When Victim Blaming Escalates.
Yesterday James the editor of rock magazine Kerrang! tweeted a link to an article about victim blaming. In it the survivor relates her harrowing experiences of being told she was complicit in her violent and brutal rape.
Later a clearly horrified James retweeted a horrible bit of victim blaming where some bloke called her a "stupid bitch" for getting into the rapists car.
I tweeted to this guy that rape was never the victims fault, she did not have to "share" responsibility. The rapists fault, the rapists responsibility. He didn't reply, I hoped I'd given him something to think about and got on with my evening.
This afternoon out of the blue he decided to reply "I'm not victim blaming, I'm saying she didn't help herself getting into the car" How's that for CLASSIC victim blaming? I wanted to facepalm at this point but replied in a calm manner "A rape is always the fault of the rapist, instead of telling women to change their behaviour, tell men to stop raping."
I went over to his timeline to see if I could get some insight, is this just a misguided person? Was it worthwhile trying to talk some sense into them? Would they take anything I said on-board?
A quick scan of his timeline told me no, no this was not someone I could reason with, I noticed he'd been arguing with others who had pulled him up for the same thing. He was repeating his offensive opinions that victims are somehow complicit in their rapes and throwing in some Just World Theory rubbish for good measure "It wouldn't have happened if she'd had more sense/used her brain." Then I noticed he was laughing and saying how much he was enjoying this.
Disgusted, I told him he was sick for enjoying it and some of the stuff he was tweeting is exactly what rapists say.
This angered him so he tweeted back to me but disturbingly @ in a girl, who from her profile appeared to be mid teens, he threatened to rape her. I was horrified and said I hoped she would report him to the police as that was a direct threat.
His response was to threaten to rape me too "Male or female I'm not bothered. SQUEAL PIGGY!"
At this point it was clear this was not a good situation, I needed to do something. What if he knew this girl in real life or had a way to find out her details? I was the responsible adult here and must act.
I DMd a friend to ask if she knew where I could report this to Twitter, this was no ordinary "report for spam" situation. I wanted them to more thoroughly investigate. While we were talking in DMs discussing taking screenshots in case he deleted his tweets another friend had spotted what was going on. She tweeted to me that she had reported him and recommended I contact my local police to pass on my concerns.
He noticed this and in full angry ranting caps lock tweeted at us both "I'LL RAPE ALL OF Y'ALL. DAMN!"
By this time I had been given the link to report abuse and was filling in the online form. That done I blocked him.
The friend I'd been getting advice from in DMs tweeted to him that there was no point deleting his tweets, they had been screengrabbed and sarcastically wished him good luck explaining himself to the law.
Despite me blocking him he still kept trying to @ me in on tweets(clearly not a fan of boundaries, huh?) Then wondered how the cops would even find him. I dearly hope he gets to find out.
He decided to tweet to my friend she would find out what size his penis is, did she want to get raped too? He may as well rape her, he's already going to rape three of us and he's "on a roll."
I was a muddled mess of feeling furious, shaken and sick but this spurred me on to find the email address of the police. I fired off an email saying, thankfully, my real life name/location details aren't online so I did not feel that it was a credible threat but was concerned for the young girl he had added to our conversation earlier. I included the screenshots of his timeline and told them I was happy to provide any more information should they need it.
Five minutes or so after I'd sent the email it what had just transpired hit me. I was shaking so much I couldn't hold my cup, I felt anxious, sick to the pit of my stomach, panicky, massively triggered and weepy. How DARE this person do this to people! His awful victim blaming in the first place was bad enough, but to then seek out women and girls to abuse in this way is despicable. Enjoying and laughing at the power trip of threatening women with rape is one of the lowest things I can think of.
A few hours on and I'm still feeling a bit shaken, my hands are trembling so much this has taken and age to type. I have a recurring thought that is gnawing at my brain...he believes this stuff, he really does, he thinks it's ok to threaten women and girls with rape if they disagree with you. He thinks it's ok to blame a rape survivor and called her a "bitch" (gendered language too, for the full bingo card of misogyny and hate) And he's out there somewhere. He doesn't just live online, he's out there in the real world, probably with female friends, colleagues and family...and deep down this is how he feels about women. Terrifying.
If you are ever in a similar situation on twitter this is the link you need https://support.twitter.com/forms/abusiveuser I'm including it here I had difficulty finding out what to do if it's a more serious situation. I hope it can be of help if you ever need it.Download this post as PDF? Click here