Bora Zivkovic, Ruined By A Baseless Victim Feminist Attack: Catherine, His Wife, Finally Speaks -- Explains The Devastating Effects On Their Family
I blogged yesterday about victim feminist power grabs: using a combo of identity politics and what I call eggshell feminism -- the new demand for women to be treated as eggshells, not equals -- in order to have unearned power over men and even to destroy them. (There are women, too, whom they go after, but the victims are mostly men.)
Here's a bit from my blog item:
Victim Feminism: A New Form Of Extortion
A trend seems to have arisen: Women (mostly) are using accusations against men (and sometimes women in power) as a way of having unearned power.
These accusations typically don't meet any sort of standard for the "crime" committed and they tend to not seem the slightest bit reasonable to anyone not hypnotized by identity politics. Yet, they often seem to have surprising traction.
Take the case of former SciAm blogs editor Bora Zivkovic -- accused of sexual harassment and pilloried for it on social media and elsewhere, until he was out of a job and pretty much ruined. The only problem? What he did never met any legal standard for sexual harassment -- or even any reasonable standards.
But women said he did it and their accusations stood. And then a herd of supposed skeptics -- self-proclaimed skeptics known as science writers -- simply nodded their heads on Twitter in unison and decided to schedule an Internet-wide witch-burning. (Never mind that nobody ever got Bora's side of the story.)
What kind of woman takes advantage of the power of the "J'accuse!"? Not a woman of power and position. Not a woman who is going places. A woman who has failed to make much of herself or her life. A woman who doesn't have the grades or the chops or who hasn't done the work.
She sees an opening, though, an opening in our careless passage of laws, for example, like Title IX, which was supposed to be about giving girls soccer time in high school but is now used, for example, to remove due process rights of men accused of sexual crimes on campus.
It's truly sick.
I've gotten to know Bora since this happened, because I was one of a (literal) handful of people standing up for him, for due process for him, and for somebody to ask for his side of the story. (I've been trying to get someone to do a reported piece on this -- it's not what I do -- and was looking to NY Times media reporter David Carr, a former colleague from the alt weeklies, and then Carr died.)
As I noted above, what Bora did in no way met any legal or reasonable standard for sexual harassment -- a crew of harpies who accused him just said it did; and all these supposed "skeptics" who make up the science-writing community just piled on.
Getting to know Bora -- a tiny, Asperger'sy guy with a big heart and a deep love of science, who just wanted to include everyone -- I can see that he has the antithesis of a predator personality. The more I get to know him, the more I see that this is a horrible injustice that must not be left to stand. I want others to understand this.
Well, his wife, Catherine, could remain silent about this no longer and, yesterday, left a long comment on my above blog item. Here it is:
The injustice of what was done to Bora is almost too painful to bear. Both I and Bora have been dangerously close to suicide (at different times) since this disaster happened. The torture of the irony here is that Bora is 100% innocent. Not only was NO action meeting the legal definition of sexual harassment committed, but there was also not a trace of inappropriate comments or behavior ever to escape Bora's person. Ever. EVER. And the people who know him, the thousands he has unselfishly and freely given his time to, know this. If we had the resources, we could PROVE his innocence. If we ever have the chance to sue any and every body involved in this crime, we will nail you for every last penny you have. One has to do only a surface investigation into the sordid life of Monica Byrne to see that her depravity reaches far and wide. We know three different men in the Triangle, who are not only strangers to the science community, but also strangers to each other, and all have said that Monica is a known pathological liar, none were surprised by her actions, and one even suggested that the reason she falsely accused Bora is that she failed to get him to sleep with her. If she can't bend a man to her will, she will set out to destroy him, just as she spent her time in NYC riding subways "hunting" for flashers, as she relates in the story she told at The Monti. Just as she has been crying like a little bitch because she didn't get her way with Wired. Read the reviews of her novel on Amazon and you will see that she is one sick bitch. Look at her 100+ 'sexy' dress poses' selfies and you will clearly see that she uses her sexuality to manipulate and control men. It is really rather disgusting.
And how about Kathleen Raven? Talk about a pussy. She is a major pussy. Bora actually considered her his best friend and trusted her implicitly. The (one sided) snippets from the emails she posted really succeeded in making Bora look like some kind of pervert. But the fact is that he was having a private conversation with her about his adolescent sexuality, and what it is like for young people growing up in a culture that affords them no real privacy for sexual exploration. Young people in Belgrade (at least at that time) didn't have their own apartments or live together before marriage. You basically either had your spouse move in with you and your parents, or you moved in with your in-laws, after marriage, of course. Ironically, in his culture sex is considered normal and natural and nobody faints if you say the word "erection." Kathleen Raven is a sneaky little bitch. More than once, she coyly asked Bora "are you attracted to me?" I have seen the Twitter DMs. I have read her emails and texts. Her hands are not clean. Although they came close to actually having an affair, it never got physical. And the reason is that Bora refused because they were both married. I do think they had what I would call an emotional affair. They were in constant contact, they both lit up like Christmas trees when they met at conferences, Bora once even credited Kathleen with "saving our marriage," because he had someone to talk to who understood.
