Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Trolls

Caroline Criado-Perez asked the Bank of England to put more women on banknotes. So...
In this society steeped in misogyny, celebrity and inequality, I was someone to be both envied and hated – even as the rape threats continued to come. And of course women turning on me led a man who was stalking me to crow: “Even some feminists are turning on Caroline Criado-Perez now, they can see her real motives. Could be a big backfire #assraped”. He was right though. It was feminists too.

The impact of all this on my life has been dramatic. When it was at its height I struggled to eat, to sleep, to work. I lost about half a stone in a matter of days. I was exhausted and weighed down by carrying these vivid images, this tidal wave of hate around with me wherever I went. And I kept being asked to relive the experience for endless media interviews – when I look back at that relentless attention, I can’t quite comprehend it. It didn’t feel real then, and it doesn’t feel real now. I still can’t quite believe this has happened to me.

The psychological fall-out is still unravelling. I feel like I’m walking around like a timer about to explode; I’m functioning at just under boiling point – and it takes so little to make me cry – or to make me scream.

And I’m still being told not to feed the trolls.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate that phrase. That phrase takes no account of the feelings of the victim – only of the feelings of a society that doesn’t care, that doesn’t want to hear it, that wants women to put up and shut up. It completely ignores the actions of the abuser, focusing only on the actions of the victim – because that’s what we do in this society. We police victims. We ask “why doesn’t she leave?” instead of asking “why doesn’t he stop?”
And it doesn't stop: she's still getting the same messages from the same people.


mikey said...

It's a good point, but it's also a valid question. By engaging with people who use these kinds of vile intimidation tactics you empower them, give them a sense of having control over you, of having successfully harmed you. Of course, if you are being victimized by this kind of brutal intimidation, it is certainly not reasonable to ask you to remain silent.

But there is obviously a lot of middle ground between 'feeding the trolls' and silence. The best thing a victim can do is to refuse to be silenced, but also to refuse to engage in a back and forth with a thug seems like it represents the best tactical doctrine. But it seems like there ought to be some legal remedies.

I read an article about how one state (I'm thinking it was N. Carolina of all places, but I don't remember for sure) has passed a law against posting revenge porn and one woman has already had her tormenter convicted of a felony and sent to prison. Ought to serve as some kind of a model, especially when these assclowns hang their name on their harassment...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Trolls are apparent to us on the internet, but they've always been with us in real life.