[Linux-aus] [LACTTE] Victim Impact Statement

Kathy Reid kathy at kathyreid.id.au
Sun Nov 3 16:34:03 EST 2013

Dear David,

Pursuant to Clause (6) of the Linux Australia constitution, I wish to 
advise that I am in receipt of your resignation as a Member of Linux 
I note that you wish for your membership to cease immediately forthwith.

Pursuant to Clause (6)(2) of the Constitution I will amend the record of 
members appropriately.

Yours sincerely,

Kathy Reid
Linux Australia

On 03-November-2013 16:19, David Newall wrote:
> I cannot continue being associated with Linux Australia.  It's bad for
> my health, very, very bad.  Apparently telling people how their actions
> have impacted upon me can help mitigate the injury, so I'm resigning as
> a member and composing this message as my exit note. This is a narrative
> in which I tell you how the treatment handed out to me has made me
> feel.  That's an unusual style of posting for this list, but,
> apparently, will help me recover from the injuries inflicted by others
> on this list.
> I'm resigning because the treatment met out to me in retaliation to my
> Support for Women post has emotionally battered me.  The post was about
> a serious issue and I had hoped that talking about it might be a good
> thing.  I hope I was polite and cogent, and can see nothing offensive in
> what I wrote.  The concern that affirmative action programs can
> undermine the very people they are intended to benefit was not new nor
> my own idea.  I was inspired to write it after that meme resurfaced in
> quality media a number of times over the last few weeks.  My comment
> about Thatcher was drawn from a recent edition of Q&A.
> Some people were obviously incensed by what I wrote, but it seemed to be
> the idea of the discussion that incensed them.  Typical of their replies
> was to call me a troll, which was a hurtful and offensive thing to do.
> What a pity they put in effort to imply that I was being offensive, but
> to omit any explanation of how I offended.  They chose to take offense.
> Calling me a troll was the tactic of a bully.  It's a practice of
> intimidation; kill the messenger; stifle the message.  It hurt.  It made
> me feel anxious and unable to cope with life.
> I was hurt by the replies which ascribed nefarious motives to me.  I was
> hurt by having my words twisted and misrepresented, and by having
> different words thrust in my mouth.
> Donna Benjamin said, "You seem to assume women are inferior and are
> getting special treatment."  No, I don't think women are inferior and
> nothing I wrote should give that impression.  I did say that women are
> getting special treatment, which they are.  Linking part of my message
> with something that I did not say made me feel frustrated and
> alienated.  It made me feel that I was being demonised.
> Donna called me a troll and said I should be removed from this mailing
> list.  It's easy to call me a troll, but the accusation without any
> substantiation hurt very much.  It left me bewildered. What part of what
> I wrote was trolling?  Linux Australia is the preeminent association of
> my peers, and to agitate for my removal was to agitate for my
> professional isolation.  It made me fear for the future.
> Pomke Nohkan repeated Donna, accused me of obviously intending to
> troll.  Wrong.  I wasn't, and I don't see what gave the idea that I
> was.  Pomke called for me to be banned.  I felt like the whole world was
> turning against me; and for what?  Only for saying something which is a
> concern that has been widely raised, and which seems so self-evident.
> When you mandate that a women is chosen, you leave that women open to
> being undermined as not being the best candidate.  That must be
> particulaly upsetting for women who happen to be the best candidate.
> Daniel Bryan said, that there are other forums to air "Mens' Rights
> Activism."  My post had nothing to do with men's rights, and he made me
> feel that I being pilloried by people who hadn't even read what I wrote.
> Rob Kearey said, "I'm done with entitled-neckbeards. I'm out."  This
> made me feel that I did something wrong, that I drove him out, that I
> was not capable of successfully delivering a simple line of reasoning.
> Paul Gear wrote that "David is sitting back right now laughing that we
> were all silly enough to take the bait."  I felt deeply hurt by this and
> every other accusation of being a troll.  I tried hard to craft my
> message politely and cogently, and even though Paul expressed some
> sympathy with the views I expressed, being called a troll made me feel
> like a failure.
> Kim Hawtin said that, "David is well versed in trolling on our local
> lists," and that made me feel physically queasy.  Kim has previously
> accused me of trolling, which is a tactic designed to intimidate me and
> to alienate others against me, and I did feel intimidated.
> Andrew Pam said I "intentionally posted contentious opinions with the
> intent to cause offense."  Calling the opinions that I expressed
> contentious implies that the counter-opinion is widely accepted, but the
> thread, as well as common life experience, shows otherwise.  It wasn't
> the opinion that was contentious but the subject matter.  I had tried to
> broach the subject without offense, so being accused of intending to
> offend made me feel unwanted in this list.
> Russell Coker said it is "reasonably common for undiagnosed Autistic
> people to be labelled as trolls."  I  have struggled with depression for
> over a decade.  His veilled accusation of autism made me feel angry.  I
> have a hard time coping; just getting up each day is hard, let alone
> going out and doing things.  Being called autistic exacerbated that.
> Glen Turner twisted my words by taking them out of context.  He put it
> that I said, "women gain opportunities at the expense of more capable
