We cannot brush it off.
At one point during the over-a-year-long yelling into the social media void (I keep track of all my Tweets here, for what it’s worth ), begging journalists to care, another source that had been abused by D’Anastasio (and Kotaku) shared their account with me. One thing that struck me about it was how they didn’t even want to be involved. They asked that their public account not be shared. They locked their accounts. Deleted the post that D’Anastasio wanted to use… but they still got pulled into it. Their words twisted, and context changed for what they were being quoted for.
This is the brutal part. None of us are celebrities here. We are not “big”. We cannot afford social media managers, or the protection afforded to powerful people.
They (that source) lost some opportunities. It had an effect on their life.
The other source that was pushed into talking almost lost their life. Nobody wants to be so publicly associated with their rapist… but here we are.
Our names tied to the person that hurt us the most. Permanently marked on Google, as an account that comes up to our prospective employers when they look us up.
In my case, the details of my assault got published against my consent. Sure, you can twist words. Take out of context how I may have stuttered, struggled to express myself… Maybe I was not clear enough. Maybe I was too this, that, the other thing…
At the end of the day, how I was raped is out there forever. I can get tortured with it each time that it gets dredged up and someone really wants me to kill myself because, you see, all this is such a fucking sport. It’s fun to push these buttons. It’s fun to watch someone run around in circles, desperately trying to salvage their life, heal after countless blows… I would almost argue that the rape apologists share a lot in common with the video game journalists arguing in defense of all this.
It’s just such A Talking Point.
I am so fucking tired and angry.
At one point, D’Anastasio wrote a lengthy thread in which she called me a liar, in a “these allegations are false” way… I posted that here.
I’m still baffled by the mention of an investigation taking place. What investigation? What where the results? Can you be as transparent as I’m being by sharing screenshots, and proof?
I know Kotaku didn’t talk to the other sources. We talk with eachother. So if you didn’t talk to the people hurt by your reporting, what did you investigate? I know the other source was very upset and already told her what she thought of that reporting.
Either way… When that happened, a bunch of journalists at WIRED and Kotaku closed ranks around D’Anastasio, in her defense retweeted that thread where I was being called a liar. It’s cold too. My name wasn’t even mentioned. I’m just “the source”… the one that’s lying.
I don’t think any of them, ranging from Kotaku’s former Editor in Chief when he indirectly insinuated that I’m lying (not remembering right), or any of these journalists that defended her, really care to understand how much this helps my rapist. If I’m lying about how my story was treated, then I must be lying about the rape. Right? That’s the underlying message being constantly sold here. It’s the thing you read between the lines.
It’s fucking cold. I am so angry.
A couple larger journalists jumped to my defense. Other former Kotaku journalists seemed sympathetic.
What really blows my mind here is how that sympathy is a revolving door. People jump on it for the ride, it gets real, they jump off.
Support for this has come and gone.
When Totilo announced that he was leaving Kotaku, I was ghosted by him. He had reached out to me asking what could be done. I wrote the email. You can read that posted here… but OK what I think is amazing is the argument that erupted on social media surrounding that.
The same journalists who professed support for me when D’Anastasio attacked me, congratulated Totilo and talked about how great of a guy he was to work with. It seemed morbid.
People called these journalists out on it. I believe it was rightfully so. It escalated. I also believe that was rightfully so (bear with me, I will get into why, later in this rant).
Then people started saying that this is racist because journalists who are minorities are being attacked. As much as I usually am there for that kind of argument I think it is fair to point out that these journalists were the ones that spoke support. Them suddenly backtracking on that by praising the abusive Editor in Chief responsible seemed like a betrayal. Of course people will be upset.
Other people started saying that it’s “like gamergate” after that.
What I find unbelievable, at this point, is that after all that confrontation. After all that “obviously everyone knows but is looking away”, nothing got done.
Totilo moved on. Everyone responsible just moved on like it’s no big deal.
The people hurt still have to live with it.
After all that, one of the former Kotaku journalists who seemed sympathetic and was once supportive, wrote this thread (linked to and my response to it is here). I don’t really care to talk about this more than I need to, because I think all of it is incredibly tone def and inappropriate. It was cold.
