If It Was You

If it was you. You receiving dozens and dozens of rape and death threats.
You receiving constant messages of abuse.
You being told you’re a whore, a slut, a spik bitch.
You being told to shut the fuck up.
You being told you were going to be strangled, drowned, burned alive, cut into pieces, raped in front of children.
If it was you being bombarded for a month with the vilest pictures, messages, blog posts, YouTube clips.
If it was you who opened mail from men who hate you addressed to you at your parents house.

Would you cope with daily life?
Would you carry on going to work, seeing friends, having fun with your partner and family?
Would you sleep well at night on your own?
Would you jump at the sound of the phone or the door?
Would you feel sick with dread and anxiety when you logged on to twitter?
Would you accept it as part of life; just the trolls, just some silly people on the Internet who haven’t got anything better to do?
Would you agree with the people who told you to stop feeding it? Stop reporting? Stop highlighting it?
Would you feel supported by the those who shrugged and told you to ignore it?
Would you be glad that people went out of their way to tell you that you mustn’t get angry or upset about the constant barrage of abuse?
Would you be pleased that people took time to tell you how you could handle it better?
Would you agree that it’s better for those people to come and tell you where you where you were going wrong, rather than target the abusers?
Would you like it when people sighed and called you an attention seeker for speaking out?
Would you sit quietly and let other people tell you what to do without hearing you?
Would you be calm when you receive your 50th tweet advising you on your language?
Would you feel safe knowing you’ve reported everything to the police and they haven’t investigated properly?
Would you stay quiet?

Would you??

6 replies on “If It Was You”

The answer is this. No of course I wouldn’t. I’d be petrified, I’d cry, I’d be emotionally irregular. Why? Well, I’m human and humans have emotions. If people find emotions offensive when they could not even begin to deal with the amount of shit Caroline has, I suggest they disengage their cakeholes, and hear. Not just listen but hear.

That makes a world of difference. Right behind you Caro, and Poppy.

I can’t believe we’re even having to have the debate that this is uncivilised, immoral, outrageous, barbaric (I’m ratcheting it up..get off when you feel uncomfortable. Wus..). Anyone who doesn’t speak up against this kind of sociopathy is tacitly saying they find it acceptable in society. I’m which case, don’t come near me.

My obligatory first response whenever some (usually anonymous) shithead drops by my Twitter-account to rant about Caroline Criado-Perez or Rebecca Watson or Anita Sarkeesian or any other woman who’s targeted by a sustained hate-campaign online and call them attention-seeking drama-queens or professional victims is: “I’d like to see YOU put up with the crap you say others have to live with 24/7”. Seriously, they wouldn’t last a day in Caroline’s shoes.

The problem, Hannah, is that we are preaching to the choir. Obviously, no one in their right mind would think that online abuse is a good thing.

The problem is the wider laddish culture we are dealing with. Making someone suffer is fun, innit. “Can’t you deal with the pain? You’re a pussy. Are you upset? Oh, c’mon, it’s a joke.” How many of those poor idiots have been receiving these deforming messages all life long, without questioning?
From my short experience of special educator in a school with problematic children (12-17 years old), those “troll” blokes won’t listen to us: we didn’t put the destructive messages in their heads in the first place and we will hardly take them out. If we want to do something with online abuse (and with all kinds of bullying for that matter), we must focus on men who have authority amongst those complexed lads and support them in their effort to educate. I know it’s hard to admit but I have lived with those little cowards for sufficiently long time. We – women, feminists, activists – must hold together and support each other when attacked. But the real solution lays in dialogue with men who, stupidly, will be the only one who the “trolls” may listen to. 😦

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