Tuesday, December 10, 2019

re: Zak

I know a lot of people have ghosted Zak and most people don't want to discuss him at this point. I'll be as brief as possible.

It was my understanding that the point of the #MeToo movement was for everyone to start taking women's stories of abuse and exploitation seriously.  I am 100% behind that position. But I also think that taking an accusation seriously means investigating it properly. (Which, should be noted, is harder than it should be to do in a patriarchal society.) And I still don't know what everyone is doing with the testimonials of the women who support Zak. Are their stories somehow irrelevant?

I'll admit that I was very busy with school stuff when the story broke and maybe didn't follow the discussion as closely as some people, but it sure looked like that some folks were almost jubilant to discover the allegations against Zak. As if it somehow vindicated their low opinions of him. Not only is that letting confirmation bias do the thinking for you, but it also does a disservice to the complexity of real human beings. Just because someone does X behavior that you don't like doesn't mean they are guilty of Y horrible behavior.

I've only seen a tiny sliver of Zak and Mandy's life through the screen of my computer when chatting online with Zak or playing a game with him and others. Obviously that's not a window into their entire daily lives, but, given Mandy's report, I still find it odd how often I saw Mandy casually living her life in the background of a D&D session. She didn't look like a woman living in fear of her domestic partner, a situation I have seen up close on a few occasions. In fact, the first time I saw Zak and Mandy's life through Google Hangouts, I was a little bit surprised. I guess I expected something a little bit more degenerate and hedonistic. Instead, I saw a couple of people just living their lives in a way that didn't look very different from my home life.

Maybe I'm wrong to still be Zak's friend. But I am.