I recently posted this comment about being raped by Robert Lecnik (quoted below) on Ziz’s blog, which caused the author of this blog to respond with a similar experience. So, I thought I’d write up my history with Robert, half as an abuse report, and half so people can understand how I work and how I used to work. Sort of in a, “it’s okay to be omnidirectionally traumatized and bad at responding to people who hurt you, it’s possible to grow from this, and it isn’t shameful to be like this” sort of way. By the way, reach out if you want to share similar experiences (though, I expect this won’t get him banned from anything, if you’re paying attention then you know EA and LW don’t ban rapists until there are ~5 accusations).
Also, the reason I hated her [Anna Salamon] early on was, there was a time that she, I, Robert Lecnik (my rapist), and Peter (his husband) were in a room for an hour long private therapy thing since Peter was a large CFAR donor. Robert admitted to “sexually assaulting Fluttershy [Jay, the author of this blog] and being ‘bad at consent’ with a whole bunch of other people”, and Anna didn’t see any issue with letting him continue to “run the Berkeley meetups” (an honorary thing, he used it to often-ineffectively hit on people). And I had some betrayal trauma from Anna around this, as well as a later feeling of “wow I got pwned by a guy that low in [willpower], I’m lame”, too. Fortunately it’s all emotionally processed now.me
Can support: in off the top of my head I think it was Spring 2017, Robert Lecnik confessed to sexually assaulting Jay. “yes, it was technically sexual assault…” in that voice of his, I have to psychoanalyze some time….Ziz
Note that while Robert Lecnik only admitted to sexually assaulting me, he actually raped me, and I prefer for people to use the word rape if they’re talking about this.
In Feb 2016, I moved to the Bay area to do one of those “free if you don’t get a job after” programming bootcamps (I didn’t get a job, because hella depression). My idea being to make money for EA, so that I could have a larger positive impact on the world (though, EA is corrupt, so I 100% disendorse giving them money). Anyways, I went to a LessWrong meetup (I didn’t yet realize lesswrong, e.g. LW, was really a transphobic borderline-rape-cult), and I met Robert Lecnik, the nominal host of the meetup.
I was going as male at the time, and saw myself as a gay guy (spoilers: I’m actually a nonbinary lesbian, though maybe this would drift again if I wasn’t on feminizing HRT?). Ziz’s characterization of me from back then is quite accurate:
Usually they [Jay] would sit silently in the male androphile cuddle pile. But she was apparently a trans woman. I guess I should have seen that coming given the identification with Fluttershy. She talked in tones like she was cooing to a baby. I ignored it, thinking something like, “trans people are gonna ineffectively, embarrassingly, cope with nature having fucked up our voices, I don’t want to give her shit about it.”. (Retrospectively, I guess she was mimicking the character. I think I realized that before and then forgot.)
Anyways, at the second meetup I went to, Robert offered for me to join his cuddle pile, and I accepted. I was a part of it for most meetups over the next six months or so. At maybe my fourth meetup, he asked if I wanted to hang out with him and his husband Peter sometime. I said, sure. We got dinner later that week, and afterwards, Robert asked if I wanted to hang out at their place. I was like, okay.
We got there, and I looked at their bookshelf, commenting on the books which they had (they were mostly Peter’s). Robert seemed uninterested in talking about the books, sort of standing there like, “okay, what’s next?” I continued observing their books for a while after it started being awkward to do so. I asked if they had any board games. They said no. I was like, why not, what can we do while we hang out?
Robert was like, “we could cuddle and maybe have sex”, or something like that. I expressed my doubts, but gave in and consented after about four sentences’ worth of talking it out. I think we took our shirts off, then Peter hugged Robert or something, and then went into another room.
I forget if Robert and I actually had sex that night or just cuddled intimately. Anyways, I felt quite pressured, but by the letter of the law I did consent.
I later suggested to him that he really needed to have some good board games (or like, something to fulfill “activity you can do with people hanging at your house”) around, and as of a year after I told him that (e.g. last I checked), he had never gotten any. Which fits a pattern of him pressuring people into sex, and being unwilling to do things that take away from his ability to do that.
Robert liked to go to BDSM dungeons, mainly to do scenes with people, but also to have sex. He went to a place in downtown SF called the Citadel a lot, and I went a couple times with him. I think he got quite a lot more sex and cuddles from doing that than he ever did from hanging around lesswrong/rationalist/EA spaces, and if I had to guess, I’d say the majority of his victims came from kink spaces rather than rationalist spaces.
