No, It’s Not Okay
Yesterday was a Red Letter Day: I received my first ever rape threat/wish from an alleged Trump supporter (actually, from ANYONE) after making the mistake of engaging a troll.
So you know, don’t tell me that rape culture is a figment of anyone’s imagination when some random guy’s go-to response to a woman calling him out for bad behavior is to make threats and wish rape on her.
I’ll make a note of a few things: I’m not a political animal, though I do have opinions; I’ve been online since 1994, I’m a gamer, and of course, I’ve been female all my life.
I’m also an entertainer, as a writer of urban and paranormal fiction.
While I don’t really make it a habit to discuss social issues or politics, I do have a vested interest in those subjects as a human being. Telling entertainers to keep quiet is, in my opinion, bullshit. We live on this planet with you. We’re not living in some mystical realm where things like politics and rape culture don’t exist. Our stories don’t come from nowhere: We take everything about the world, about humanity, and about our own experiences, and use it to create. (Note that just because we use all that, it doesn’t mean we’re supportive of everything that ends up in our stories, or that we share certain beliefs our characters have, etc. All of it is just common reality that gets woven into our fiction.)
And frankly, there’s always going to be a lot of stuff about us that you have no clue about so you aren’t going to be aware of our personal experiences with various issues.
To continue: I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, and saw a post by a friend that the above-mentioned guy felt the need to comment on. His comment was rude, as it involved shoving something up the poster’s ass.
(Note: I cuss. I’m well aware there are times and places you shouldn’t do it. There are people I don’t cuss around (well, “much” in some cases) out of respect for the fact that they don’t curse. When someone cusses at me, I tend to respond in kind.)
I can let things said to or about me slide off my back with a laugh or roll of my eyes in many cases, but I have a something of a protective tendency when it comes to family and friends.
So I suggested to the guy that maybe, he not comment on a stranger’s FB post if he was just going to be an asshole (they weren’t FB friends, he apparently was searching for posts in order to attack people for having opinions that differed from his own).
I have screenshots of the resulting “conversation” in which he threatened to “shut you up bitch” and told me to “take your ass to a Muslim country and get raped.”
Real reasonable guy.
I’ll go with his grasp on reality not being super firm, since I didn’t do what he accused me of (which was attacking Trump). He simply assumed I was doing that because I called him out for acting like an asshole.
In fact, I said nothing about Trump until a few exchanges in, and then I told him it was a good thing I knew that most Trump supporters weren’t assholes like he was, as he was behaving exactly like the stereotypical “Trump supporter” so many have been bitching about (spewing racist/misogynistic insults and comments).
He’d already decided I was some kind of “liberal fuck”, Muslim lover who wanted Sharia law—just from my suggestion that he not act like an asshole to complete strangers.
I set him up with two comments to see if his behavior would undergo a shift. The first was “assume much (asshole?)” and the second was “Dude, I voted for Trump. Do you feel like a dumb ass yet?”
It took him far longer to respond to that last one than it did for him to respond to any of my other comments. When he did, predictably, he was far calmer and apologetic for going off on me.
People, this is a huge problem.
Not just that one of his initial responses was to wish I’d go get raped, which is way too common a method used to attempt to shut down women when they speak up. But that he decided a suggestion that he not act like an asshole to strangers was politically motivated and began attacking the person who made it with name calling and threats, when all that person was actually suggesting was that a little basic human decency might be a good idea.
I’m a firm believer not only in that everyone has a right to their opinions—though if their opinion is directly opposed to firm facts such as say, the world really is round, I’m not going to take their opinions seriously—and that just because we’re full of opinions, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect flack when we decide to air our opinions.
But I kind of don’t think that flack should include threats, direct or implied, of physical violence and wishing rape on people.
Politics and other social issues aside, humanity’s in big trouble if people can no longer behave decently toward each other.
Common courtesy doesn’t cost anything.
(Note: My commenting system has been turned off for a long time, due to constant spam attacks. I’m not turning it back on for this post.)