Free Speech for ALL … except for Feminists

Julie Bindel has canceled her appearance at a University of Manchester Debating Union event on pornography and “empowerment”.  Bindel was invited to participate in the debate due to her long career of campaigning on women’s issues, feminism, lesbian and gay rights and against the sex industry. She has withdrawn after receiving rape and death threats; 3 of which she deemed serious enough to report to the police. 

In 2004, Bindel wrote an article for the Guardian using language that many deemed transphobic. Bindel apologised. Yet, Bindel has been forced off a panel by a campaign of harassment which included rape and death threats. 

Another feminist campaigner has been silenced by rape and death threats because people dislike what she has to say. And, somehow, this is Bindel’s fault. Bindel is being blamed for being the victim of rape and death threats.

The standfirst of the article in the Independent says it all:

The high-profile feminist writer and campaigner has dropped out of a student-run debate at the University of Manchester after allegedly receiving hate mail.

Bindel did not “allegedly” receive hate mail. Bindel was sent hate mail that included rape and death threats. She then handed it over to the police.

There is no “alleged” crime. A crime was committed and referred to the police for investigation. Whether or not this results in criminal prosecution is irrelevant to the fact that a crime was committed. I hope a criminal prosecution follows since the silencing of women by using threats of rape and death is becoming standard fare.

Rape and death threats are male violence. They are attempts to control and silence women. 

There are no excuses. No valid reasons.

Using rape and death threats to silence women just proves that free speech is only the preserve of men.

If your activism involves sending abusive or threatening messages to women you disagree with, you aren’t just doing activism wrong. 

You are doing humanity wrong.

#DickheadDetox : J.D. Salinger

I only read Catcher in the Rye for the first time last year. I thought Holden was a self-absorbed whiny pants who was in desperate need of getting a grip and growing the fuck up. I honestly cannot believe this is considered an American classic. I mean, I can. The vast majority of texts considered “American classics”are written by men obsessed with their penises. 

Until Sunday, I knew nothing about Salinger’s personal life. I’d like to say I was shocked by the article “Was Salinger to pure for this world?” in the New York Times but I would by lying. 

Famous, rich man preys on teenage girls and very young women. Where have we heard this story before?

Other than every other famous, rich man who groomed vulnerable teenagers and young women for sex. 

Salinger is just another creepy man who used his fame to predate on women.

He’s just another man for the #DickheadDetox

‘Death by fire’

I want to address some of the complaints I have received after posting this tweet on another blog recently as an example of online misogyny:

I haven’t included the name of the tweeter of this particular statement since I have seen similar statements tweeted out with increasing frequency recently. I find these statements offensive and misogynistic. I don’t think it matters who says it or who it is directed at: the statement “death by fire” is misogyny.

People get angry. They say stupid shit deliberately to harm others. When we lash out, we can be very cruel. But, there is a huge difference between lashing out in anger and wishing a specific group of people should die in a horrific and violent way. Wishing people dead in such a painful manner isn’t an acceptable response to anything. 

“Death by fire” isn’t a meme: it is triggering. 

It’s a common way women have been murdered throughout history. From the murder of Joan of Arc through the witch-hunts to the murder of women by abusive men today, “death by fire” has been used to control and punish women who step outside the bounds of acceptable female behaviour. Using this language at a group of women you disagree with is just another patriarchal control tactic.

I understand that many people disagree with me on this issue but I am not going to change my stance. It is never acceptable to wish a violent and horrific death on anyone. It is never acceptable to name specific women you want to die in such a violent manner. 

Women are oppressed. We experience oppression in a multitude of ways depending on our race, class, sexuality etc. We should not be compounding the oppression of other women by excusing the use of violent languages and images. 

How to prove you’re a misogynist in 10 easy tweets

I received this tweet last night after disagreeing with a man* on twitter over my use of the word misogyny. 

The conversation started with him tweeting his displeasure at my blog on the Michael Le Vell rape trial.  

Now, clearly this particular man has some trouble understanding the difference between being found not guilty and being proved innocent. That’s usually a huge indicator that the man isn’t going to like what I am about to say.

I asked him if he knew the misogynistic implications of the term “witch hunt”:

 His immediate response was that he didn’t like the word misogyny because he was once called it by another woman who disagreed with him: 

The irony of that tweet is that Steve only started following me after my public disagreement with the woman who tweets as @unhappyhooker.