As a side note about Robert, he was like, really depressed all the time, had very little willpower, often procrastinated on things, and pretty much always shut down when I tried to help him with mental health stuff. I think he was carrying a lot of trauma from having shitty parents. And some more personal stuff I won’t mention without him okaying it. For about a year, I had lots of shame about him having raped me despite this, in a “wow someone this lame raped me and got away with it”. Then I processed it.
There was one time we were at the Citadel together, but had split off to do scenes with different people. I had been getting gently whipped by a cat-enby in a nonsexual way, and after finishing that scene, noticed Robert looking really fucking helpless, and being underneath some obese guy. I forget if they were actually having sex or just being particularly intimate. I freaked out for like, 20-30 real-time seconds after noticing this, and then went over to them and told Robert I needed to “talk to him”. Which was a good enough social excuse to stop the scene immediately, and he thanked me as soon as he got away from the guy. I feel like this is kinda telling about Robert’s personality; he has a lot of habits which seem helpful towards coercing people into cuddling and sex, but he’s also emotionally fucked enough that other people can easily manipulate him, and you can absolutely tell he’s carrying a lot of trauma just by looking at him.
I ended up dating Robert for like, four months total before he raped me.
How the rape happened was, we were at my place, and naked, Robert on top of me, and he was like “can I suck your dick”, and I was like, “no”, and he was like, “why?”, and I was like, “idk, but no”, and he was like, “so you don’t have a reason?”, and I froze for five seconds and couldn’t think of what to say, and then he did. And like, it was probably 30-40 seconds by the clock, but it was incredibly fucking traumatic, and felt much longer. It ended with me being like, “I said no, sorry“, and him being like, “oh”. I realized later that (day, or week?) that my reason for not wanting it was, “I am trans and have the wrong genitals, they do not match my true gender, so having sex with them, esp. receiving blowjobs, is a big NO”.
Anyways, we ended up dating for maybe six weeks after he raped me. I think it just took that long for me to process things enough to realize I needed to stop dating him. I anticipate some people using this point to attack me, but for fucks sakes, sometimes processing shit enough to learn that you need to make a change, takes that long or even much longer. And this is Okay.
After we broke up, we were on speaking terms. He followed me to a queer and trans BDSM space, despite not identifying as queer and really not fitting in there on account of being culturally a white guy who wasn’t visibly queer. I remember him at one point saying, “I’m bi, but really I want to cuddle and have sex with women right now”. I asked Robert to ban Zack Davis from the Berkeley lesswrong meetup, since Zack was a transphobe, and Robert refused and told me he thought less of me for asking him to.
About nine months later, I talked with a volunteer for RAINN, and she offered to help me file a police report. I was like, “this sounds emotionally difficult, but like a thing I want to do”. The cops were like, “we believe you, but we can’t do shit with just your word and no witnesses”. Could have gone a lot worse tbh.
About three months after that, I talked with Peter, and we both agreed that Robert might be less emotionally fucked if he could get a job, since Robert had serious self esteem issues stemming from unemployment. We agreed to talk Robert into it. Robert put up a hard wall of “even talking about this brings me intense emotional pain” as a way to change the subject. I thought I could get through to him by being firm. I sent him a vaguely worded aggressive email which didn’t actually make any concrete threats, but was apparently effective at making him feel bad, but not effective at causing him to get a job. Which was my idea, to use aggression to solve his emotional pain from not having a job. I learned that that sort of tactic was often ineffective by trying it on him.
A bit after I’d broken up with Robert, Gwen Danielson told me she needed me to do her a favor, to buy a boat which she could use to tow her own boats around. I obliged, and not having a place to store my new 16′ boat (since I was myself living on Gwen’s boat at the time), I just parked it in front of Robert’s house, since I figured I had dirt on Robert and could get away with it. (It wasn’t inconvenient to Robert or Peter for my boat to be there, but it felt presumptuous/uppity for me to do so without asking, at the time). Gwen clearly had the best plan of anyone I’d known to save the world, and being antisocial by parking my boat in front of Robert’s house without asking was really just a way to help her save the world. Or so I thought at the time. Ugh.
That’s mostly all. I see Peter, e.g. Robert’s husband, as not having done anything wrong here, Anna Salamon as being an enabler for allowing him to retain a position of mostly-titular power despite knowing he’d “been bad at consent with a lot of people”, and Robert as having a lot of emotional shit but also systematically sexually assaulting people and showing no signs of changing.
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