This is Rape Culture — addendum to my Amanda Todd post

Trigger warning: description of rape, rape culture, misogyny, bullying, suicide

Something I didn’t really get into in my last post about Amanda Todd’s suicide is the misogyny, sexism, and clear and present rape culture apparent in the details of the case. I did originally write about it in my post, but decided I wanted to focus on suicide and not misogyny in that post, and that I could write a follow-up post later.

This is that follow-up post.

Most of the posts about Amanda attribute her suicide to bullying and tend to ignore the fact that it was more than bullying. It was sexual harassment. It was assault based on slut-shaming.

She was convinced to flash a guy on webcam. We don’t know if she was coerced or not, but it’s likely. Regardless, she regretted doing it.

Then she was stalked and harassed by a guy who had gotten a hold of a screenshot of that flash, who told her to “give him a show” or he’d distribute the picture to all her friends.

That’s rape culture.

The idea that men are entitled to women’s bodies, and that if they don’t get what they want they can force the issue — that’s rape culture. The idea that stalking and harassing a girl because she flashed someone once online is acceptable — that’s rape culture. The idea that she got what she deserved because she slept with someone who was involved with another person — that’s rape culture. The framing of the story by certain news agencies to moralize about how girls shouldn’t show their breasts on webcam because, oh, look what happens — that’s rape culture. The fact that no one is really talking about the misogyny, sexism, and slut-shaming present in her case — that’s rape culture. The comments on various sites by “trolls” — rape culture.

And social media has made rape culture more pervasive and more dangerous.
Continue reading “This is Rape Culture — addendum to my Amanda Todd post”

Bullying and Suicide — Justice for Amanda Todd

Trigger warning.

A teenager local to me committed suicide this week.

She’d been bullied and stalked and harassed for a few years, and it got to be too much to take. All over one innocuous action, what some may deem a screw-up, that just happened to happen on the internet.

You know, kids screw up. They do. When I was 13 I was not being safe on the internet. I wasn’t. I was cyber-sexing with random strangers and telling them…well, not super-personal details, but probably too much. I was also looking at porn and getting malware downloaded to our home computer. I was a kid and I was dumb. You’re supposed to be at that age. It’s supposed to be allowed. It’s supposed to be safe.

You’re not supposed to be stalked and harassed because you flashed someone online on a whim.

You’re not supposed to be stalked and harassed because you flashed someone online on a whim regardless your age. (Flashing people in the street? Whole other kettle of fish.)

And you know, people always start in with the “Well that’s what she gets for being on the internet,” as if being on the internet suddenly signs away your right to a private, happy, healthy life free from harassment. News flash: it fucking doesn’t.

A light has gone out in the world, and it’s because people are cruel. No one deserves to be stalked and harassed, and especially not to the point of suicide.

 

My heart goes out to Amanda’s family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. No one should lose a child like this.

My heart swells up with love for Amanda, and it is that love that pushes me to action. Love is always what pushes me to action, because “justice is what love looks like in public” (Cornel West).

And maybe right now my only way of trying to find justice is to write a blog post. To let other kids out there like Amanda Todd know they are not alone.

Please — if you are being stalked and harassed to the point of wanting to end it, reach out for help. I’ve blogged about depression and suicide before, and how my ask box on tumblr is always open. It is. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a message if you feel you need someone to talk to, because I have been there.

I’m not going to tell you that things magically get better, but things can get better if we put in the effort to make them better. But we have to be around to do that.

Nil illegitimi carborundum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Because you are amazing, and worthy of love, and they are not worth that. They are not worth you leaving like this.

Call someone. Please.

Hotlines to Call

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673

Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272

Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-439-4253

The master list of suicide hotlines is here: Suicide.org.