> (or more needy) men."  I did say that, and the risk of that outcome is
> intrinsic to a policy that requires appointing a woman. But by omitting
> my subsequent sentence, "this undermines their credibility," Glen made
> me feel the victim of "negative spin."  Glen once played a hugely
> important role in connecting Australia to the internet, and I felt
> belittled by his use of my words to present a meaning that was not
> originally there.  His subsequent refusal to correct himself added to a
> feeling of paranoia.
> Hugh Blemings, on behalf of the council, announced that the subject was
> not to be dropped because it "doesn't meet a reasonableness test of
> being relevant to linux-aus aims or Free and Open Source Software."  I
> cannot, for the life of me, understand how that got said without
> challenge from us all.  How can the council say that a discussion on
> association policies is unreasonable?  The attempt at censorship, and
> the lack of outrage expressed over it, made me feel paranoid.  Joel Shaw
> agreed with the censorship!  I especially felt that the council was out
> to get me.
> When I refused to meekly accept that the council could prohibit
> discussions relating to association policy, Rusell Cocker repeated his
> Asperger claim in these terms:  "you're really doubling-down on the
> behavior that gives Aspies a bad reputation."  I doubt he really does
> think that policies may not be questioned.  Linking his implied slur
> with the council's ham-fisted attempt to wrongly stifle discussion was
> doubly hurtful, as well as bewildering.  Does he think that policies may
> not be questioned, or is it just this one?
> Apparently a complaint was made against me, and the council have chosen
> to follow process.  They do not have to do that.  They are entitled to
> find the complaint without merit, and had they done so I wouldn't have
> known it was made.  They chose otherwise.  They threatened me.  This
> made me feel confused: was my message really offended?  Is the topic
> taboo?  It made me feel anxious: that the council intends kicking me
> out, denying me association with my peers.  I was unable to work.  I had
> to go to bed, and wasn't able to eat, or to get up again, until three
> days later.
> My posting was not imflamatory, although a few people chose to react as
> if it was.  It was not unreasonable, although the council took two
> different approaches to stop ensuing discussion.  When I asked people on
> this list how they felt about the council's action, not a single person
> cared enough to reply, other than Craige McWhirter, and one other
> private message of abuse.  Neither of those two messages addressed the
> question of how they felt about the council's action against me.  Nobody
> spoke to that issue.  That made me feel more unwelcome than did all of
> the hate mail sent in response to my original post.
> I feel very hurt by the many people who chose to belittle me, or to
> attack me instead of what I said.  I considered suicide.  I feel
> unwelcome because of the lack of any sort of support over what I tell
> you is an abuse of process by the council, in fact two abuses, including
> the censorship as well as the complaints process.  I have become anxious
> and feel agitated, cannot work at all, indeed it has been a great
> struggle to compose this impact statement.  I am now able to get up, but
> avoid seeing people.  I cannot talk to clients and so have switched my
> phones off.  Even though I will have no professional peers with whom to
> engage, the impact has been so great that I resign membership.  I have
> no real choice in the matter; to do otherwise will prevent me from
> recoverring from the harm done to me.  I see no future where I contine
> being a member, which would not include deliberately personal attacks on
> me.  I cannot stand idly by while the council engages in underhanded
> attacks against me to protect bad policy, or even good policy, if is is
> good; but apparently not so good; apparently it needs censorship from
> discussion; apparently it needs bullying and intimidation for its defense.
> I am very sorry to lose contact with those others of you who have me
> politely, as people should be treated.  I am greatful to the majority,
> who engaged in the discussion that I started, rather than engaged in
> personal attack against me.  Some people supported what I said; some
> people opposed it.  Most were constructive and pollte. Some people
> chastised those who attacked me, instead of the message, and I was
> encouraged by that fair-mindedness.  But it was not enough.  Nobody
> objected to council censorship.  Nobody objected to egregious abuse of
> complaints process.  I cannot be part of a group that makes me a
> pariah.  I cannot be part of a group that drives me to actual tears,
> leaves me so low that I cannot get up, cannot work, cannot see friends
> or family.
> I cannot stand to imagine how this statement will be treated.  I expect
> it will be largely negative.  I shall unsubscribe as soon as I see it
> has been received.  I resign membership and revile you collectively as
> nasty bullies who lie and intimidate to achieve a purely political goal
> using what should be a technical group.  I hope some of you feel shame
> over how you treated me, but predict only joy at an outcome sought after
> and achieved.
> I thought writing this was supposed to be cathartic, supposed to help me
> move past how I have been treated, but I feel even worse. Maybe it takes
> time.  I thought that I would feel terrible resigning membership, but
> no, that is giving me a sense of peace.
> _______________________________________________
> committee mailing list
> committee at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/listinfo/committee

Kathy Reid
@KathyReid on Twitter/Identi.ca/IRC etc
XMPP: kathyreid at jabber.org.au
0418 130 636

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