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Yes, I was mostly just accused of being a scammer before, but I have to do all I can for this girl.

I have known Vi for a number of months on Atheist.  One day, I defended her  when some anarchist libertarian troll sitting in a Cali-college university was being abusive to her.  I already knew that Vi was an atheist living in a sharia practicing muslim country and had a conservative muslim family, and I couldn’t stand some privileged little twit criticizing her when she was taking more of a risk than he could ever understand for her disbelief.   Ever since then, she has looked up to me, shared her story and asked for advice. I don’t think she was too used to people sticking up for her.

So after talking to her and learning more about her story bit by bit over the last few months, Vi forwarded a note to from Atheist member, Deborah Boylandt.  Deborah was calling  for her friends to come together and help Vi with getting a plane ticket due to a new development of her parents forcing Vi to marry the first cousin who had molested her as a child – and they were no longer taking no for an answer.

Being reasonably skeptical, I thought okay maybe she has been running a multiple month long scam on me, but I believed her enough and being an admin of the Atheist community – I wanted that community to mean something.

I said to myself , "Well, it is worth it to bring the few people interested in making calls together, making one or two calls a day, and reporting back what I find out."  The goal was to get her in touch with an advocate that she could get some guidance from. I told myself, "If she all of a sudden asks me for thousands of dollars – I am going to have to head for the hills."

But then, I kept discovering how much more complicated the situation was with getting her out was becoming. And, all the while, we were adding more and more people who were Vi’s friends and people I had come to know and respect on Atheist. Some people, had known her for months like me – a few more have known her longer. In private conversations with them, away from Vi – all their stories corroborated and synced – That lended me more trust. Her already having $1,000 pledged from an amazing Australian member of the Atheist community, Anthony Pickham,  also freed me up from having to worry that I would have to make a decision based on trust and a financial decision I really couldn’t make  due to some hardships with a huge vet bill due to finding out my dog has a congenital liver disorder and some other family health issues.

Through this process I have come to know Vi a lot more. I questioned Vi about the details of her abuse and date rape – it was difficult but her answers seemed genuine based on the types of reactions I have observed in others. I used to be a case manager for adults with disabilities, in which position I had to investigate such issues, and also worked in a adolescent shelter where many of the children came from homes of various abuse.

She has been good about sending me every document and picture I have asked for- I received all her receipts from Western Union and for her Visa application fee as well  I have provided every record possible to the generous souls who have donated.

Plus, I am now the one with all the money – so it is me that people should worry about being a scammer, but people felt they coud trust me.  The fact that I am the one holding and spending the donations has two opposite effects on me. It makes me more willing to trust Vi and others because I am the one people are most putting their trust in to not be the scammer. At the same time – I have the opposite pull of "Shit, if this is a scam, I am the one who did the most organizing, motivating, and I am going to have to deal with how to return all this money." If it is a scam, it makes me, Atheist, and SupportAtheism look bad. All of this makes me want to do all I can to make sure it is real for me and others.

BUT, Even if only one of Vi’s stories were true – it would be worth all this.  Through this experience, I have tried to be skeptical and meet a reasonable burden of proof.  But, yes, there is a point to which this  atheist has to make a leap of faith.  But, that faith is in the benevolence of my fellow Atheists, the beautiful heart and suffering of one girl, and that this community is a place where our united voice has the power to change the world or at least one life.

Link to the article and Donation Button

All who donate will receive updates and confirmation of all purchases made with these funds.  When donating you have the full right to know and have all funds accounted for.  After a donation, You will receive an e-mail with this agreement  from my personal E-mail account to serve as a record of this expectation.  The primary purpose for these donations will be visa and document fees and airfare.  These will lead to safety.  Any excess will help with legal fees, clothing this person will not have for colder climates, and residency.

Atheist

Originally posted to Captain Pants on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 05:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As an atheist and a skeptic (0+ / 0-)

    I found the Atheist website site linked to from that Facebook account more purposefully insulting to "believers" than it probably needed to be.  It had some good aspects to it, but left me uneasy to "Like" on Facebook by extension.

    Hope your friend can find a way out of the situation that she has offered.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 07:18:56 PM PST

  •  Eeh (0+ / 0-)
    1. Your assumption is a blanket statement which holds some truth but is not all the truth. A lot of the posts are humorous in nature - maybe you find a lot of them to be negative because they poke fun at the hypocrisy of supernatural based faiths , such as whatever denomination of christianity you belong to. But, to us the jokes are the same as if we were laughing about a neighbor who spends his spare time hunting sasquatch. Also, some posts concern current events or news, such as Catholic pedophilia cover-ups. That is negative, but once again, it concerns dealing with how religion perverts humanistic morality by trumping it for allegiance to a magic sky god. Also, a lot of posts are about scientific discoveries of a cosmological or evolutionary biological nature. Those aren't negative- they are informative and really a celebration at the wonder of the natural/real world. Also, there are posts about how religions continue to promote violence, repress gays, and dominate political policy. These are just important issues that are a mutual worry.
    1. Negative and scathingly satirical posts arise because we live in a world in which the political and cultural sphere is dominated by religions, therefore the world is a hostile place for atheists, and that page sometimes serves as a release valve to vent frustrations and be as starkly adamant as possible because one can't be in front of their families or cultures - as some of the members are from theocracies such as Pakistan and Iran.
    1. Some people can be harsh and inappropriately downtalk to visiting theists (although, most supernaturalists who come here are abrasive trolls and not civil truth seekers) - Mostly this is because they are frustrated (as I stated) and young. Teens don't always have the best judgement or reserve when it comes to communicating in a public forum. Also, acting cooler than the world or other groups of people (religious or otherwise) is something that teens do. For purposes of identity, sometimes teens will act like everything else they aren't involved in is beneath them. I know I am speaking in my own blanket statement here, but I think this is just a part of growing up that most people go through.
    1. Finally, studies show that atheists tend to be more educated, better read, and skeptical - hence why they ask questions about why people believe in something that not only is there no proof for but also mountains of evidence against. Therefore, they tend to know about history and follow current events. And this goes back to the old saying "If you aren't furious, then you aren't paying attention." I follow current events, politics, and read a great deal - and as a result - one can become fairly pessimistic. I post a lot of news on my personal Facebook page, and a lot of it has to do with political policies that I want to change, that I think are unfair. This may make some think I am always depressed and down, but really - I want to change these things so that there can be a better world that is why I want to share the information.

    And this phenomenon is, I believe, mostly the same thing on that particular atheist page. We post about the aspects of society, hypocrisy, and history that enrage us because this is the life we have to live and improve and make meaningful. There is no magic sky god threatening us with an eternity of pleasure or pain. Each of us has the responsibility to make a better world for ourselves, those we love, and our community. Negative posts aren't because we are hopeless - they are because we hope for a better world.

    Here is a little philosophy I made up for myself. "I am idealistic enough to believe in the perfectibility of humanity, but pessimistic enough to know that people like you will screw it up."   ; )

    So, in the end. People who are atheist don't necessarily have any more or less hope than anyone else. Further, atheists must have more hope because this life and the time with those you love are limited so you have to make it meaningful and beautiful.

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