Steve then goes straight to the “I’m disappointed in you” line so beloved by misogynists:

As Caroline Criado-Perez has beautifully pointed out: nothing screams misogyny more than men policing women’s behaviour online.

Poor ickle me: feminists are all meanie theory inevitably follows:

Just in case you’ve forgotten: Steve reminds us that men’s feelings are way more important than the belittling of an act of femicide:

I respond with the usual feminist argument that oppression is systemic and women can’t oppress men. We can be abusive to men but not commit oppression. Steve, who remember is NOT a misogynist, responds with this:

I tweet to tell him I will be blocking him for calling me nuts and stupid and he responds with this tweet: 

Congratulations Steve: you are an abusive, misogynistic man.

The Michael Le Vell rape trial.

I haven’t written about this case as I’ve been too horrified by the coverage and just didn’t know where to start writing. I’ve seen several news articles which have come perilously close to stating who they think the rape victim was. This is illegal and the CPS should be investigating a number of media outlets for prosecution. 

I’ve been dithering about buying a subscription to the Guardian recently but their coverage has been so disgraceful that I flat out refuse to pay to read it unless they run a front page apology for the rape myths and lies they have been propagating. The Independent needs to print an apology too. I don’t expect much from the Sun or the Telegraph or the Daily Mail but even they have surprised me with the disgracefulness of their coverage. Their collective guilt in perpetuating rape myths is the reason so few rapists are actually convicted. The next time a child is raped, I will be blaming the media for telling rapists that it’s okay to rape children.

This is what the coverage of the Michael Le Vell case has done: it has told every single child victim of rape that they are liars and no one will believe them. It has told every single child victim of rape that they are to blame for being raped. And, they have told the men who rape children that they can do it with impunity because the media will support them.

If the government would like us to believe they actually give a shit about child victims of rape [and women], they need to do the following: 

  1. Anonymity for rape victims must remain a fundamental tenet of our justice system.
  2. Rape victims should never be required to testify in open court.
  3. Rape victims should never be required to testify in front of the accused.
  4. Rape victims should be entitled to their own legal advisor. The defendant has a lawyer. So should rape victims. And, no, the prosecution is not the rape victims attorney.
  5. Rape myths must be legally prohibited from being used as a defence tactic.
  6. The CPS and judiciary must undergo constant (re)training on rape myths.
  7. Juries must be giving training on rape myths before the trial starts which includes the real definition of what a “false accusation” actually entails [since we consider rape victims who withdraw their complaints as “false accusations” this is absolutely necessary].
  8. The “sexual history” of a rape victim must be banned. The defence should have no legal right to undermine the credibility of the victim by discussing their “sexual history”.
  9. The press should be prohibited from publishing the specific details of the rape. It is enough to say: X has been charged with child rape.
  10. Anyone who attempts to identify the victim should be prosecuted. The punishments in the Ched Evans case were not enough. 
As long as our legal system treats rape victims as liars and continues to pretend their are grey areas to rape or that the cases come down to “he said/she said”, rapists will continue to rape women and children content in the knowledge that no one will believe their victims.

Just ask every single child raped or sexually assaulted by Jimmy Savile.


UPDATE: Before commenting on this piece, please read my policy on comments and content. Any abusive comments calling a rape victim a liar will immediately be deleted. If you do not know what the most common rape myths are please read this piece on Sian and Crooked Rib or this piece at Rape Crisis.

Have you ever lied about reading a book?

I love lists of books. They make me ridiculously happy. I also love rooting through other people’s bookcases. Never mind this bathroom cabinet/ handbag twaddle. Rooting through people’s bookcases are the way forward.

Yesterday, the Guardian ran a piece on a survey of only 2000 people which suggests that a large number of people have lied about reading a book. Now, I’ve never lied about reading a book but I definitely own the 5 books that I haven’t read from the list below. I keep meaning to read them but they look so dire that I’ve never actually gotten around to reading them.  

