Accountability in Polyamory

A clarification regarding Kevin Patterson

I just want to clear up one bit of confusion from one of the essayson this site. I will be exploring this situation in much more detail in a later essay, but I feel like this particular point needed an additional note before that, to clarify a point that I may have been been too vague about before.

In an earlier essay that I wrote, I said:

We thought if we could make Eve’s ex out to be the abuser, and get her survivor story off the web, we could make sure she didn’t have an audience for her survivor story.

I even reached out to Joreth, who knows the owner of the blog where the survivor statement appeared, to ask her to help have the survivor statement removed. Joreth had her own conflict with Eve’s ex, but when I asked her to help silence Eve’s ex, she refused. She knew this was wrong, even if I couldn’t admit it myself.

At the end of the meeting, Pepper volunteered to use his personal friendship with the owner of the blog where the survivor story appeared to have it taken down.

Afterward, we all went to an amusement park together.

The next day, Pepper told us the survivor story had been removed. Three weeks almost to the day after that, Eve signed a book publishing contract with the blog’s owner. (As an aside, I don’t blame the blog’s owner. His book is good and deserved to be published. I wasn’t involved in, and didn’t know anything about, the state of the negotiations while this was happening, but if the decision had been mine, I would have chosen to sign him in an instant. He was in an impossible situation. If you’re in negotiations to sign your first publishing contract and the person who will make the final decision about your future tells you to remove an abuse report about her, you do it. She held all the power, including the power to shape his future.)  

First thing, I want to state, as I did in the original passage, unequivocally that Kevin Patterson absolutely deserves to be published.  He is a fine writer, and had I been made aware that he was being courted for a publishing contract, I would have signed him in a heartbeat.

Next, I want to state in no uncertain terms that I do not believe that anyone anywhere said anything like "hey Kevin, if you take this story down, we'll publish your book."  If abusers were that transparent, they'd never get very far in their abuse.

What I am saying is that, at the time, Kevin, like most people, like me, had motivation to believe Eve and to want to please her, and no reason to disbelieve her. There would have been no way to confirm or deny an anonymous story. So when a representative of Eve came to Kevin and asked to remove the offending blog piece, he understandably agreed. Power dynamics work in very subtle ways, and I don't want to suggest that he was consciously folding to pressure. I firmly believe that had Kevin been asked to do something he felt to be unethical, he would have refused. But the situation was just confused enough, just grey enough, that it was the 'obvious' and 'reasonable' step to take. It wasn't his fault that he couldn't see all the machinations that happened in the background before he was asked to do this by someone he trusted.

I also believe that even without this publishing contract, at this time, with Thorntree, he would absolutely have been successful in the long run. He is talented enough to make his mark whether or not it would have been on this exact path.

In another essay, I will be exploring this situation and how everything led up to the deplatforming of an abuse victim's attempt to out her abuser, and especially my role in that.  But right now, I want to clarify that Kevin Patterson was not acting in bad faith, that he deserves all the accolades he has received, and that I'm sorry for participating in any manipulation he was on the receiving end of regarding this situation.