Detailed logs have been released detailing abuse between two rationalists/rational-adjacents Autumn and Iris. The shortest summary of the logs is roughly the following:
There is an audio recording of Autumn admitting she raped Iris, her former partner. After Iris broke up with Autumn and specifically said that she was unsure if she wanted to continue their sexual relationship, Autumn had sex with Iris while the latter was incapacitated due to substance use. Autumn also harassed Iris repeatedly after Iris accused her of rape by ignoring Iris’s requests to be left alone. This information was brought to the attention of a Seattle rationality organization and a Seattle group house. These organizations were difficult to work with. I cannot personally confirm the account in the logs but the logs are comprehensive.
The abuse described in the logs seems quite serious. In particular, the logs document the following:
- Autumn raped Iris
- Autumn abused Iris
- Autumn would not stop trying to contact Iris
- Iris had to barricade her room
- Autumn was physically and verbally aggressive. In particular, she did not respect the above barricade
I will cite each claim at the end of this document. I think we should take these allegations seriously. The Brent Dill affair seems to show that the rationality community can be very slow to act in these situations. The evidence presented in the logs is not perfect but we should think about what kind of evidence we can reasonably expect to see in these situations.
At the least, I do think the logs should be spread so that people can come to their own opinions on what happened and how much risk they want to take on. The Seattle rationalist Facebook group, however, has not allowed the logs to be posted. They justified this decision as follows:
So, I do not feel qualified to speak for all mods, but AFAICT the two cruxes of yesterday’s decision were “confidence that the precautions we’re taking are sufficient protection against any threat Autumn poses to other community members” and “belief that a governance structure needs to stop people from taking the law into their own hands.” Both of those still seem true upon inspection. I regret not being able to give you the answer you want, but unless there’s something you think we haven’t taken into account, yesterday’s decision still seems correct to me.
I can understand this point of view. But even CFAR admits they made major mistakes in handling Brent. I think public oversight was an important part of the process that eventually resolved the Brent situation. The community reaction changed radically once accusations were made public.
I also agree with John’s argument that communities can only effectively update when information can flow.
I do make a particular point of talking about these things when they’re relevant even if it feels a little awkward to say bad things about a person who was an acquaintance. This is because I think bad things have a property analogous to being anti-inductive, but only so long as they are common knowledge. When something is common knowledge, people update- they may take cautionary measures or look for signs to believe it won’t happen again. A person gets less leeway afforded to them to repeat actions, and people who show similar signs they might do the action are more likely to be intervened with in advance. People might ask themselves “do I think I’m vulnerable to psychotic breaks”, before engaging in weird attempts to do things to their own brain. And a special property of it being common knowledge- people know others will be more willing to listen if they relate ways in which they were similarly treated badly. People know they can push back on things sooner to nip things in the bud.
The group updates on the evidence, and if it reoccurs will update further, and bad things stabilise at a low level. Is someone going to have a psychotic break and attack someone again? Probably not, and talking about it helps make sure.
This mechanism breaks utterly if you start trying to protect people’s reputations by not talking about bad things.
A number of important conversations happened on a discord channel called heterodyning on the server Doissetep. The original abuse between Autumn and Iris occurred in Michigan. Autumn later moved to Seattle. After Autumn moved to Seattle several community members contacted Seattle rationality organizations. In the discord logs, Iris is ‘Deleted User’ because her account was banned by discord for ‘doxxing’. Autumn is Jaded/Jadedkitten.
Tara, Kay, Lorelei, and Bonfire are Iris’s partners. Bonfire and Iris currently live together. Sophia (aka SoundLogic), Lexicat (aka Lexi), and Nathan are Iris’s close friends. SEARCH is a Seattle EA and rationality organization. ‘The Territory’ is the Seattle group house that holds many public events. The full logs have an expanded glossary.
Bonfire’s statement about Trying to work with the Seattle Community
It is now March 31st. We’ve recently received contact with SEARCH’s new board asking for more direct contact, and while we’ve been afforded that, we’ve also been told that they were not aware of the public statements made in this channel, nor were they aware of attempts to contact them after the initial failed conversation in February. We’ve also been told that people on the panel have not been engaged with Discord for their own mental health, but have attempted to maintain open lines of communication otherwise.
To summarize the timeline of events, Zylphia first contacted the Territory sometime in November about allegations against Autumn and was not taken seriously. Tara tried to contact again in December while she was visiting Iris before her move to the Bay Area, got in touch with someone claiming to represent the Territory, made herself available, and then was never followed up with. In early January, Zylphia got a message from Florence that SEARCH and the Territory had made their initial decision to allow Autumn back, pending completion of a consent class; this was apparently despite never having spoken to Tara or listening to the audio logs she sent. This is when someone leaked the screenshot containing that Facebook message and the whole process became public, as we felt it was no longer possible to work entirely privately with these organizations.
After that, Orborde got into contact with me, then quickly stopped talking after I expressed that it would be somewhat unreasonable to not have this process play out in public, since it had only started again because it was in public. We had then started talking to Aquatic Color through direct message on Discord, as they said, in February, but unlike what they said, we continued talking quite a bit after our scheduling issue in February that caused Iris to no longer want to speak directly to the these organizations. I stress “directly,” as she did not then say that she wants us to stop this process. Aquatic Color and I have been talking since then through Discord, a medium through which we sent our last DM in February and never got a response to. SEARCH presumably instead chose to post in Heterodyning in March, explaining that they in fact did attempt to reach out with Iris, omitting that that only happened after the fact, made a public statement saying that SEARCH and the Territory are different organizations, and blamed such structure for the miscommunication. We then posted a response to their public statement saying that we’d love to believe them, but the half-hearted attempts to get in touch with us despite our own multiple direct lines of communication were frustrating to the extreme.