I didn’t talk about how that thread got me harassed too. I don’t really understand why they would write that. They got confronted for it, then started posting screenshots of how they’re being called out and saying they’re getting harassed.
My understanding of harassment must be different than a game journalist’s is at this point.
I’m here getting fetishized by rape apologists, reduced to this inhuman amount of “just discourse” like people don’t understand that when they argue the ethics of deleting articles they are also arguing something associated with a rape, being encouraged to kill myself, and being told that I’m being manipulative for wanting to kill myself… I mean I could go on. I didn’t screenshot this stuff. I delete it. I try not to look. For some stupid reason I’m desperately trying to hold on.
It was on another level of heartless. I spent over a year arguing, asking for help, begging, then pleading that the article gets removed… and that’s reduced to A Talking Point because maybe deleting articles sets a bad precedent for journalists.
How about the people that have to live with the end result of your nuance?
I got blocked by them for arguing back. A lot of people got blocked for standing up for me, not only in this case, but throughought… and that’s the harsh reality.
After that formerly-supportive journalist’s thread, taking a shit on all this, sending harassment my way, and then block… I was at the end of my rope.
My mom talked me off the ledge (again). I saw no hope (again). Even if that article gets deleted, how is that even worth it? How is anything good, that could follow after this, worth it? After how I’m being framed as “the new gamergate” by these people, the reason that journalists are being harassed, and probably the enemy of free speech in video games… what future do I have? I came out about my assault because it was something that hovered over me for ten years. It was my last ditch attempt to be free, then they took it from me.
It just got taken away with this petty bickering about ethics, on and off the record, how much I’m lying or don’t remember things, and how much my fighting for my life is an inconvenience (or manipulative) to these people.
It really felt like that thread took a shit on something I’ve been fighting for, for over a year, just because… why? I’m making too much noise?
I think it is fair to point out too that most of the people standing up for me, in the mentions of journalists here, are minorities too. They are queer, people of color, Black… They are also, and this part if tremendously important: sexual assault survivors.
They’ve experience what I have experienced, and are seeing what I’m being put through by journalists. They see themselves in what I’m going through.
There’s a difference between that, and gamergate.
I understand also that some people shutting me down later said that they are sexual assault survivors too, but I think it’s important to say that this is never an excuse for shutting down the fight of another. The fact that anyone can choose when and what to share is more agency over their own story than was allowed me by journalists.
I say all this because I think it is cruel that something I’ve been fighting for, for so long, suddenly got reduced to petty Twitter drama.
It hurts because I was already talking about how much I want to die, then, the same week, that thread went up… being another talking point… just invalidating all this further. Just giving me another thing to argue about. What for exactly?
Oh yeah… I also get that if I say “this makes me want to die” I’m being manipulative. Thanks for sending more of that my way.
I went from asking for accountability, being told that accountability is either too vague or too radical, then asking for them to make right on what they broke, then being told that this too is too vague and too difficult, asking for an apology, but that can’t happen because (according to many journalists) no harm was really done and “Totilo already apologized”, then just asking for the article to get deleted… then that’s actually “too complicated” because “the precedent” and “legal reasons”… so here we are. Boiled down to helplessness on part of those most responsible for this harm.
If you can argue this away, then no harm was done, right?
Today, as it stands, the current viewpoint is that nobody can do anything, the video game journalists are too helpless, and they would rather dismiss this as people using it as an excuse to “harass” them… rather than really seeing that a lot of people, who share a similar experience, want to see this resolved because they care.
I guess it’s easier to say you’re being “harassed” when someone confronts you on how you’re shitting on this situation, than actually doing something.
I don’t believe journalists are helpless. There are things that could have been prevented, like reducing this to petty discourse or drama, like congratulating one of the abusers responsible… I think the reality is that this is an inconvenience to the status quo. I don’t think anyone wants to address this. It’s easier to invalidate it.
I’m already dead to them.
Maybe I was foolish. I used to look up to these people. Many of the people throwing me under the bus (and blocking me) are people I once advocated for. I believed them when they said they believe me. This was my biggest mistake.
