Yes, I’ve seen Ron Ladao’s video of the event that happened at Kazecon. I’ve been asked to respond, mostly by people using name-calling and threats. While I certainly don’t owe a statement to any of the people who are foaming at the mouth to damage a stranger, I will speak as a gesture of thanks for those who have believed me and stood up for me this whole time.
First and foremost, I’m not posting the video here. It would be triggering to some, and also NSFW due to language. You can find it yourself, gentle reader.
My reaction is this: No, clearly I did not remember all the details. It was 13 years ago, and I’ve tried to be honest and clear any time something new came to light. For example, I know now that my Squall cosplaying friend was there in the room, as opposed to another woman.
That said, I never “lied” or purposefully exaggerated. The deeper, psychological narrative doesn’t change much for me. From my perspective, my friend Mr. Ladao (at the time) offered me a safe space. He then intruded on that safe space (with some of his own clothing removed,) broke my trust, and caused fear and trauma with intent. He still had a camera running while young women were changing. I DID scream, “No.” My fear and anger were obvious- something Mr. Ladao still doesn’t seem to register.
Mr. Ladao didn’t remember the details, either. For one, he himself initially claimed he didn’t have a camera. I suppose he is “lucky” that I was correct about THAT detail, after all. To his friends and allies, this camera “saved him.” You know what, though? Not remember details is OK! Nobody is ever going to remember an event crystal clearly, even if it happened yesterday. If this is the lens we use to examine others with, it’s broken and we should change it.
Personally, I still wouldn’t work with or recommend Mr. Ladao to others. I still wouldn’t trust safe space or even respect to be upheld by him. The amount of people that have separately come forward, both publicly and privately, to share their own stories is evidence enough for me.
My story isn’t isolated, but I still find this video really scary. I’m shaking and nauseated now, not because I “lied” or “got busted,” but because I still see a moment that deeply damaged my ability to enjoy conventions, cosplay, and the opposite sex for my entire life since. Those feelings are valid, period.
I never took legal action, but Ron did. I never sent my story to other news outlets, but Ron did. I never asked conventions or his employer to take action against him, but his friends are trying to do that to me. Most importantly, I would never proudly wave video around of an event that I know hurt and scarred another human. He clearly still does not grasp how violating the safe space of undressing young women affected anyone but himself.
I truly, truly hope this hasn’t damaged other people’s willingness to come forward with stories of harassment. I wouldn’t wish these graphic, intense threats on anyone. Nobody WANTS this type of “fame.” We have to keep talking about this stuff, though. There’s no magic line drawn in the sand. All types of harassment and/or assault are problematic- physical, mental, emotional. We don’t have to fight over which are the most severe or worth paying attention to. If someone you know was made to suffer by someone else’s advances- even “jokes” or “pranks,”- support them. Otherwise, they’ll let the experience rot on the inside like I did for a long while.
Thanks for reading. Obviously, as I said in my initial post, everyone is free and encouraged to make their own decisions. I honestly wish everyone the best, thank them for having a dialogue about harassment, and hope C2E2 is an amazing time for all. Good night.
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