Tag Archive: violence to women


There’s a new hashtag in town. 

Followed by a yawn right? Cos who cares about hashtags? Aren’t they just like ‘groups’ on Facebook?

What is a group on Facebook? Someone starts a group based on some topic they feel passionate about such as interesting shapes of clouds, bonsai tree gardening or stuffed animals – you get an invite, you join the group and… NOTHING ELSE EVER HAPPENS. I dunno, maybe you’re in better groups than me, but for the most part they are a way of identifying that you have a particular interest, but not much else. However, the two groups that actually ever did anything, became incredible community spaces because people really got invested and engaged and those were great!

Same with hashtags on Twitter, for the most part. Occasionally you find something fun or interesting and are able to follow it to get more info or greater laughs.

#MeteorShower from Friday night was a classic example of that – huge exciting natural phenomenon of epic proportions prophecied by the people of science, but for the most part the experience of Meteor Shower Watching was a huge anticlimax and led to some classics such as:

and:

i even got into the act making some Hollywood adapted references to Meteor flavoured movies such as:

and my most popular:

Thus, in certain situations, hashtags have definitely had their uses, but not many of them as significant as #YesAllWomen which has hit the ground running and been gathering speed over the last 24 hours. 

WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

Apparently the hashtag was created as a response to the tragic story of the shooting in Santa Barbara on Friday which took the lives of 6 people, as the shooter apparently had a lot of videos on You Tube where he vented his frustrations against women. You can read the article that speaks about the connection over here.

But #YesAllWomen is also part of a longer conversation that involves the rights and freedoms of women and includes topics like the much-misunderstood concept of ‘rape culture’ [the idea that the woman who experiences a rape is made to feel like a victim all over again by how she is treated/judged/looked at afterwards]. This feels like it has been gaining momentum in the last few years and #YesAllWomen is finally an opportunity for it to be brought to a wider audience.

I happened to stumble upon it by accident by following a link [ah so that’s what the hashtag is for] to #YesAllWomen from a tweet someone had retweeted which appeared on my wall. When i started reading, i was deeply moved by some of the messages that i read, such as these:

 

It was really great seeing some celebs come on board as clearly they have the kind of audience that will help get a message like this moving quicker. Here is one from Patton Oswalt, who hosted the recent Webby awards that celebrated all things internet:

I also found a link to a blog post by Gina Denny which helped explain the hashtag a little more clearly as many people were clearly misunderstanding it and a lot of them [typically men, nice one us!] were getting angry and seeing it as something that was being used against all men. Read this post! This excerpt from the blog piece sums it up well

Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa told The Daily Beast, “#YesAllWomen is important because a lot of very good guys just don’t know what it’s like to walk around in a female body. They don’t know what it’s like to live with the constant nagging threat of sexual violence every time we walk to our cars alone in a parking garage, or walk down the street at night to pick up food for our kids. They don’t know what it’s like to get grabbed, poked, and prodded in public by strangers who are bigger and stronger than we are. Being a woman can be really scary, and if more guys realized it, they might modify their own behavior or call their friends out on bad behavior.”

The hashtag, Benincasa said, has united women to share their stories online. “Seeing one woman share her story can give another woman the idea that it is safe to do so.”

COME ON MEN, WE CAN DO BETTER

Wow, so i thought it would be a good idea to check out the #YesAllMen tag before posting this and so literally just went on there now and am so completely bummed [and sadly not surprised at all] to see the typical response which has, for the most part, been a combination of parody or anger directed towards those taking part in the #YesAllWomen conversation.

At the same time, I have to cheer all the men [and there have been a lot] who have climbed on board, like Patton Oswalt and others, in terms of adding their voices to this tag which was created for women to be able to share their stories. One of the most powerful responses for me [which proved to me how valid and valuable this is] is women who commented that reading through the hashtag messages resonated with so much of what was said which combated the feelings many of them had of being alone. As with many of the Taboo Topics i share stories from on my blog [dealing with issues/experiences such as losing a child, abortion, infertility, even singleness] the power in them comes when a person who is struggling through something alone, finds that there is a larger community they are a part of, of people who at least in some way understand.

But reading through #YesAllMen [which i don’t even want to give a second of attention to by posting examples here or giving a link – some of the commentary there was pure filth] just backs up how important this conversation is and hopefully finding ways that we can make progress in that area, which is clearly the source of a lot of pain for many women.

CAN WE PLEASE STAY FOCUSED ON THE THING

And then there is also #YesAllPeople which i imagine may have been started by some well meaning person who thought that we should all be focusing on these issues together. Or very likely not – there seems to be a mix of comments on there ranging from sarcastic and well-meaning to aggressive and eye-rolling and more. But what it does is it takes the focus of a very real issue that has been raised and in some part says that it is not important or worth really listening to. This tweet sums it up so well:

So yes, there is probably a need for the idea of #YesAllPeople for a range of topics and issues and areas that need some focus and discussion. But this is not one of them. There is a need for men everywhere to be LISTENING and REALLY TRYING TO HEAR AND EMPATHISE AND UNDERSTAND what is being said. We will probably never ‘get it’ until the wolf whistles start happening to us and we can’t walk down a street with a woman following us and be in absolute fear or when we get judged by our clothing and treated in many ways like second rate citizens.

We won’t fully get it, but we can try to understand and we HAVE TO LISTEN!