Understood? Since Kathleen didn't hesitate to throw me under the bus, I will tell you the story of her ex/abusive boyfriend: apparently this fellow had some unsavory rape fantasies that he persuaded Kathleen to allow him to "act out" with her. Although she gave her consent, she said she was extremely traumatized by this sex play. That isn't surprising. It sounds horrible. But this is classic Kathleen Raven logic. Say yes, decide it was a bad idea, cry wolf. It is worth noting here that Kathleen was under a HUGE amount of pressure from Maryn McKenna and Emily Willingham (everybody's favorite!) and a few other women to make these public accusations about Bora. She totally dissed Bora's friendship and loyalty and folded to the party politics. In my book, that makes her a great, big PUSSY. And tell me, if you will, that if she was so intimated by Bora, why did he have an invitation to come and visit her in her home? The visit was planned for the week after Bora was "outed." How quickly things change! Finally, if you have watched the video of the Double X session (which, ironically, Bora organized) you can clearly see that after Kathleen publically accuses Bora, a little smile/smirk breaks out on her face. If you know anything about microexpressions, you know that this is a classic "tell" for lying. I know what I say is true because I was here. And I was there. I watched the whole thing unfold. I even warned Bora: bad idea, keep your distance, you can't trust her. But everybody who knows Bora knows that he is totally gullible, always gives the benefit of the doubt,and trusts everyone. At least he used to.
What people don't know is that a lawyer forced Bora to publish that "apology" and would not allow him to use his own words or defend himself. So his fate was sealed, his guilt certain. A handful of brave women came to his defense. Interestingly, this did not include the women that knew him best, like Bethany Brookshire (we danced at her wedding! She started her blog on his laptop! She KNOWS better) and Janet Stemmwedel (she had been aching to be on the Science Online board for a couple of years, Bora and Anton were actually planning to add her as the organization grew, but she took this opportunity to turn against Bora and try to stage a SciOn coup). Sorry, Janet, when two people have an idea, do the work (LOTS of fucking free work), and make a great baby, you can't just TAKE that baby and claim it is your own. All of you should be very, very ashamed for ruining one of the best conferences in the country.
Almost NO men stood up for Bora because they knew they would be committing career suicide. There was one notable exception: Anton. Anton was Bora's closest friend and partner. During the early weeks, we probably would have died without his loyal support. However, when he wrote an incredibly thoughtful, fair, and profound piece about the issue (in all of it's complexity) and published it around New Year's Day, he was attacked so visciously, with so much mocking and hatred, that even he questioned the innocence of Bora, and proceeded to put a fairly substantial amount of distance between himself and Bora. This was a real low point for us. We lost so many friends for whom we cared deeply. It was disturbing to see all those "journalists" sincerely believing that they knew the Truth without asking Bora ONE SINGLE QUESTION.
The funny (but not too funny) thing is that Bora is one of the rare true male feminists. He achieved gender equity with everything that had his name on it (his blog network, Science Online, his annual best of science blogs anthology....and he refused dozens of invitations to participate on panels all over the world because the panels did not include one single woman speaker.
Bora was born to teach. Partly out of love, and partly as community service, he has been teaching freshman biology at a local college for twenty years, including during the time he worked at Scientific American. This is a situation in which there is a REAL power differential. However, in all of those years, he has not had one single complaint (not even from the creationists in his classes, many of whom he converted to accept evolution based on the evidence he taught). Not one complaint. In fact, he consistently has the best evaluations on campus.
I know Bora better than any of you ever will. I know that he lacks the machismo and even the self-confidence to bully or harass any person in any way. Do you seriously feel that he is a threat? He weighs 125 lbs! About 50 lbs less than the average woman at a conference. ANYBODY could take him down, if necessary. But it would never be necessary because that is just not who Bora is.
Bora LOVED his job. He worked 18 hour days most of the time, and ALWAYS seven days a week (unless he was on his beloved Amtrak train.) Bora cared deeply for almost everyone. And he has always been unfailingly polite to the few people he can't stand. I admit that he is the goofy guy who stands there talking to you for ten minutes without realizing his elbow is in your potato salad. But what can I say? He's on the spectrum. So many people owe their careers or book deals to him. I can't count that high.
But where oh where is the loyalty to Bora? Not even Bora so much as the pursuit of, and loyalty to the truth? His boss at the college heard the rumors and read the slander, but she is wise in the ways of the world and knows that the person being described as a "serial sexual harasser" was not, is not, and will never be Bora. Is it possible that the rest of you are so utterly and completely gullible and stupid that you can not see that there is no way Bora would have behaved in such a crude manner? Yes. I actually do believe that most of you are THAT stupid.
All of you that have been complicit in this crime are guilty of ruining our life. You have succeeded in rendering Bora unemployable. You have humiliated our children, and pushed us both to the very edge of suicide and divorce. You have taken four people out of the middle class and sentenced us to a life of poverty. Because of you, there are children going to bed hungry (our daughter is down to 83 lbs and she's anemic. She is not anorexic. She is hungry. She is afraid to eat because she's afraid there will be nothing left. YOU DID THIS TO HER. TO US. And for what?
To all of you who were complicit in this lie, beware! Evil begets evil.
Somebody out there needs to find Moses (or Jesus) and recognize this grave injustice. Somebody needs to refuse to participate in this witch hunt and offer Bora a decent job with full benefits. Monica Byrne and Kathleen Raven need to grow up, admit their lies, and publicly apologize. Bora deserves the restoration of his life, his work, and his good name.
Posted by: Ccziv at July 2, 2015 11:31 AM
What's beyond crazy and what's sick is that we've gotten to the point where accusations of sexual harassment are simply believed out of hand. There has been a push from within feminism to never question an (alleged) victim.
Well, the truth is, false accusations are made, and part of a fair investigation is questioning whether there's validity to an accusation and not simply looking on the calendar to schedule the witch burning for the accused.
This needs to change, and it will only change when people lay themselves on the line to speak out for those who have been denied due process (legally, socially, and on social media). There were (literally) a handful of people, including me, who spoke up for Bora. I did get emails from academics who were very much on his side -- privately -- but said they could not afford to speak out publicly.
Well, it's the fact that few speak out that makes it dangerous for those who do. And despite the danger -- and I know it has hurt me, careerwise, to speak out -- sometimes you just have to do it because somebody has been unfairly victimized and speaking out is the right thing to do.