I have decided to name some names of people involved in this post:
https://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/misogyny-and-the-left-we-need-to-start-practicing-what-we-preach/

As an update the harasser was a member of the Australian IWW. He was expelled by the local branch and eventually this was upheld by an appeals committee in Portland, which had had no prior contact with anyone involved.

This however has not stopped people from siding with the harasser and continuing to discredit us. Nor has the fact that he has a long history of harassing other people.

Both I and the other woman involved were forced to leave the organisation because of this victim blaming. It has been made quite clear to us, not only by those directly involved, but also by people on the ROC who either did nothing or who participated in trying to discredit me when I made some of what happened public.

I do want to make it clear that there are some people in the IWW, both here and in the US that have gone to great lengths to support us, and in several cases incurred a lot of harassment and bullying themselves because of this. I am very grateful to those people and to the committee in Portland which handled the appeal.

I have decided to name names now because I feel that the only way to fight rape culture is to bring it out into the open. This means not only abusers, but any groups or individuals that support them.

Also, on a personal level I need closure, and I feel like this is the only way to get it.

The harasser is Ben Debney (Melbourne/Bacchus Marsh). He runs the facebook page Anarchist Memes. He also is the person behind the group “Common Struggle” (which he may be the only member of). He has been expelled/banned from several groups and has a history of harassment and sexual harassment. He continues to harass a number of people to this day.

Unfortunately I can’t name the rapist for legal reasons. He also has a history of threats and violence towards others on the left. I am not sure if he is still an IWW member.

Here is a list of people in the Australian IWW involved in victim blaming:
-Liz turner (From Geelong/Melbourne. Also a member of Renegade Activists Action Force (RAAF). In an effort to help the harasser and rapist team up, actually rang up the rapist and told him that his victim owed him an apology for “crying wolf”)
-James Brennan (Melbourne/Geelong. Also a member of Renegade Activists Action Force (RAAF).)
-Moo Kau (If I find out this person’s real name I will post it here, what I know is he lives in Geelong and uses this pseudonym for activism, his first name may be John)
-Jake Scholes (Perth. Also the IWW national Communications Officer. He knows that Ben is a serial harasser but decided to side with him for personal reasons)
-Ushter Abassi (Sydney)
-Jacob Gretch (Melbourne Trades Hall janitor) [Updated]

There were others involved but I have left out there names either because they apologised or because I have doubts about how involved they were. But they all know who they are.

Below is a link to the complaints committee findings:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/em-bc/complaints-committee-findings-regarding-ben-debney/143287192492911

Naming names

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17 thoughts on “Naming names

  1. elisalorde says:

    Reblogged this on revolution, then roses and commented:
    First, I want to express how courageous this blog owner is for publishing her story, and to thank her for allowing me to republish it here in solidarity. Em, and her comrades including the survivor, have gone through hell. Em eloquently describes the incidents and broken process they had to follow to remain above board. They have had no closure except for what they have been able to build for themselves. The survivor of the sexual assault has had no ability to find closure, indeed the perpetrator has filed legal suit in the bourgeois courts against her. Their local IWW branch followed the process set forth and expelled the harasser, however he continued harassing everyone involved. He filed an appeal, where the committee upheld the branch decision. Yet, the harassment continued with little solidarity from their community and the IWW at large.

    Thank you to Em, and I stand in solidarity with her, and the survivor, and all the women who have been and still are silenced by this community.

    (I feel obliged to disclose that I am a member in bad standing in the IWW. I’ve fallen into bad standing for several reasons, not least of which is that it lacks a progressive organizational process toward sexual harassment and violence. This might be met with hostility from some segments of the org, however, I will respond here and continue to do so in person that the union is unsafe for women and trans* people. The process that exists attempts to include all forms of harassment within it – there is no policy toward sexual harassment or rape. There are individual branches instituting their own local policies, however sexual violence should not be left to the autonomy of local bodies. It is my hope that the reporting from their former branch be considered seriously by the headquarters and executive bodies. I am not alone in my hope to see a policy instituted at the coming Convention.)

  2. Max_Anarchies says:

    Hi,

    I just want to thank you for posting this blog. I shared the link on the “Anarchist Memes” page, on libcom and via twitter. As you say “the only way to fight rape culture is to bring it out into the open”. A page run by someone like this shouldn’t be given the legitimacy that it is and needs calling out.

    Again, Thank you!

    • kevinlimbo says:

      I just want to say that AM isn’t “run” by Ben. AM is managed by a collectivr of 22 people or so, including me.

      On a personal note, I have only been made aware of this issue. And I hope to learn more so maybe we can also be informed in what or who we’re dealing with especially if that person is a member of AM.

      In any case, please don’t make this a case against AM. If anything, any other info could perhaps help us help you all too. Thanks.

      And to the Op, you’re brave for telling your story. I admire your courage and I’m sorry to hear what had happened.

      • emateapot says:

        Hi Kevin. That is fair enough. When this saga started about a year ago AM was just Ben Debney and I assumed it was still mostly run by him. Obviously it has grown a lot since then and I don’t know the new people who are involved.

      • emateapot says:

        I have been told by someone on Libcom that this is what Anarchist Memes is telling people:

        We’re currently engaged in an accountability process around this. These things don’t happen overnight, especially on the internet and especially with all of us living all around the world. Also the individual in cause, did not do those things in his capacity as an AM admin, so the fact that AM is targeted specifically tells a lot about hidden purposes. Please be patient.
        http://libcom.org/forums/news/anarchist-memes-admin-named-connection-harassment-rape-apologism-03082013

        I want to make it clear that nobody has contacted me personally about this “accountability process”. I haven’t consented to it and neither have the other people who Ben has harassed. I also think it’s very unlikely that I will consent to it in future given I am already being accused of having “hidden purposes”.

