Yes, I said Sex Crime

Distributing photos of a sensitive nature without permission is, in many cases, considered a computer related sex crime. It is sexual harassment, and cases similar to the Dominguez incident have been tried and people have been charged, in criminal court as well as sued in civil.

I’ve received a disgusting amount of comments claiming that what Dominguez did isn’t a “big deal”. Comments blaming victims, and comments dismissing his actions as just silly, ill-advised immaturity. These comments will not be published. Victims of sexual harassment and other sex crimes don’t need to see the abhorrent shitty behavior from victim blamers from yet another source. So if you are wondering why your comments weren’t approved, there you have it.

I want to keep this a safe space. You can disagree with me and my opinions all you want, and I will publish those comments. But the moment you start saying things that can seriously hurt and trigger others your comments will be left unpublished. That’s just how it is.

Advertisements

Activist Admits to Sex Crimes

Yesterday, the well-known Direct Action Everywhere organizer, Hugo Dominguez, admitted to multiple sex crimes, and the victims are all fellow activists. He manipulated, and lied to these individuals to order to steal or otherwise obtain photos that are sensitive in nature. He then shared them with others, without permission of the people in the photos.

Direct Action Everywhere has handled this horrifying breach of trust rather gracefully, and while most of the community is outraged there are victim blamers and misogynists abound. It is times like these that we within the animal rights community MUST admit that sexism runs rampant amongst activists. Ignoring the problem is not an option.

It is of vital importance that women feel safe in DxE’s community. In the past few days, we learned that there was a serious breach of trust on the part of one of our organizers, Hugo Dominguez. We take this breach very seriously and are taking all steps, guided by the women harmed, to ensure that Hugo is accountable for the harms he has caused.

On a forward-going basis, we are designating a few female members of our conflict resolution committee (Priya Sawhney and Maryam LK) to be available specifically where there is a concern over sexual harassment or misconduct. We absolutely encourage all activists in our network to reach out to these facilitators if any issues arise, and we will hold confidential any information provided to us in this regard. We will also provide resources for women who want to reach out to an outside group regarding this issue. 

In the meantime, Hugo will be stepping back from his role as an organizer for the indefinite future and will seek out resources and counseling on consent culture and sexual harassment.

Direct Action Everywhere FB post

He has issued a public “apology” on Facebook (no doubt only because he was caught, and told to do so by DxE).

Hi everyone. If we’re friends, it’s very possible you’ve heard allegations about my betrayal of women and others in the animal rights movement these past few days. It’s with much regret that I admit to those allegations. I’ve hurt, manipulated and exposed very explicit images and confidential information about female animal rights activists. I’ve broken many of the principles and values which I espouse. While claiming to stand against the exploitation of human beings as well as animals, I have betrayed the trust of many people within the community and disgracefully took advantage of my position in this movement and hurt many people. I am a hypocrite in many regards and can’t begin to image the suffering I’ve caused many women. 

I want to use this post as a platform for people to vent their feelings towards me. Any comments showing sympathy or comfort will be deleted. If you don’t feel comfortable posting your sentiments on this post, you’re free to message Priya Sawhney and she’ll pass on the message to me. I’ll be leaving this post up for 48 hours and will be deactivating my account and stepping back from activism to seek help and take the proper steps so I never hurt and exploit women again.

I’m terribly sorry to all those I’ve disappointed, to the movement, but most importantly the women I’ve hurt who will probably be scarred due to my behavior. Thank you everyone for your time.

-Hugo Dominguez

I am urging all of you to break all ties with this individual, keep the pressure on DxE to stand by their statement and make sure that they continue to address to on-going problem within their organization (I believe they will). offer nothing but support to the victims. Do not speak over them. Do not pressure them to do or say something they are not comfortable with. Do not blame them. And for fucks sake, do not identify them publicly.

The animal rights movement has a human rights problem. If people within the AR community are not treated equally, with respect and kindness, how can we help our non-human friends effectively?

The “Horse Lovers”

It reads like a war memorial. Ages, names, dates and location of those who lost their lives too soon. All of them were young, all of them died needlessly and all of them deserved better.

They were horses; mostly Thoroughbreds, a few Standardbreds. The names of racing Arabians, Quarter horses and paints are missing, their “sports” aren’t as widely publicized. The list complied by the diligent people at horseracingwrongs.com has hundreds of names, but it’s not complete. You see, the names of race horses euthanized later, or those who died on private farms, or killed at slaughter houses aren’t reported to the media as readily, or at all. If they were the list would be never-ending, amassing in the thousands. And this was just for 2014.

The horse racing industry is built on animal exploitation. From the day they are born, until the day they die these animals exist only to serve humans, to make a profit until their bodies give out. Yet so-called horse lovers hold their breaths until racing season begins. They follow the careers of their beloved athletes, all while ignoring the blatant cruelty these individuals endure. They are sad when a horse dies, many even send flowers and condolence cards to owners and trainers when a favorite is killed in action, or back at the breeding farm after a long, hard career. But they continually support the industry, for their own enjoyment. “Accidents happen”, they say. “The horses love to run”.

I used to be one of these people. I made these justifications to myself, at first because I didn’t know better. But when I started college for equine studies in 2007, and was given a behind the scenes look at every aspect of the industry, the guilt came. I changed my tune slowly at first, refusing to attend races, but still watching them on television, rooting for my favorites. But as I learned more about the practices considered “normal” by the industry, and as I was forced to take foals from their mothers at an unnaturally early age (or hear the news that a horse I knew personally was injured, or to be sold at auction) I could no longer stomach it. Watching racing with my classmates quickly turned into 2-3 minutes of absolute dread “Please don’t break down. Please don’t break down” became my mantra.

The last race I attended was the 2010 Belmont Stakes, at Belmont Racetrack in New York. A friend of mine was a groom for the trainer Bill Mott, and a horse she groomed was running. We walked the shed-rows, laying kisses on the noses of current racing legends, and legends “in the making”. All the while I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, as my friend spoke with excitement about the upcoming race. She wanted to win, I just wanted them to be safe. In fact, she did win. Drosselmeyer won the 2010 Belmont Stakes by a nose, and no one died that day. My friend stood beaming in the winners circle next to a stressed out horse as I stood outside, wishing only to go home.

Two Standardbreds died a few days ago, only 8 miles from where I live. But as I drove past Yonkers Raceway just a day after their deaths, I could see that it was business as usual. To the industry the horses are profit margins, mere objects whose deaths only truly matter because money and fame is lost. If those in the industry cared about the horses, there would be no industry at all.

I wonder how many will lose their lives today. I wonder how many will care.