Trisha’s Take: Analysis of a rape allegation

A message arrived for me from someone who had been watching Frazier’s Facebook post and the reactions from their immediate social network. This person saw that of all the people who were chiming in, I was the only person who said that they weren’t surprised that the allegation was made. This person chose to contact me and tell me that not only had a police report been filed, they could corroborate some of the information in the police investigation.

This person (whom I’m choosing to call the Corroborator) said that they didn’t want to speak out publicly due to the backlash that was happening not just in Frazier’s Facebook post but also in those other posts from people in their social network. After learning of some of the details, I came to the conclusion that if the Corroborator did come forward, it would be both a good and a bad thing because although it would lend credence to Frazier’s allegation, it would only be done because the Corroborator’s reputation would be believed over Frazier’s. And sure enough, when I revealed in my own Facebook post that I’d received independent corroboration of Frazier’s allegation, I saw this comment from webcomic artist Dave Lister, re-created for clarity:

My personal instinct is generally to support my friend until the evidence comes out. Seeing your post (and counting you as reputable) is the first account I’ve seen for some one I know and trust who is vouching for credible evidence.

And that’s perhaps one of the things I’m most angry about in this entire situation. How is it that when a woman claims that she’s been raped, she can only be believed if someone else vouches for her? And how is it that someone who wasn’t even at the convention or even in the same state can say, “Yes, I believe her,” and those words are counted as being more trustworthy than Frazier’s?

Later that night, Frazier stated that the investigation is still open and ongoing. This means that even a Freedom of Information Act request isn’t going to provide the kind of “proof” of her allegations that the people who don’t believe her story want to see. And even though Frazier published the name of the detective in charge of her case and provided contact information, I’m not going to interfere with the investigation by attempting to seek a comment from either the detective or Tom Wayland.

What I’d like to see and to know is that if there’s anyone else out there who was sexually assaulted by Tom Wayland or by anyone in the anime fandom or any geek-adjacent community, I want them to know they will always have my full support. Whether it’s someone like Frazier who has spoken to the police or someone like the Corroborator who is currently choosing to remain anonymous, I want them to know that I am not going to sit idly by while well-meaning people like Todd Haberkorn who are understandably shocked and upset by these allegations involving their friends tromp all over them.

I want them to know that even if they choose not to “go public” or go to the police with their situation, there are organizations and people to whom they can go to get the help and relief they need. For those in the U.S., the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is a great place to start, and they even have information about international resources, too.

I also want more people in our fandom to become more self-aware when discussing these sorts of topics online. Fantasy author and rape crisis counselor Jim Hines has compiled a list of articles talking about his experiences as well as links to resources aimed at people in the U.S. to help them understand more about what the myths and misconceptions are regarding rape and its reporting.

And finally, I want this whisper network business to stop and for there to be open and honest discussion about what kinds of behaviors are completely inappropriate in our geek communities. As Hines said, while discussing a different rape accusation at a convention in Australia in 2010:

Can you imagine what would happen if, every time someone raped, assaulted, or harassed another person, the rest of us actually spoke out? If we as a community let them know—clearly and loudly–that this would not be tolerated? If we told those who had been assaulted that we would listen, and we would support them?

Like everyone else who has been affected by Frazier’s declaration, I’m waiting to see what—if anything—will happen next. And hoping that if this ever happens again, it’ll be the last time that a rape victim in our community becomes victimized again by speaking out.