There are a few gems of internet wisdom that present themselves on a fairly regular basis – especially if you’re posting anything related to men’s violence against women, street or online harassment, or pretty much anything that negatively impacts female-presenting people.
- Don’t feed the trolls
- Lewis’ Law – Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.
As a women who regularly shares articles relating to violence against women, harassment and other similar topics on social media platforms, such as Twitter, I am all too familiar with both trolls, and the accuracy of Lewis’ Law.
The trolls I’ve encountered are all of the same, garden-variety misogynist, MRA-types. Their key tactic is to intimidate. They aim to silence women using harassment, threats and bombardment-style attacks. They’ll fill your ‘mentions’ without you even having mentioned them. They sit in wait, pouncing at any mention of The Things They Don’t Like. Like equality. And women pointing out inequality. Their tweets are the epitome of Lewis’ Law. And the idea of not feeding them is not one I necessarily agree with. Because their sole aim is to intimidate women into silence, and I will not be silenced by an anonymous keyboard warrior. Do I sometimes get a little shaken up? Sure. When you get rape or death threats, who wouldn’t? I block and I report, and I know that there are thousands of others out there who have each other’s backs and will stand together against the online trolls. And I won’t be silenced.
So here it is. An open address to the whiny dude-bros of Twitter.
I want to start by addressing a couple of issues that you all, so very predictably, bring up.
- When I post an article about sexual assault, or street harassment, I am not targeting you, nor am I targeting the other “poor innocents”, you so valiantly claim to be standing up for. I didn’t tag you in the post. I didn’t mention you directly. So unless you have something to feel guilty about, I wasn’t talking to you.
- “Street harassment” and “finding a girlfriend” are two very different things. If you don’t know the difference, or you think following a woman you don’t know or shouting “show us yer tits” is the best method for finding a partner, I can’t help you. Nobody can.
- If you’re getting mad at people who post about sexual assault, violence against women, or street harassment online, you’re getting mad at the wrong people. How about directing some of that anger at your fellow dude-bros who assault, beat or harass women?
That last point is particularly important. Research released recently shows that 87% of Australian women have experienced verbal or physical street harassment in their lives. Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators, women are overwhelmingly their victims. And the consequences for women aren’t limited to a moment of fear – all though that moment of fear should be enough for society to stand up against street harassment. Women limit their movements, change their behaviour, and suffer the effects of street harassment long after some asshole decided to grope them or scream at them from a car.
So, whiny dude-bros of Twitter, here’s the thing. You can scream “NOT ALL MEN” at the top of your lungs to as many women online as you want. But it’s not going to change the fact that your fellow dude-bros are the ones causing the problem in the first place.
I’ve had several of you, whiny Twitter dude-bros, contact me in the last few days after I posted a couple of articles about street harassment. Some of you enacted that bombardment treatment that has become so damn predictable, despite the fact I didn’t tag any of you in any of my posts. Hell, I’ve never even heard of you before. Yet there you were, filling my mentions with your whining about me targeting innocent dude-bros, asking me how you could get a girlfriend without resorting to street harassment, and calling me a whore.
You got inexplicably mad at a women who posted something online about street harassment, that wasn’t directed at you, that didn’t mention you in any way, shape or form.
And you harassed her.
So, thanks, whiny dude-bros of Twitter, for always coming through with the goods and proving Lewis’ Law over and over and over again. You make us more determined than ever to keep posting about and fighting to end street harassment, online harassment, and men’s violence against women.