9 August 2013

Shouting Back

Unless you have been living under a rock, most people by now will have heard of and seen the horrendous abuse and threats that have been sent to Caroline Criado-Perez and others.  Not just insults or abusive comments, but physical threats. 

In case you are not aware of the background, Caroline had successfully campaigned to maintain female representation on a bank note and appeared on various interviews thereafter.  For that she was inundated with threats of rape, assault and murder. 

Caroline chose to shout back rather than stay silent and to alert the police rather than be scared into submission.  The reaction to those measures by fellow Twitter users, the media and the public has stunned me. 

Victim blaming isn’t anything new.  It has been going on for years and whilst I thought that in more recent times, people were a little more enlightened, it seems that couldn’t be further from the case.

Comments like “Being on Twitter is like walking down the street naked” which I saw this morning on not what you would presume (The Daily Fail) but in The Times, by people whom you would presume would know better.  So by that, if I were to walk down the street naked should I expect threats of rape?  Is the commenter saying it would be acceptable behaviour because I was naked? 

Other comments such as “if you don’t like what is being said, leave Twitter” have been bandied about by many.  Personally, I don’t see why you should be forced off anywhere because of threatening behaviour.  

If someone was threatening you in a restaurant with rape or murder, you wouldn’t ignore it, you would report it.  It wouldn’t stop you using the restaurant again.  If someone was using menacing behaviour against you in the workplace, would you leave work and find another job rather than speak up?  Of course you wouldn’t.

Insults and abuse you can ignore, block and indeed feel pity for those who have little else in their lives other than to hurl abuse at others.  Because that is trolling.  Trolling isn’t illegal.  Threats to physically hurt you aren’t trolling, they are illegal.

Those are just some of my thoughts on the matter.  I am not a “man hater”.  I am not, as I have others been accused of “moaning about every little thing concerning women”.  I just believe that everybody, men and women alike have a right not to be physically threatened, be it in the street, in their own home or online.  If it happens, it should be reported.  Being online does not mean that laws suddenly do not apply.

What are your thoughts?

 

5 comments:

  1. I have been really disgusted, shocked and disappointed with the comments I've heard/seen since this story broke. I can't fathom why ANYONE would think threatening to rape or kill a woman is a reasonable response to wanting a woman on a bank note. I didn't know such dregs of humanity exist still in 2013. We still have so, so far to go.

    I don't know what the answer is, but I think a large part of it has to be how we educate our sons. If young men grow up thinking the threat of rape or death is an acceptable way to show your disapproval at someone else's comments then we are failing at parenthood in epic style. The only positive in this whole sorry tale is men and women coming together to say 'This ISN'T right.'

    x x

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    1. It completely shocked me the absolute wave of abuse Caroline and others received. It is a very scary thought that so many who think like that wander amoung us. You are right I think, the way forward is education, making sure that children know that it is isn't right.

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  2. When are people going to wake up and realise that no form of bullying / harrassment is alright? It doesn't matter if it's in real life or from a computer screen, issuing death and rape threats, and other words of harrassment are not alright. It's worrying how many people think it's acceptable to troll in this day and age. What happened to being brought up with manners and morals, and knowing right from wrong? I think in light of the recent suicide of the school girl who was bullied online, people need to be made aware of how dangerous abusive comments can be to the recipient, and there needs to be consequences for such behaviour. There needs to be some form of law to restrict online bullying (somehow), and kids need to be taught from a young age that rape is absolutely 100% NOT okay and not to rape, instead of being taught how to prevent it from happening to themselves. xx

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    1. I'm not sure what the solution is. One thing I do really believe is that you can't and shouldn't censor the internet. It is up to us to educate people not to troll and also more available actions in place to be able to report abuse and blocking people.

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  3. I think that there are some sick, twisted people in the world. The Internet and Social Media has given these morons power. They lack the guts to say it to someone's face, then they are very yellow in mind.

    That is the real sad thing about the world we live in today.

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Thank you very much for commenting. I may not reply to them all but I read every one and it is very much appreciated.