I always promise to write a post about something and then I don't update and a week or so later, end up writing an entirely different post, fired up at something else instead. So here goes.
I check social media platforms every morning when I wake up. I suspect some of you do the same. Whether it's twitter or facebook or tumblr, it's one of my sources of news rather than the traditional news sources. And I would say that the new are mixing, there are more and more news being brought to the table in social media, and I have had some great reads shared from awesome people. Today is no different. A great woman I know from school shared an article from Vice, titled "The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia." Please go read it, not only because it is a huge story, but also because the journalist took so much time and perseverance to make this story happen and it covers so much.
No seriously, please go read it.
As you can see, the article is about sexual abuse, namely rape and incest, that may or may not be happening in a large scale in Mennonite communities. After reading the entire article, which was five pages displayed continuously, I am in shock and disgust and haunted, interestingly, by the cleverly named ghost rapes. I am concerned, just like the journalist, that things have been, and continue to, break at the seams in all kinds of communities, influenced by modernity or not. I am interested in seeing what Johan Weibler, a leader of a dissident group, does next. But wait, if the dissident leader is a male, and the picture of him is him with his pick up truck and a few guys and young boys, what does that say about the dissident group even if it does succeed? What I want to know is what women like Agnes, the other survivors, or the unnamed woman who casually, but deliberately asked the journalist on her last day, "you know that it's still happening, right?" will do. Will enough of them, or just one woman, spark a fire in the rest, decide it's time to not only do something for themselves, but for all the women and the entire community, and make a change?
And then of course, while I'm still fussing over the matter at hand, by the time I'm at the end of the article I casually browse the comments section and that's what sparked me to write a post.
After reading about sexual abuse, the people of the internet abuse each other, as they always do, in the common arena known as the Comments section. Here's an exhibit, fresh off the top of the section.
Let's talk about it. A male expresses his sympathy, to which a passerby female is ENRAGED because his sympathy was expressed in a way that may stem from a perspective that regards abuse as something that completely ruins someone's life and nothing else. To explain, the woman is upset because while sexual abuse is devastating, we women do not want to perpetuate an image that we are fragile and one-dimensional, but that we are strong and dynamic and resilient and do not want to be seen only as victims, but as survivors. I do see that the original male may harbor a perspective that may diminish victims and their lack of recourse, but it's honestly too early to see. All he did was express sympathy. For all we know, this Eric guy hadn't even begin to think about the women around him and the way that the issue digs deeper in our own backyard. So we really don't know for sure if he thinks that this issue "ruins" the women's lives absolutely, or that it was so bad it was aiming to ruin women's lives but he supports them and knows that they can bounce back/do something.
And isn't that another problem? People are quick to abuse and accuse on the internet, so Natalie here was quick to say fuck you to Eric, and throw in her anger comment. And then of course, since a female is being quick to accuse and abuse a fellow male on the internet who is simply trying to express his first comment, although we don't know if his sentiments go any deeper from one comment, and it is easy to just express sympathy on the internet, a fellow male (? I don't freaking know, his display name is Hood Lum, so you tell me) decides he's gotta step up and defend him and oh, don't forget now, since she started being nasty first, you gotta be nasty back, it's only the right thing to do, AND CALL HER GINGER TITS.
Well, if you want to calm Natalie down, obviously the thing to do is point to her potential misunderstanding (to defend Natalie, I don't necessarily think she's missing the 'real' problem, I think she's just pointing to ANOTHER potential problem which can exacerbate the original problem, if you don't know what I mean by this, please tell me and I will explain at length), AND ALSO BE HOSTILE TO HER, BECAUSE THAT'S HOW WE GET PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO US, RIGHT?
And if that's not bad enough, Alek comes in with his witty internet sarcasm comment, which is real popular nowadays, the whole who's gonna be the next guy to say that one witty comment that will rule them all and make people screenshot the conversation and put it on popular content sharing site and they will live infamously thereafter thing. Alek is ready at hand to obnoxiously point out to people that hey, PTSD is a very serious issue, we shouldn't underestimate the extent that it can really 'ruin' (read: permanently alter) people's lives, on top of the problem of sexual abuse which caused the PTSD. But you know, it's the internet, so since Alek is so kindly and condescendingly telling people the simple truth, he's gotta tell people they're being "fucking retards."
This is why we all have such a love-hate relationship with the internet. Why do people who all seem to care about the issue need to argue about it in an unproductive way? Why can't we just tell Eric, hey thanks for the sympathy, but I hope you don't see the women as ruined one dimensionally and that's it because there's more to women than LETTING things ruin them and doing nothing about it, so I hope you support them to do something as well?
Why can't we tell Natalie, hey you're jumping the gun assuming something about Eric that we don't necessarily know, and hey that's rather mean to tell Eric fuck you, it's not really nice?
Why can't we tell Hood Lum hey, there's more than one problem here, since sexual abuse and how we see women and their lives are very intimately linked and important issues, but you are correct that Natalie was being mean, and oh wait, you also perpetuate being mean to people and that's not nice either?
Why can't we tell Alek hey, that's right, PTSD can indeed be very permanent, but there's no need to be condescending in a discussion and calling someone a retard is offensive and rude to those who actually are mentally handicapped?
Full disclaimer though, I'm sometimes mean to people in my comments on the internet, but I try not to assume and jump the gun. I just read everything until I've gathered enough evidence to conclude that this person's a jerk, and then try to say things in a long run-on sentence way that involves as little insults as possible, which may or may not work. But of course, the internet knows that as soon as someone objects, it's 'rude' to not let someone be 'entitled' to their opinion, and someone else will jump the gun, call me a crazy bitch, and say something else to add to the fire...