A rambling post about online abuse, misogyny, rape & football.

TW for non-graphic description of rape, victim blaming & rape culture.

Tonight, I can’t sleep. I’m normally a pretty rubbish sleeper anyway, I wake up a lot and anxiety causes me to have a disrupted sleep pattern. But tonight, it feels different. Menacing.

I have the light on, and radio 4 playing in the background, drowning out the silence. The cause of my sleeplessness? Online abuse. Yup – abuse from lots of men (and women) that I don’t know, has caused me to lie awake wondering (for the tenth time) whether I’ve locked the door, or whether Little Pavs is safe, despite her sleeping peacefully in the room next door. It started like this.

My good tweet mate @judeinlondon contacted me to say that she was taking a lot of abuse for posting about rape on International Women’s Day. These men had tweeted her with appalling comments, questioning her mental health – one of them even suggested she should be ‘put down’. So I decided to take action.

I tweeted out their disgusting comments, and suggested that as they were so keen to abuse women online, instead of calling out the men who do rape and abuse women; they were probably rapists. Well, that certainly got them angry.

None of them got angry at the poor attrition & conviction rates in the UK.

None of them got angry at the fact that women risk-assess *all the time* in order to attempt to reduce the risk of being raped.

Oh no. They got angry at me (and other tweetmates who were supporting me). Angry & defensive. They even used the what about teh MENZ line without any sense of irony.

The abuse I suffered varied from the sublime – ‘I feel sorry for the kid’ – no need love, LP will be kept well away from men like you; to the ridiculous – ‘she should be raped by a lesbian with a strap-on’. The worst one was probably the abuse from a woman.

Now, I’m a feminist. One of the extreme ones that demands an end to violence against women and girls, but I’m reasonably kind, and try my best not to be hurtful to other women. After all, women do what they have to do, in order to survive under patriarchy. So I go easy on them. I try to educate, and encourage them to see the sexism & misogyny in our society – because as I found out – once you’ve seen it, had your eyes opened to it,  you can’t un-see it. No matter how much you might want to.

Anyway. The woman. She suggested in her tweet, that I need not worry about being raped. Implying that I’m too ugly. Coz we all know only those who pass the Patriarchal Fuckability Test (thanks, @therealsgm!) get raped, amirite? Because therein lies the problem. A woman, thinking only ‘attractive’ women get raped. When we know that rape isn’t about sex. It’s not about desire. It’s about power and control. It’s about a man wanting to put a woman ‘in her place’. Showing her ‘who’s boss’. It isn’t about him being so overwhelmed with desire and want for a woman that he doesn’t listen for a ‘yes’. It’s about him not caring about a ‘no’. It’s about him not caring if she’s frozen in fear, or still in case he kills her. Or just tolerating it, hoping it’ll be over soon and that she can escape and be safe. Rape isn’t about sex. Women who believe that only attractive women are raped are just as damaging as those men who shout ‘we’re not all rapists’. In fact, maybe more so.

I didn’t tell any of my friends that I was raped. Partly in case one of them had disguised themselves as a woman like her. The first woman I used the word ‘rape’ to, in respect of my sexual assault was my wonderful wife-to-be, @planetcath. Almost 16 *years* after it happened. You know why? Because she made me feel safe. She (without me even backing up with any details), believed me. She said ‘I believe you’. She didn’t ask if I’d deliberately gone out that night wearing make-up, or high heels, or trying to pass the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. She didn’t tell me that I was too ugly, or too attractive, or that it was just ‘rough sex’, or that I asked for it, or why didn’t I get a taxi home. She assumed nothing about me, and everything about my rapists. She assumed that they’d not been interested in my consent. She assumed that they’d decided to rape me because they believed that they could, and would, have access to my body – with no regard to my feelings.

