Dear Mr Austen,
On 26th August 2016, you made a post on your eponymous blog (that means you named it after yourself) called “I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This Again, But … . .” (sic). Although I could in no way prove it in a court of law, like the person Carly Simon sang about I very much believe this song is about me. Here’s why, and here is what I have to say to you about that – and about a variety of other related subjects.
Five days previously, on 21st August, I left two comments on your partner’s blog expressing my concern that they seemed to think everything was their fault and their responsibility to fix – but that little was said about your part in the changes they said needed to be made. The first comment was approved and responded to, but after I left the second, the whole thread was deleted. It seems more than coincidence that you then chose to write a post in which you talk about abuse accusations affecting people’s lives and relationships. I know correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but actually you’ve done something like this before, so I’m not prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt in this case.
Because I like to keep records of things, I took screen shots of the conversation between your partner and me (which, by the way, others in the Brighton trans community saw on the day in question). Here they are, so everyone can see for themselves that I hadn’t actually accused you of a goddamn thing at that point in time.
TL;DR version – I expressed concern about Kai. I noted that they regularly take the relationship entirely upon themself to improve, that they blame themself for things not being harmonious within it, and that they are hypersensitive to perceived criticism of you. I also said that this made me worried for their welfare. At no point did I accuse you of anything, and I fail to see why my expressing concern for someone you are supposed to love would be so offensive to you. Unless, of course, the relationship is based on you having power and control over Kai, and you see any attempt at kindness towards them by others as demeaning to your sense of ownership over them. I have my opinion about that, but ultimately it’s for Kai to decide whether they think the relationship is healthy or not.
There are three things I find interesting about your blog post (and by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘deeply dysfunctional’). The first is that you have twisted what I said to Kai into an attack on the BDSM community, when that aspect of your relationship wasn’t even being discussed. (By the way, I am a sub myself as well as being a domestic violence survivor, and I perfectly comprehend the difference between BDSM and abuse.) Last time I spoke up about you, it was the non-binary community that I was supposedly an enemy of in consequence. You have a pattern of trying to turn whole groups of people against individuals who annoy you, thus isolating them from their support systems. I have seen you do this repeatedly in my year and a half of acquaintance with you, not just to me but to other members of the trans community too.
Heads up – this is an abuser tactic. The Freedom Programme groups this type of behaviour under the ‘Jailer’ archetype. Maybe, if you don’t want to keep facing down people who look at your BDSM relationship and see abuse, you shouldn’t practice abuse in addition to BDSM. Just saying.
The second thing I find interesting (read: fucked-up) is that the way you worded your post made it sound like one of your partners (presumably Kai) had been accused of abusing you. So you’ve actually placed yourself in the victim role. That’s some master level manipulation of people’s perceptions of your relationship there, but unfortunately for you it’s also very transparent to anyone who has experience with this sort of thing and has chosen to educate themselves about the psychology behind it. What I’m saying is: I see you for what you are, and what you are is a bully and a liar. Nobody thinks either of your partners is abusing you, and for you to imply you’ve received that feedback, on the back of a perceived slight against you, is morally reprehensible.
The third thing I find interesting (horrifying) is that your talk of how abuse accusations affect people’s lives is scarily reminiscent of the judge in the recent Brock Turner case (Google it), and your stance on ‘false’ accusations doing survivors a ‘disservice’ reads like you lifted it straight from E L James’ Twitter account. (You know E L James – the one who wrote a series of books about an abusive BDSM relationship. The same one who blocks domestic violence survivors from her Twitter when they tell her how triggering the Christian/Ana relationship is.) Well, I’m here to tell you that false abuse accusations affect fuck all. It’s hard enough to get real allegations believed by the world at large. And it is the height of hypocrisy for you to worry about that anyway, when you’re so free and easy with spreading untruths about other people.
If by affecting your relationship(s), you mean your partner(s) might decide they think you mistreat them and then leave you, then yes, that is a possibility – and in that event you need to ask yourself some serious questions about why an accusation you perceive to be ‘false’ led to the breakdown of your relationship(s). I don’t hold out much hope of that level of deep self-reflection, but I am always happy to be proven wrong in such cases.
In pre-emptive answer to the complaint you made last time I talked to others about you – that I only did it because you were away at the time – I will say that if you wish to discuss anything I have said in person, one to one, you have only to contact me to arrange a day and time to come to Southampton and meet with me. Since you are able to travel to Scotland periodically I don’t imagine seventy miles will be that consequential, although I wouldn’t want to be using Southern Rail in the state it’s currently in. However, this is your honour at stake so I will understand if that is an offer you’d like to take up.