This morning as I was about to get on a plane back from a conference I found out that Dana McCallum, aka Dana L. Contreras, a software engineer at Twitter as well as a feminist activist, was arrested in late January and charged with several felonies including rape, false imprisonment, and domestic violence. Some details of the charges are described on SFgate: SF Women’s Rights Advocate Accused of Raping Wife.
Many of us associated with geekfeminism.org and its sister organizations would like to make a statement in response.
This is horrifying and came as a shock to many of us in feminist communities, as McCallum has been a fellow feminist activist for some time. The bloggers at geekfeminism.org would like to express our empathy and support for the victim/survivor and her family.
Another aspect of this case is that the media coverage of the rape and assault charges are almost universally misogynist and transphobic both in their perpetuation of rape culture (for one, by providing an uncritical platform for McCallum’s lawyer) and in their misgendering and obsessive focus on McCallum’s gender identity and history. Some radical feminist activists (and their many obvious sockpuppets) have also been writing hateful “trans panic” or TERF articles and tweets. We strongly repudiate such responses.
Rape is a horrible violent crime no matter who the rapist is.
“Rape is a horrific crime. Sexual violence is never okay. But this isn’t a transgender story. We can’t speak to the specifics of this case but sexual assault knows no gender. That’s why the FBI recently revised their definition of rape. As this case gains more attention, we must avoid using it as a reason to misrepresent transgender people.”
For anyone who has experienced abuse or sexual assault, it can be helpful to turn to local or broader resources. Here is a list of trans-friendly and inclusive rape survivor organizations and resources. In San Francisco, San Francisco Women Against Rape is a good resource; WOMAN Inc, the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic, and GLIDE also provide many resources for people in the SF Bay Area who have experienced domestic violence. Please don’t go through this on your own; reach out to people around you — you’re not alone.
– Liz Henry
Annalee Flower Horne