I’ve digressed a little from my original aim, which was to talk about online abuse. But talking about my rape is related to online abuse. It’s misogyny, and women are threatened with rape if they dare speak up about rape. It would serve the world much better if those men spent their time & energy on tackling those men who do rape, rather than attacking women for discussing something that we think about almost *everytime* we go out, and lots and lots of time when we’re at home – where statistically, we’re more at risk of rape anyway.

So to the Manchester United supporters (I checked!) who abused me tonight – you are the reason I fell out of love with football. I used to stand in the Stretford End (as a season ticket holder) listening to you shouting that the players wives deserved to be raped, or that someone should teach the women ‘a lesson’ and I looked around and realised that I didn’t want part of this culture. You can keep your club, and the culture around it, and piss off out of my airspace. Sir Matt must be spinning away, listening to you knuckle-draggers threatening women with the very thing that you could help stop.

Unless you’re a rapist. In which case, you’ll have every desire to continue the rape culture that we live in.

After all, it helps you to continue to get away with it.

* I will be Storifing the tweets later

@PlanetPavs

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16 thoughts on “A rambling post about online abuse, misogyny, rape & football.

  1. Reblogged this on Paula Lindo and commented:
    “Now, I’m a feminist. One of the extreme ones that demands an end to violence against women and girls, but I’m reasonably kind, and try my best not to be hurtful to other women. After all, women do what they have to do, in order to survive under patriarchy. So I go easy on them. I try to educate, and encourage them to see the sexism & misogyny in our society – because as I found out – once you’ve seen it, had your eyes opened to it, you can’t un-see it. No matter how much you might want to.”

  2. *hugs*

    I’m so in awe of how you handled yourself last night, honey. And you’re right – it’s so much more hurtful when a woman is joining in the verbal assault. You dare put yourself out there, those who don’t like hearing the truth with lash out.
    Sorry I couldn’t have helped you out, my contribution was reporting and blocking every one of the fuckwits.

    It was a delicious sort of irony that yourself and the other women challenging these neanderthals were labelled as ‘vultures’, when they themselves were behaving like a pack of bloodthirsty wolves.

  3. I haven’t seen the twitter exchange – I don’t need to, your blog speaks beautifully. The behaviour on the internet of adults who would claim intelligence makes me despair of humanity. Thank you for your words.

  4. I picked up on that exchange on Twitter last night and was appalled by what I heard. Sadly those comments from ignorant young men are too much the norm these days. And where do they get it from? Their ‘old men’ would be a starting point, low expectations of their own conduct, a lack of any taught respect for women and girls. The ‘tribal’ nature of the comments just made me picture a group of sniggering oiks on their phones thinking this was all ‘banter’. These are the sort who would have bought and probably acted on the advice of those dreadful tshirts last weekend.

    However the comment by the woman was the worst. No solidarity of the sisterhood there. Rape is one of the most appalling crimes and as you correctly say it is about power and not sex. Nobody deserves to be raped, and the comments made, alcohol fuelled or not, speak volumes for that person’s self respect too. Women as rape and DV apologists beggars belief.

    Most men aren’t rapists. But some are and nobody knows who is or isn’t. There is no stereotype. Women are quite right to regard every man as a potential rapist, even one who says ‘I never would’ or even one well known to you. Rape triggers are many and varied. You can never be too careful.

    This was a powerful, blunt and honest piece. Well done for writing it.

  5. I saw this argument on twitter last night and thought you handled it brilliantly, hats off to you. I’m sick and tired of people throwing ignorant comments around, they don’t understand rape, or feminism or even misogyny. I don’t understand how someone can be something that they don’t even understand. I’ve been raped before, by men and women but like you i’ve met a woman who understands and doesn’t judge me for any if it, and most of all makes me happy. I’m only 17 and have been abused by many people since i was 11, i understand more than a lot of these ‘adults’ and it makes me sick. People like you make me proud to be a feminist, you’re intelligent, inspiring and brave and you don’t take shit from anyone. So thank you, for being one of my modern day feminist role models :)xo

  6. I don’t think anyone who has not been a victim of rape or sexual assault gets what victims go through. I hate to say it’s good to see things are the same in England as they are in the states, because it’s really scary that things are the same.