The top 10 books people claim to read but haven’t 

1 1984 by George Orwell (26%) 

2 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (19%) 

3 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (18%) 

4 The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (15%) 

5 A Passage to India by EM Forster (12%) 

6 Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (11%) 

7 To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (10%) 

8 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (8%) 

9 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (8%) 

10 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (5%)

Of the list above, I’ve read 1984, Great Expectations, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice. I hated Catcher in the Rye. It bored me senseless.  I enjoyed Great Expectations when I read it at uni but it remains the the only book I’ve read by Dickens. I’ve only read a few others by Orwell. I think only Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm but I may have skimmed others at uni [although that is very unlikely]. Jane Eyre has never interested me. In fact, the only book written by a Bronte sister that I have read is Villette which I really, really enjoyed but not enough to delve into Jane Eyre.

To Kill a Mockingbird is flat out one of my favourite books and Jane Austen is one of my favourite writers ever. I can’t recommend them highly enough. 

As for the other five on the list, well, I doubt I will ever get around to reading Lord of the Rings. I loved the Hobbit but I was bored senseless by the first three chapters of Lord of the Rings. Of the other four, I will eventually read Jane Eyre but the others loose out on my policy of reading only books written by women to combat cultural femicide. To be honest, I was shocked that there were three books written by women included on the list although the fact that men haven’t read them is hardly surprising.

#DickheadDetox: Chris Beach for being a dickhead

Chris Beach is the dude who spent several days last week lecturing Caroline Criado-Perez on her behaviour. If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know precisely what I think about Beach but for any newbies: he’s a misogynistic, pansplaining arsenugget in desperate need of falling off the side of the planet. 

But, Beach wasn’t content with harassing Caroline on twitter. He actually went and posted on Caroline’s blog. I didn’t think it was possible to be more hypocritical, nasty and utterly fucking pathetic but Beach has joined PETA in the ranks of stupid arshehats and he posted this bullshit on Caroline’s brilliant blog post on why she was taking a twitter break:

September 9, 2013

It’s a shame you belligerently refuse to accept that maybe “don’t feed the trolls” was actually good advice that could have saved you a lot of pain and humiliation on Twitter. The way you have reacted (as opposed to acted) on Twitter is, I hope, a lesson to all trolling victim.
Your work on the banknote campaign was a positive thing. It’s a shame you overshadowed this with your loud, shouty, reactive slanging matches with both trolls and a bunch of well-meaning concerned people. I hoped that after some reflection you might have time to reassess your own tweets. Seems not.

This is precisely why I don’t want men in feminist spaces. It doesn’t matter how many good ones there are, these fucking arseholes who think they have the right to dictate how women react to rape and death threats always show up. 

So, for the very last time for the terminally fucking stupid:
Trolling is NOT sending rape and death threats.
Violent men send rape and death threats.

If you genuinely think trolling includes threatening to rape women, then you are too stupid to be on the internet.

Frankly, you’re too stupid to be on the planet.

My Speech from Women’s Aid Conference on Cyber Stalking and Online Harassment

Alison has discussed the beginnings of our campaign as well as the spectrum of online misogyny. Before I speak to some of the specific examples of online abuse brought to the attention of EOM, I want to talk about some wider examples of the consequences of online harassment and stalking in terms of women’s access to online support.

There are several obvious consequences of online harassment and stalking all of which are designed to silence and isolate women, particularly since online communities have become a lifeline for many women. For women with caring responsibilities, life limiting conditions and disabilities, social media can be their main access for contact and support. Women in abusive relationships or who have experienced sexual violence are increasingly looking for safe spaces online to discuss their experiences as specialist services for women are being demolished by “austerity measures”.

The increase in cyber stalking and online bullying is eradicating what should have been safe-spaces and succeeds only in further isolating women.

Parenting Websites

There are a number of parenting sites based in the UK that are dominated by women. These function as both support sites and places just to “hang out”. Whilst the positive impact of these sites for women cannot be underestimated, they can also be used as ways of controlling women’s behaviour.

Despite anonymity, abusive men have managed to track down their partners and stalk them online. There have been a small number of cases wherein abusive men have threatened to use women’s as “evidence” of a woman’s “unfitness” to parent in court. The threat has been sufficient to result in a number of women having to have their entire posting histories removed because of stalking by violent ex-partners. While this may sound inconsequential to those with offline support, for women who depend on parenting websites the removal of an entire posting history is detrimental to their emotional welfare.

