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Posts Tagged ‘Aisha White’

I read something a couple of days ago that troubled and saddened me in so many ways. It was a personal account by a young woman of how she was sexually assaulted. Various search engines and social media platforms brought this article to my attention because it involved birders. In her blog post, Aisha White told of how she began exploring the world of birding in 2020. Among the many people she met included a prominent figure in the birding community where she lived. This person is a science communicator, he leads birding tours, has a large online platform, and he hosts a successful documentary series on birding with a large following.

He raped Aisha.

You can read the full story in Aisha White’s own words, here.

Now, the person who did this terrible thing to Aisha White is black and I am white. And, I realize that as a white person, I may be accused of racism when I denounce a black person. I hope that does not happen. But I am also a man, and as such have a responsibility to hold other men accountable for their actions.

So, let me be very clear. Sexual violence is intolerable and has no place in the birding community.

Additionally, I am a science communicator, and play a small role in the birding community as well (though no where near what the man in question has held). As a birder and science communicator, I want to bring more people into the birding community. I want to share knowledge of the fascinating world we live in with them. I want to inspire people to want to learn more! The actions of this man taint such efforts by the all the rest of us.

The various organizations that had worked with this man have canceled those associations. He was fired from the American Bird Conservancy, where he worked, and the documentary series has been canceled. Legal investigations will move forward to determine the facts of the case, and what paths forward could be taken. But, I think dissolving the associations with the man in question were appropriate actions for those organizations to take.

I think that stepping forward and sharing an experience like this with the public takes a lot of guts. Aisha White, if you ever read this, I see you, I hear you, and I am sorry that this ever happened to you. I hope that you find a way to continue exploring the world of birds and that your love for them continues to grow. Know that there are many people in the world who will stand by you and will be happy to help, if you like. I am one of them.

A GoFundMe page to support Aisha White’s legal costs can be found here.

This is a developing story and may be edited and adjusted as more information becomes available.

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