This claim that they haven’t been able to talk with us since the scheduling issue in February? It doesn’t match with the multiple public statements Aquatic Color has made in March. The fact that people apparently cannot be on Discord for their own mental health ignores that Discord was the primary mode of communication since January, and ignores that communication only died after we made a request publicly, in the same channel Aquatic Color had been making their statements, and in the same channel that has primarily been considered “public space.” Their claim that they’ve been maintaining open channels of communication apparently don’t include the ones that they have actually been using up until now.
We don’t want to imply that people need to be here if it is bad for their mental health. However, the fact that the new panel is apparently not aware of SEARCH’s own public statements on Discord tells us that this failure to communicate is institutional. We don’t trust this new panel to act properly, as apparently there has been no continuity between the post-adhoc panel and this new organization.
We’d like to remind everyone why this process started. SEARCH did not find it necessary to ban Autumn from their spaces, despite overwhelming, undisputed evidence that zie raped Iris, inflicted tinnitus on her, harassed her for months, made her feel it was necessary to barricade her door, and instigated multiple confrontations with pepper spray. Zie’s a danger to the community and to those around hyr. We’ve sent off this copy of the logs to SEARCH and the Territory, and we don’t particularly plan on going much further than that. We also release these logs detailing exactly what happened to the public so you can judge whether our position and our frustration is justified.
At this point, we’re tired. This process has taken more out of us than has ever been necessary, and this process was completely avoidable if SEARCH took the allegations seriously from the beginning.
They have this log now. We’re done pushing them to care.
Citations for Abuse Claims (1) – (5)
1) Autumn admits to rape
In what way do you think it was a mistake?
That I had sex with you while you were on drugs, and that had been okay in the past, but it wasn’t okay then?
Sorry, what did you say?
That I had sex with you while you were on drugs, and that would have been okay in the past, but it wasn’t okay then.
Oh. Well, you didn’t, like, so what happened in your mind when I said, like, I have completely one hundred percent ended my relationship with you, and then you specifically asked about sex, and I said, like, in terms of, like, physical contact and like, sex and snuggling, that I wasn’t sure, like, what I was okay with yet. You just assumed that I would be okay with that?
I don’t remember.
You don’t remember. You don’t remember me revoking consent?
I know I did a bad thing.
And what was that bad thing?
I didn’t have consent from you before I had sex with you.
2) Autumn admits to abuse:
JadedKittenToday at 6:44 PM
I didn’t harass her. What I did to her wasn’t harassment. Talking to someone when they don’t want to be talked to is not harassment. I needed to say things to her, whether she wanted to hear them or not. Just because I am saying those things, it is not harassment, although I do acknowledge that it still isn’t nice of me to have done that.
I have abused her in the past, yes. I feel bad for doing those things, and will try to correct myself of those behaviors.
What do you mean by emotional blackmail?
Yes, I have done that, as a part of my abusing of her. We are just toxic for each other.
LexicatToday at 6:46 PM
When someone tells you they don’t want to talk to you and you continue to yell through a door and message them
JadedKittenToday at 6:47 PM
No, that isn’t. They have the choice to respond or not.
I only had to say things that maybe she didn’t want to hear, but I wasn’t harassing her.
As for the rape, there are some things about the situation which I don’t think you understand. I do acknowledge that what I did was wrong, and I will be more careful in the future, but this was not rape. I made a poor judgement, and violated her boundaries. Rape is a very loaded term, and implies things about the situation which did not happen.
3) Autumn would not stop trying to contact Iris:
Just, please leave me alone. I refuse to talk anymore.
You know what? You have the right, to, say things, but I have the right to still talk if I want to, okay? You don’t have the right to, just, make me go away, okay?
You don’t have the right to like, harass me through my door, Autumn.
I’m not harassing you. I’m saying what I, think, when I’m thinking, I’m not freaking harassing you. You constantly think that I’m attacking you, you constantly think I’m just trying to manipulate you more. Why do you do this? For fuck’s sake.
Yes, I did bad things, that I regret, and I’m trying to change about myself, but, it does very much seem like you do think I’m a monster, and that I’m just a manipulative predator. After you. After everyone.
Like, are you listening to yourself?
4) Iris had to barricade her room
5) Autumn was physically and verbally aggressive
[23:26] JadedKitten: She threatened to call the cops on me[23:26] Lorelei: yeah. i know[23:26] JadedKitten: For what she called a fight[23:26] JadedKitten: …[23:26] Lorelei: she told me
[23:21] JadedKitten: She is delusional about this
[23:22] JadedKitten: She said that her moving out of the way was me “fighting” her
[23:41] JadedKitten: And she tried pushing me back[23:41] JadedKitten: And she couldn’t stop me[23:41] JadedKitten: So I just kept going
Source (note the ‘collateral’ in this case is a hard drive that belonged to Iris.)
I do not particularly endorse ‘callout culture’. Nor can I personally endorse the authenticity of the logs provided by Bonfire. However, Bonfire et all have provided substantial amounts of evidence. I was not personally in contact with anyone involved in the events in Michigan. However, I have been somewhat involved in the ongoing situation in Seattle. Some of the communication between Bonfire and the Territory/Search has occurred in a discord channel I am following. Based on my experience, Bonfire’s version of events interacting with SEARCH and the Territory seems credible.