Too often I see people who call themselves feminists sneer at anyone who is either given the label radical feminist or who uses that label for not being inclusive enough. Often this comes from people who don't have a clue about the level of sexualized hatred directed at these radicals.
I don't particularly view myself as any sort of radical since opposing all forms of sexual violence, opposing all forms of sexual terrorism, opposing all forms of sexual exploitation and supporting the prosecution of all rapists and criminal sexual exploiters no matter who they are or who they pick for their victims seems like it should be mainstream. That it's not is what gets me labeled radical.
My demand for due process for all those who report being raped has caused people (non-feminists as far as I can tell) to write that they like the idea of bashing my head in with a hammer or that I deserve to have someone rape me again or to declare that I am definitely lying about having ever been raped.
For these people to then claim they are on the side of truth and justice is absurd.
For them it's not about the truth. Every now and again I'll get an incoming link that sends these people scurrying to my blog like rats and has them leaving anonymous comments behind that are as disgusting as rodent turds. I got howls of protests when I deleted criminal accusations left while comment moderation was off for the blogathon. I informed those who left the comments that I would repost them if the authors were willing to provide their legal name and phone number so I could verify that they weren't using someone else's name. None of those people has had the courage to repost their comments using their legal name.
They want to be free to attack at will, but they don't want to be accountable for their attacks.
Which leads me to Heart over at Women's Space who received a comment with the explicit and overt wish to turn Heart into a rape/murder victim.
When threats like this are just a typical part of a broader level of violence -- both physical and verbal -- describing the reaction to this violence as man hating turns all men into people who would leave comments that glorify bloody violence.
As a gay minister once told me over 20 years ago, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get you." I'm sure those who were or still are out to get him thought of themselves as completely in the right even if they put 1000% more effort into getting ministers like him out of the church than they do into getting rid of ministers who sexually abused parishioners.
To see the natural wariness that comes from this sort of sustained assault as man hating is to reveal that you see nothing at all. When people are being attacked from all sides, those outsiders who declare "I come in peace, let me in" aren't likely to be trusted or allowed in.
This isn't about discriminating against those outsiders, it's about the natural consequences of non-stop attacks. When the attacks cease then inclusiveness will become a possibility. This is why those doing the attacking will try to repackage themselves as the group under assault -- often while deriding others for playing the victim.
Frankly, those who will not stand in solidarity against this type of attack when the target is someone they believe is in the wrong, are not truly and absolutely against all forms of sexual violence. You don't have to agree with every position Heart or anyone else holds to stand in opposition to these attacks.
If you won't stand with her because you believe she won't stand with you then you are no better than you believe she is.
The position that some people hold that they are only responsible for their own words online and therefore can blithely say and do nothing as those around them attack others, including on the blogs or forums they run, is a pro-attack position.
I guess the bottom line is this: Do you have a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of sexualized violence including the making of direct or backhanded threats of violence?
If you answer with something that begins with, "No, but ..." then "No" is your final answer.
Labels: Violence Against Women