Did I say I was angry? I am so angry. I am tired. I want to die so much. There are times where that’s all I can think about. This thing hovered over me for ten years, and they took that away from me. They took away any right to dignity from me by turning this into arguments, nuance, discourse… They forget that this is about a rape. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit by saying that. They know this is about that.
I’m being blocked by them now. Many people that confronted them, and stood up for me are blocked (again, many of these people are also survivors and minorities, don’t say “gamergate”. Don’t do that to them).
They have the platform, pull, follower-ship, and power, to control the narrative about this.
When that thread went up I got a ton of invalidating stuff sent my way. It’s why I even reacted. One person redacted that once they educated themselves on my situation. I said that already, but this is what scares me about all this. They can control the narrative and make me the hysterical one. The crazy survivor that’s hurting SO MUCH that they are mindlessly lashing out at all of game journalism, turning people against journalists… Lets be honest. This is where the conversation is going. I’m not in my right mind anymore, right? I’m SO manipulative.
I’d like to remind anyone that’s reading this that I’m still asking for the articles to get taken down. After all that discourse about the precedent set by deleting articles, and how impossible it is to do that, Kotaku redacted a Halo Infinite article because they fell for an April Fool’s joke. I guess that made their journalism look bad enough that they had to take that down.
If you think I am mindlessly hysterical, tell me please: How should all this look to me?
You say that there’s a process. That there are rules. That there are checks and balances and all this fancy journalistic rhetoric… but ok… what protects us from you?
To the survivors watching what I’m being put through, the ones you may have already blocked, how does this not speak to you being able to abuse us as much as our rapists have?
To me, it seems like journalists can do whatever they want with vulnerable people… twist words, steal words, steal truth, take our power away, distort us to their liking, and that’s just… by the book. You say it’s ethical, but there is nothing ethical about abusing people like this.
Your arguments are hollow at this point. I know some journalists here think they are helpless, and don’t have the institutional pull, and that they are getting harassed… I am helpless too. I have much more to lose than you, and have probably already lost that. What is left for me after all this? What future do I have here?
What would you call what is being done to me?
Would you be OK with it if the same was done to you?
Why are you excusing it like this?
I think it is so tremendously beyond unspeakably fucked up that survivors have to fight their rapist (in all the ways that manifests), fight with rape apologists and the harassment campaign that follows, and they must fight the press to get their story represented correctly (that didn’t happen. It was NOT factually accurate), AND THEN they have to fight the surrounding community of journalists and readers either siding with the rapist or the press that’s calling the survivor a liar. Just fucking stop it. You have no right to discourse this. You lost that as soon as you brushed this off as me being a hysterical liar.
I’m told that I’m manipulative for weaponizing my mental health and suicidal ideation against journalists wanting to exercise their right to discuss this. I’m told that I should shut up, go to therapy, and take my meds… I’m told nothing but excuses. I’m tired. I’m angry that I ever believed the people that said they support me. There is no right way to deal with this. Everything I do is “too loud”, “too direct”, “too indirect”, “too unspecific”, “too specific”… because you want me to disappear.
I don’t know where this is going. I wish there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I simply do not see it. That’s not suicidal ideation. It’s realistic. My tweets keep getting reported for self-harm. I keep getting blocked. I’m drowning.
Here is one thing I can concretely add. Yes, it will make you go “oh brother”…
I keep having a reoccurring dream where I’ve been injured and I’m asking people (anyone that will listen) to take me to the hospital. It’s clearly really bad because I’m bleeding everywhere, my guts are hanging out, and I need help. Nobody wants to take me to the hospital. They don’t understand why. They are too busy, or too inconvenienced by the injury. I keep begging people. I keep trying to get to the hospital. No car will work. Nothing works.
My situation is not improving. I keep getting blood and entrails all over the place. People around me are growing increasingly upset at the mess. They want me to get it together. I want them to take me to the hospital.
That’s it. Nothing beyond that point.
I feel like that’s pretty on the nose for what’s happening now.
We are strong because we have to be. We are not unbreakable. Don’t take for granted that any of us are still here.
I would like the article to get deleted. I want the thing that you are exercising power over to get removed, because those harmed have a right to that dignity.
This is not nuance. It’s simple.