Last week, our WA State Coordinator Caitlin Roper wrote about some of her experiences receiving violent rape threats for running Collective Shout campaigns. Her piece was published by The Guardian news website and sparked discussions about the ongoing issue of online threats by men to female activists and the weaknesses in law enforcement and social media systems to effectively deal with these crimes.
Last night, Caitlin and Talitha Stone were interviewed on ABC's Lateline, sharing their stories of activism and the threats that typically followed.
Watch the video here: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4121651.htm
Talitha recalled being targeted by Tyler the Creator's 1.7 million twitter followers with a barrage of threats and vitriol and the police's failure to adequately address the situation. Caitlin shared how her twitter profile had been copied and used to solicit sex to men on the internet in her name, and how the police response was to suggest she use a 'more plain' photo on her twitter profile.
Often our campaigns attract criticism, abuse and hatred, and our activists can be singled out and targeted with vitriol and threats.
There is a reason for this. When we use our collective voice to advocate for social change, we pose a very real threat to those invested in upholding the status quo, with women regarded as ‘less than’, as sexual objects for men’s use.
Our voices are powerful. Our opponents know all too well that together we are capable of creating change. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t spend so much time trying to silence us.
The very fact that some men online engage in making violent threats to women who campaign against the objectification of women highlights the level of misogyny that is still so prevalent in parts of the community, and why our campaigns are so necessary.