Clarifying OGC Experiences: The Abuse and Manipulation of Raven Diogenes
We must begin by clarifying the reasons for the expulsion of Raven Diogenes. Although we have been public with the fact that Raven was expelled, we failed to correctly communicate why, leaving the situation open to spin and interpretation. By way of self-criticism, it must be stated that the RAIM-OGC never published a full length document detailing the events due to a general lack of organization during the process which ended in their ejection from the organization. At that point no clear process for disciplinary measures had been outlined, and the proceedings were expedited due to the demand of affected people within RAIM. Initially, the reason for considering the expulsion was a case of sexual harassment toward another comrade through an unsolicited request/offer of explicit pictures. This was something we took very seriously, along with later evidence of verbally abusive behavior toward ex-partners revealed through the investigation process, and ended with their expulsion by way of consensus.
The expulsion was done immediately and without opportunity for response (in the form of statement or self-criticism) from Raven. This was in retrospect a mistake on our part, due to the lack of experience and standard procedure on the part of the OGC, which was struggling to grapple with the situation that was unfolding. An attempt was made to retroactively apply some kind of procedure and obtain a response from Raven, but this was done sloppily and resulted in no reflection on their part so it was abandoned. Rather than engaging in critical reflection on the situation, they used the lack of a formal proceedure as an opportunity to use various lines of communication with individual RAIM members to harass them and issue blame. Raven also held us responsible for a lack of concern for their mental health, claiming that our actions in expelling them were disableist in nature, and that we acted on what they claimed were misinterpretations of their actions. Our decision was not reversed, and Raven began to issue threats of suicide, making many feel as though lack of consideration made them personally responsible for any self harm that occurred. They used these feelings to get under the skin of several members, and to eventually inflict even greater harm against them long after expulsion. This was even the case in Raven’s dealings with the comrade in whose favor the OGC ruled, who was consistently contacted despite their requests to be left alone, and who became unsure of their position on the matter as a result of emotional manipulation, only adding to the confusion.
The greatest failure on the part of the OGC in this stretch was our inability to adequately handle the situation and ensure a procedure both before and after their expulsion. This was partially due to the lack of discipline in appointing a single persyn as the official communication channel between Raven and the OGC, rather than having a number of informal lines of communication with RAIM members. The many lines of communication available between them and RAIM members resulted in individuals being manipulated by accusations and threats, which made many feel obligated to assist them getting medical attention, and made them even more vulnerable to future abuse. One comrade was targeted in particular, being deliberately lead to believe that they were witnessing a suicide attempt during a video conversation. After additional information was provided by another comrade, the performance was found to have been done purely with the intention of provoking an emotional response. This was done with full knowledge of its effects on the targeted comrade, and similar acts of emotional abuse became a pattern in Raven’s behavior after the expulsion.
The RAIM-OGC must engage in self-criticism not only for the lack of procedure which lead to the proliferation of problems between ourselves and Raven, and now the current problems they are responsible for, but as well for the lack of coherent communication of events with others, who were only afforded individual accounts of events. We feel that the rectification of such problems has been two-fold. Firstly, in our need to set the record straight now, making abundantly clear the nature of their expulsion and their continued abuse of RAIM members afterward, and secondly in the creation of a standard procedure for future dealings with abusive/patriarchal behavior within the organization. Our mistakes have already had negative effects on our organization and its members–not to mention those others Raven Diogenes has targeted with abuse since–and our hope with this is to prevent the further proliferation of their manipulative and abusive tendencies toward others.
More information on the OGC is available at: www.revolutionaryaim.org/members/ogc/
And, as a result of our experiences here, the procedure we have developed for disciplinary inquiries and action is available at: www.revolutionaryaim.org/members/disciplinary-process/
We hope that others may learn from this as we have, and not repeat our mistakes.
– RAIM Oppressed Genders Commission (RAIM-OGC) & RAIM Organizing Committee (RAIM-OC)