I am a man. And i support #YesAllWomen. As the graphic at the top says, it should not have to be because she is someone’s sister or mother or daughter… but it should be enough that she is someone. And deserves our care and respect. Hopefully a day is coming when we don’t need to wear things like this:

Twitter fight

then, in case that was not enough, i got involved in my first ‘fight’ on the Twitter… [i know, too many people surprised it took me this long, it is possible i just forgot any others that occurred]

it revolved around the hash tag #SafetyTipsForLadies which someone that i followed tweeted and so i went to the link and read a bunch of them and was horrified by the way they seemed to be dealing with rape and violence to women in such a light-hearted and flippant manner… and so i commented on that…

which was not so well received:

Auragasmic ‏@Auragasmic: Rape Prevention Tips ARE A JOKE. “@BrettFishA: having read a bunch of the #safetytipsforladies tweets it feels like it’s a joke.”

Georgia Lewis ‏@georgialewis76:
@Auragasmic @BrettFishA Poor Brett has had an irony bypass…

i even got my own hashtag during it all:

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA Avoid being made uncomfortable by women discussing women’s issues by not clicking #’s you don’t like #safetytipsforbrettfisha

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
@BrettFishA No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying on the list of voices thar matter yours is near the bottom. Really near the bottom.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
.@BrettFishA Right. I’ve been sexually assaulted several times, but your opinion is more valuable because you are a man. I pity you.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
Ladies, make sure not to have an opinion around @BrettFishA. It might interfere with his Important Man Voice which is totally marginalized.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
@BrettFishA Your attempt to silence women and survivors of assault would be laughable if it was… wait, no, it’s just hilarious.

Liz ‏@childfreediva:
@Auragasmic @BrettFishA “Wear pantsuits at ALL times. Padlock undies.”

and some people did try to explain it all to me in a more friendly way:

James Thomas ‏@RightSaidJames:
@BrettFishA the hashtag is satirising the ineffective safety advice frequently given to women, no disrespect is intended.

Patric Nordbeck ‏@pnPsyPhi:
@BrettFishA @TheMotleyNews as long as its understood the joke isn’t rape per say, but rather the idiotic advice given.. by men.. to women..

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA I’m sorry about your wife, that should never happen! This thread is opening up a dialogue about how this happens too much.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA And how all too often, women get blamed for their “poor decisions.” I hope she’s okay.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA I can understand where she’s coming from. It’s just been in my experience, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA Sometimes the absurd has to be taken to task. By participating in this, women find their voices in all this ridiculousness.

Tania Jivraj ‏@TaniaJivraj:
@BrettFishA @TheMotleyNews comedy as resistance-highlights that rape prevention ‘techniques’ blame the victim and don’t target rapists.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA Maybe the people who actually experience those issues should make that decision?

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA No. Unfortunately your wife has experienced it. You have not. You will likely never know how that feels. You may sympathise…

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA … but you will never know what it is like to be sexually assaulted, the way that 90% or more of the women taking part have.

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA You’re missing the point. This hashtag is mocking the stupid tips women get to avoid getting attacked/harassed…

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA Instead of talking about this #, why don’t you talk you your fellow men about not attacking women, if you’re really an ally

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA But it feels great to let off steam after a whole life of everyone telling you it’s your responsibility to make sure…

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA …men don’t hurt you, that it’s your fault if they do. Oh, wait, you don’t know how that feels. So pls don’t tell us how to be.

and then Jaime sent me the link to the blog post explaining where the hash tag came from:

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA No one here is joking about rape. This is the post u should to explain how this started: #SafetyTipsForLadies, or Why Victim Blaming is Moronic which you can read if you click the link [warning: contains some language stronger than that which i traditionally employ in this blog]

i read the article and for the most agreed strongly with the sentiment expressed. but i still didn’t [and don’t] understand how that makes the hashtag Safety Tips for Women tips okay… i really don’t get it [and am open to having it explained to me in a bit more depth than a tweet or two allows, but i think this might be an ‘agree to disagree’ area as there are some topics like rape and molestation and so on that i personally feel should NEVER be joked about. ever. as in never ever. and i know there are people who think otherwise]

but then i scrolled down and read a couple of the tweets that according to my tweet lessons from earlier are “Women letting off steam”, “mocking the stupid tips given to women to avoid getting raped” and “opening up a dialogue about how this all happens too much”:

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb [who started the hashtag and began this all]

If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way #safetytipsforladies

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb

Do you have sensual long legs? Many rapists like sensual long legs. Consider chopping them off at the knees. #safetytipsforladies

Quirkythrope @jailawrites

If you’re raped, say “I’m a good girl!” Since “good girls” never get raped, the rapist will vanish in a puff of logic #safetytipsforladies

now clearly people are agreeing with this and giving consent to this [first tweet mentioned there got 917 RETWEETS 290 FAVORITES, third one got 292 RETWEETS 96 FAVORITES] but i am just not seeing it…

i really want to understand the point of view of those who think it is okay so please, if you strongly disagree with me here, take some time to write out a comment and share why you think it’s an acceptable response… i showed Val the article and some of the tweets and she agreed that she didn’t think it was okay. so it’s not just a man thing. i fully appreciate Jaime from Twitter who took some time to respond to me and who sent me the link, and also some of the others who gave helpful or insightful responses [even if i didn’t necessarily share the same point of view, i don’t think that matters but trying to learn from each other does]

the point of view i am approaching this with is that making light of rape in any way feels like it desensitises the word and make it less of the horrific, horrendous, evil thing that it should be kept in mind as…

so please chime in – if you take a look at those tweets do you think they are achieving anything good or just perpetuating what is already a horrific situation [or at least distracting from finding any real solutions to it?] do you think it is ever okay to joke about rape? would your response be different if you knew there was a rape victim in your direct audience? should it? would love to hear your thoughts on this. [or click here to read a conversation between me and Claudine that goes deeper into a lot of this]

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