        This really doesn’t show much good faith on the part of AM.

  3. emateapot says:

    Thanks Elisalorde and Max_Anarchies! I really appreciate your support.

    I should also mention for transparency that Ben left a comment on this post, basically offering to discuss these “issues” with me. I won’t be posting this or any other comments by him as I don’t want to engage with him personally on any level. I also feel that this is fair because he has used AM, mass email-outs and other platforms to give his side of the story many times without allowing us any chance to respond.

  4. Solidarity with you both!
    As a survivor myself I know what you’re going through, and I wish it upon no-one. I’m personally aware of the situation from both sides, and from where I’m standing, BD has absolutely no grounds for defence.
    I’m also aware of his history, via various sources, and believe that we need to address the ways in which we can stamp out this behaviour in the movement. Unfortunately these mentalities are not isolated to just him, but I hope that by bringing this to the front of peoples mind, others may ‘come out’ with their experiences as well.
    Here’s to the evolution of the revolutionary left!

  5. Hey Ema, just a quick note to say i’m very inspired by your bravery. The fact that you both have stuck to your guns, stuck together and continued to speak up is most heartening, and no amount of mudslinging can take away that accomplishment. I’ve often thought of ‘the left’ as operating like meatgrinder, that chews through it’s best people, particularly women. Those of us who have lived through it are highly equipped to contribute to bringing about a day when that’s no longer the case! Maximum respect to you x

  6. Jacob Vardy says:

    Why is Ushtar’s name on this list?

    • emateapot says:

      Because he helped Ben spread his lies about me and CH. Helped Ben remove me from IWW lists etc while I was still a member. He also signed the complaint against TB, which is his right… Except that none of them ever submitted any statements or evidence for it, or showed up for mediation, which makes it just harassment. Also from what I’ve gathered most of the people who signed that complaint discussed the rape together and decided she lied about it (though I can’t be sure he specifically was part of these discussions).

      • emateapot says:

        Also, Anarchist Memes was discussing having an accountability process. Ben was taken off as an admin. But it seems Ushter re-added him, all other mods have been removed and the page taken off line. So I guess that’s the end of any accountability process thanks to Ushter.

  7. emateapot says:

    So the comment below was left on Libcom by one of the AM mods. If you are on FB please like the new AM page. I will be writing a longer update on what has happened at some point:

    GusselSprouts
    Aug 7 2013 10:04

    Ites was re-added (by someone who’s real name has been given to me, and I believe you Aussie folk know) that I did not know had a relationship or sympathy with Ben. Ben was able to remove me as a manager, and then unpublish the page entirely. So he decided sinking the largest Anarchist community on the internet was fair, instead of taking any responsibility.

    So if there was ever doubt in my trying to understand this whole fiasco (which I never had, to be honest, but I also thought this could be resolved), I certainly have no doubt that Ites is a class A shitlord.

    New page, from scratch: https://www.facebook.com/anarchistmemes1

    http://libcom.org/forums/news/anarchist-memes-admin-named-connection-harassment-rape-apologism-03082013?page=1#comment-520879

  8. Ma says:

    Sad that any of you that supported this rubbish didn’t investigate it first – you have just further supported the behaviour of a small group of obsessed psychopaths…

    It is interesting that after 2 years they can’t let go of stuff that they imagined in the first place. They are still trying to target people that wouldn’t give them what they needed then – power. They name people that weren’t even at events. I doubt the people listed are interested in being part of the game – you have to understand that trying to bring more people into the game (which is what this post is about) will just cause more destruction. Those that offer sympathy are just playing into the psychopathy – and they won’t realise it until they too have been hurt… time to find something healthier to obsess about. This small group has done more to prevent cohesive activism in Melbourne than Doyle and the police. Note that they are now posting as if they are in charge of Anonymous – it’s bizarre behaviour.

    “Since, fundamentally, psychopaths engage with other human beings only because they need idolaters and subjects to use and dominate, an insatiable and obstinate need for control is the main and most fundamental reason why psychopaths can’t let go of their victims. Letting go would mean that they lose ownership over former targets. They no longer can get them to do their bidding. They can no longer lie to and manipulate them. They can no longer use them for supply, be it an ego boost, sex, money, or power. Those targets are out of their reach, out of their hands.
    This also means that those former targets can move on and have the opportunity to lead much healthier and better lives without the psychopaths. This is the one thing that a psychopath can’t tolerate: the idea that you are far better off without him”

    • emateapot says:

      Ma, you are obviously very confused as to who the people you are talking about are. I haven’t hidden my name so it’s easy enough to verify. I have nothing to do with Anonymous. I haven’t had anything to do with Occupy Melbourne for a couple of years now… But I resent the comments about Doyle and the police because I was beaten up pretty badly during the eviction. I think you’ll find that Melbourne activism has continued along as “cohesive” as it ever has been, without this whole thing even raising so much as a blip.

      Also I have posted plenty of evidence for the harassment, which has *continued* right up until recent weeks. If you can’t see it it’s because you don’t want to.

  9. Stuart Highway says:

    Hi Ema, this is Stuart Highway. I want to express my solidarity with and support of you and other survivors of abuse by Ben Debney and others. Especially as I know what you went through with the Lambe before. I’ve heard reports of BD’s anti-social behaviour over recent years. I just copped a serve from BD because I asked him to pay me back $100 that I sent him in 2000. He emailed Jura Books asking whether we wanted to take copies of his new book on consignment.

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