Must read article in The Atlantic.
In December 2012, an Icelandic woman named Thorlaug Agustsdottir discovered a Facebook group called “Men are better than women.” One image she found there, Thorlaug wrote to us this summer in an email, “was of a young woman naked chained to pipes or an oven in what looked like a concrete basement, all bruised and bloody. She looked with a horrible broken look at whoever was taking the pic of her curled up naked.” Thorlaug wrote an outraged post about it on her own Facebook page.
Before long, a user at “Men are better than women” posted an image of Thorlaug’s face, altered to appear bloody and bruised. Under the image, someone commented, “Women are like grass, they need to be beaten/cut regularly.” Another wrote: “You just need to be raped.” Thorlaug reported the image and comments to Facebook and requested that the site remove them.
“We reviewed the photo you reported,” came Facebook’s auto reply, “but found it does not violate Facebook’s Community Standards on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.”
Instead, the Facebook screeners labeled the content “Controversial Humor.” Thorlaug saw nothing funny about it. She worried the threats were real.
Beware. If you are in an abusive relationship or have been in the past, take special precautions and check your personal devices to ensure the abusive party isn’t stalking you and continuing to terrorize you through the use of technology.
…there’s another kind of privacy concern that is a lot more intimate. You could call it Little Brother, though it’s really more like husbands and wives, lovers and exes who secretly watch their partners — from a distance. They are cyberstalking — using digital tools that are a lot cheaper than hiring a private detective.
NPR investigated these tools, also known as spyware, and spoke with domestic violence counselors and survivors around the country. We found that cyberstalking is now a standard part of domestic abuse in the U.S.
Digital Detox At The Shelter
Before we get into how spyware works, let’s visit a place that’s been transformed by it: a domestic violence shelter — a safe house for mostly women and children. It’s run by a group called Next Door, and it’s somewhere in the heart of Silicon Valley. I can’t tell you exactly where because its location is a secret. (I had to sign an agreement to be let in.)
While the kids are playing with dominoes in the living room, counselor Rosa Navarro takes the newest arrival — a woman who has a little boy — into a quiet office for intake.
And that intake includes digital detox.
Read more in the full article.
Whereas I can see McEwan’s point that we’re shifting from victim blaming to bystander blaming, I do think that promoting bystander intervention is a positive step to put an end to rape culture and thereby an end to the prevalence of sexual assault.
Certainly the rapist is the only one ultimately responsible for their actions, for their choice violate another human being; however, peer pressure and a community unwilling to accept such misogynistic and aggressive behavior in the early stages will go a long way to deterring rapists.
Some of the arguments against bystander response is that it’s dangerous for the bystander, which I can see in extreme circumstances if physical violence is the case, but on the other hand, so much of this happens and perpetrators are supported way before the defining moment sexual assault.
Once we stop accepting misogynistic speech, rape jokes, and objectifying other human beings, once we put an end to the idea that one person is entitled sexually to another, once we firmly reject the notion that a woman was “asking for it,” and we do this with every action, word, and thought, that’s when rape culture will begin to end.
To change our culture, it is most certainly on us. #ItsOnUs
Read The Nation article to which I am referring, here.