If you want to know how Secular Woman works, EllenBeth Wachs can tell us:
I was in a secret group with a dozen or so women and a few men that was supposed to be a “support” group dedicated to helping each other deal with the so-called harassment the “raging misogynists” of the community were throwing at us constantly. It seemed to start out with good intentions. People would post things that seemed to be harmful to their mental state and others would give supporting comments. What it really turned out to be was more of a catty bitch fest gossiping about people that were on the out list.
It took me too long to go back and try to find the supporting evidence for some of the claims being made against what turned out to be some very good and decent people. I am now proud to call some of them my friends. After being called a misogynist, rape-apologist, chill-girl myself, it became patently clear to me that it was all too easy to mislabel and misrepresent anybody that had a difference of opinion.
My second mistake was thinking that these people actually cared for me. The longer I stayed in the group, the more it became obvious that most of them only cared for themselves. I don’t begrudge a bit of narcissism. I think we all need to have selfish, self-centered tendencies to survive. When the self takes over to the point that you ignore the needs of those around you, it’s a rather ugly picture.
When I was viciously attacked on the Pharyngula thread, I posted in the support group asking for help. With that knowledge, Stephanie Zvan, shut me down cold stating in no uncertain terms that I was not to bring that issue to that group. In other words, the group was only for support for when OTHERS i.e slymepitters attacked. I abided by her request but another member opened the thread up for discussion. Stephanie also came onto the Pharyngula thread and tried to shut me down there.
After the emotional damage was done and I flounced from the thread, I left all social media. Well, more accurately, I didn’t respond. I monitored it. I also went back and did research about movement history that I should have done at first. I learned how and why the schism actually happened. I learned why Justin Vacula became Justin Fucking Vacula -a vacuous shitbag troll. I learned that nothing DJ Grothe could have said would have satisfied Stephanie Zvan other than “I resign.” I learned a lot, lot more.
But the biggest thing I learned when I disappeared from the support group after having just been savaged was that no one cared enough to miss me for almost a week, a person they knew to be suicidal. Let me amend that. Some people did miss me but they weren’t the women in the support group. The first people to take notice of my absence were slymepitters. I also learned that, contrary to popular opinion, not all of the slymepitters are scum.
When Chris Hallquist did his blog post about my experience on Pharyngula and included a section commenting on Secular Woman’s decision not to sign the open letter, the members of the support group attacked him viciously commenting on his education and his lack of a degree. I came to the thread late in the day and was shocked at the meanness as I thought it was a rather even-tempered post. Stephanie had opened the thread with the statement that he was beating up on Secular Woman. When I simply started to question them, I got dog-piled by 10 of them at once and then told in condescending way by Stephanie that he was no friend of mine. It was clear that I was either go to bend to the will of the group or get the boot. I told Stephanie to knock it the fuck off and slam, the door shut to me.
I give this background because from that moment on, I was persona non grata with the members. They didn’t care about my mental state. They didn’t care about the fact that I had a REAL stalker harassing me. They didn’t care that I was embroiled in real life bullshit that I could lose my house and health over. The only thing they cared about was punishing me for not towing the party line. Stephanie made her hostility very clear in the Secular Woman member’s group. That hostility carried over to the other members.
It escalated after WIS2 when I had made it known that I supported Ron. My first post in the members only group prompted Melody Hensley to delete some incriminating posts she had made regarding Ron and then block me, a member of CFI and a donor. It went downhill from there. When I saw all of the posts berating Ron and the letter-writing campaign to get him fired, I spoke up and wanted to know what the end-game was. What were they hoping to accomplish? I was told that perhaps either Melody or Rebecca could take his place.
Last night in the group, Mary Ellen once again posted something but this was in reference to Russell Blackford and she got the quote wrong. She claimed that Russell was quoting David Silverman calling Justin “deeply demented” and a “lying fucktard.” Stephanie popped in to state that it was, “Blackford complaining about things that PZ had called him though actually, only one of them is something PZ seems to have said. A google search suggests the source of “lying fucktard” is the pit. Go Figure. Inaccurate information from the pit.”
I knew that there was a tweet out there about this so found it and I posted it with the comment that PZ was actually the source of the “Lying Fucktard” remark not realizing that there was going to be a HUGE issue made out of the difference between “fucktard” and “fuckhead” *sigh* I get put on notice by Elsa Roberts that I am about to get banned because I
correctedslandered Stephanie Zvan. NO dissent allowed!
Let me see: quote-mining, lying, bullying, silencing difference of opinion, and pretending to be your friends in order to get your support, but scorning you whenever you have doubts! That ought be either a religion or Atheism Plus (what’s the difference, again?).
I stand by my fellow SINners Justin Vacula and Russell Blackford, not just because they belong to this great blogging network, but because of their moral qualities.
By the way, Stephanie Zvan commented on EllenBeth post:
You came saying that those people at Pharyngula couldn’t stand to be disagreed with. I did shut you down on that statement, yes.
If that’s not an admission of guilt, I don’t kwow what is!