Today I’m taking part in Kerri Sackville’s #endviolenceagainstwomen campaign on Twitter. If you’re not sure what it’s about, let me catch you up. (I know I don’t normally talk about tough stuff very much here, but this is really important!)
One of my favourite – and one of Australia’s bravest – writers, Clementine Ford* has been the target of an unfathomable amount of online abuse since she started writing in the public domain. This abuse is becoming more and more offensive, threatening and downright scary and does not show any signs of letting up. Rather, it seems to be escalating as the cowardly safety-in-numbers dynamic coupled with the anonymity online communication can afford encourages more and more social media users to chime in and attack Clem. It’s the worst.
Today – a bunch of men and women in media (and beyond) are sharing the names and screenshots of comments aka threats that men have sent to Clem via social media. It’s a show of force against those who think it’s warranted or funny to threaten women with violence. A sign that we’re not prepared to let this go unnoticed.
While this campaign is aimed at online abuse, it’s also important to ponder how these people might treat their partners and family members in the real world, I think. Abuse in domestic relationships is a huge, far-reaching, deep-rooted tragedy that we urgently need to address – and properly resource domestic/family violence support services.
It’s also important to note that this kind of abuse is rife and is often used to silence women who dare to have their own thoughts or views. It’s not okay to silence women. It’s not okay to threaten women. It’s not okay to inflict violence or any other kind of physical or psychological abuse on women. It’s important to speak out when we see this is happening and find ways to overcome our fears about ‘speaking up’. (Because sometimes it can feel really confronting and scary, right? Especially if you’ve had experience of abuse in your own life.)
Violence against women is an ingrained social problem in our country (and others, sadly.) It’s up to everyone to play a role in calling it out and working to change attitudes.
If you’d like to find out more, head to Twitter and search the #EndViolenceAgainstWomen hashtag. If you have a strong stomach, you can see the extent of the abuse as documented on Clem’s blog here – be warned that it’s alarming. If you’d prefer not to read that, but want to find out more this article on The Drum is highly recommended.
Tomorrow I will post something woolly or something delicious. Today, though, let’s think about what we can do to keep women safer. We need to support the lady humans.
(*edit – and thousands of other women across the globe – Clem is one of many who’ve been subjected to this treatment)