    In America look at how many athletes are still considered hero’s that raped. Kobe Bryant, Ben Rothensburg, and the list goes on. High school and college football players (our football not yours) seem to be the biggest problems in America, but all athletes tend to get away with rape. Look at what happened in Steubenville, OH, a girl was passed out drunk, raped, and video taped. Only two guys are on trial.

    We have a military that not only rapes, but is taught to get away with rape and we call them hero’s. The DoD estimates 50 sexual assaults a day in the military not mentioning the women they rape that are not military. A commander just over turned a guilty verdict in the air force for no reason.

    But in America we point so many fingers and think we are above everyone else. We just don’t accept or believe rape victims and force women to stay silent.

    I realized the other day that victims don’t ever get the support from friends, the rapist get the support. Victims have to reach out and find others who have been through what they have been through and hope that a group of good people helps them get justice.

    I guess I thought that the blind stupidity of victims being harassed and blamed only happened in America. I’ve been to England and have found the culture more developed and civilized than in America. Just watch “Honey Boo Boo” or “My Name is Earl” and that is most of America.

    It just kills me that people will take the time to harass someone standing up for a victim. That they would threaten and insult and degrade.

    The site we have up on US marine rape has drawn a lot of negative comments, threats and harassment. The rapist family has even tried to post the victims name on the internet to get people to harass her.

    We tend to ignore the negative comments, anyone that would say such things isn’t worth our time. When we would post on Craigslist, which we are unable to do right not so feel free to post this site on rants and raves or facebook or anywhere, we would respond to a couple of rants and were able to shut those up who threatened us by stating that what they wrote was just more proof of what we were saying.

    One girl whose husband was a Marine from Ohio, where our rapist is from, went on a rant how she owned a truck and a gun and would kick our ass. So basically American white trash. Our response to her was she looking for a job besides working at the local wafflehouse, that we knew someone who was looking for a toilet cleaner and that since her mouth was already full of shit she would be perfect. There was also a guy out of Akron/Canton craigslist rants and raves (this was where most threats came from) who defended the rape victim in a post and the Marines attacked him, his girlfriend and harassed him for over a month on the internet.

    People in America don’t realize this is against the law, not that our police or FBI do anything here.

    The problem with the world seems to be that there are more of them than there are of those of us that try to help the victims.

    I’m sorry that you had to deal with that last night. I’m sorry that you have had to experience rape, and then be the person strong enough to stand up for the right thing only to be treated so horribly.

    All we can do is try to stick together and keep fighting for what is right.

    I also wanted to say the funny thing about the rape on our site, the most support we have received is from men. Not all men, congressmen and women and federal senators in America won’t do a thing, they just like to talk about issues not solve them, but we have local politicians that have gone above and beyond and been their for the victim, they just don’t have jurisdiction. But men have been more supportive than women in this case, which has been our biggest shock. But in America women really hate women and tend to blame the victims for rape.

    Please pass this site on anyway you can, we are working on a new one, but this one really pisses the US military off, and hopefully helps expose the rapist.

    http://www.theusmarinesrape.com/HideTheTruth.html
    http://www.theusmarinesrape.com/FaceBook.html

    Screw those who oppose you!

  7. I can’t believe the abuse you put up with. I suppose the fact that you provoke such vitriol shows that you’re making these rape apologists feel uncomfortable and defensive, and you’re therefore doing your “job” as a feminist. x

  8. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Kudos

    1. Hi! Luckily, Word press blog sites are free! It takes a bit of time to work it all out but it’s fairly straightforward. Word Press is our preferred blog site as it’s easy to navigate and we like the lay out.
      We’re not experts in setting them up as this is a personal blog but if you’re on twitter then follow @planetcath and she will link you up with some women who will be able to give you some advice and pointers.
      Hope this helps x

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