More commonly, sites like Mumsnet which have an active feminist community, are also targets for abusive men targeting any vulnerable women. Abusive men have taken to posting on the relationships board. Very frequently, posts on the relationships board are by women in abusive relationships asking for support or simply for someone to name what is happening to them, especially around the issue of rape in marriage.Abusive men post on these threads in order to minimise male violence but equally to gaslight women into believing that they are over-reacting to the abuse. Unfortunately, some women do collude with the abusive men although in many cases these are women who are not yet ready to confront the abuse in their own relationships.

The relationships board on Mumsnet is perhaps one of the safest feminist spaces online. The abusive men get very short shift from long-term posters but the fact of the matter is that these men, either singly, or from “invasions” of men from Fathers4Justice, Reddit, and a number of “car enthusiast” sites are deliberately targeted mostly women spaces in order to harass and stalk women. Sometimes it is to target women they know but frequently it is just to harass random women on the internet. These men do not make outright threats of violence but their behaviour is clearly designed to harass women.


[Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Game and First Person shooter with multi-player functionality]

The misogyny within the online gaming community is well documented with women frequently being targeted with abusive language, sexually explicit language and, increasingly, threats of sexual violence. Many multi-player online games have chat functions which can, and are, used by abusive men to send threats of sexual violence and abusive language. Along with female avatars, which consistently present women as sexually objectified, online games allow male players a space to sexually harass women. Stalking has become an increasingly common phenomenon. I have heard numerous stories of teenage girls pretending to male when playing these games in order to stave off sexual harassment from adult men.


Facebook’s toleration of online misogyny and abuse is equally well documented. The secret and closed group function on Facebook could have been a very safe space for women to interact, however, Facebook has made it perfectly clear that the safety of women is not their concern. They allow pages threatening rape to be posted. “Revenge porn” pages are abundant and Facebook has refused to remove videos of women being raped.

The recent campaign against Facebook’s problem with misogyny led them to acknowledge that it has a problem but without actually doing anything about it. Instead of being a safe space, Facebook has made it clear that they are only interested in protecting men’s rights to sexually humiliate, stalk, harass and threaten women.

Examples of Abusive tweets sent to EOM

As Alison mentioned, our campaign was in a direct response to the attack on Caroline Criado-Perez, however abuse of women on twitter is not new. The woman raped by Ched Evans was the victim of a coordinated attack by Evans supporters which included releasing her name online. EDL members have a well documented history of sending racist and misogynistic threats to women. There are literally hundreds of thousands of examples of twitter accounts opened with the express purpose of abusing women and which twitter has consistently refused to close.

These are just a selection of abusive tweets that have been brought to the attention of EOM in the past few weeks. I have redacted names for this paper.

  • Oh, I’ll rape you so hard, you’ll forget your name. 
  • All, I can think of is [redacted] fat pussy rubbing against my ass cheeks. Dem cheeszy skidmarks 
  • Ironic you show a fist, as you’re quite partial to a bit of fisting you ugly fat trollop. Still can’t feel it in your big vag. 
  • #DearTerfs I hope you all die in a fire. You don’t deserve to be called “women” 

I won’t mention anymore as Caroline has already presented a selection of the horrific abuse directed at her.

The fact that twitter allows this abuse to continue unabated and flat out refuses to permanently ban violent men from sending threats makes Twitter another unsafe online space.

We are #shoutingback because we will not allow violent men to control online spaces. 

We are #shoutingback because no woman deserves abuse.
We are #shoutingback to show just how common online harassment of women actually is.

We are #shoutingback because women are human too.

Bill Walker, Domestic Violence and Politics

Yesterday, Bill Walker, MSP for Dunfermline, “resigned” from the Scottish parliament. This was not because he had a sudden crisis of conscience following years of domestic violence against three partners and his step-daughter. He did not resign following his conviction for these crimes. Bill Walker only resigned following a massive campaign by Scottish feminists, a little fact which the media is once again ignoring.

If politicians want women to believe they take male violence against women seriously, then politicians need to step up and act. No one with convictions for domestic or sexual violence should be allowed to keep their seat in parliament [whether that be Westminister, Scotland, EU or the House of Lords]. Anyone charged with these crimes should be suspended until the court process has been completed. Anyone convicted of these crimes should be banned from serving in parliament. 

The rule for allowing members of parliament to serve if convicted of a crime and serving less than a year in prison is problematic. It doesn’t take into consideration the very low sentences given to men convicted for violence against women. MVAW is systemic. We need our government to make a clear statement and prohibit men who commit domestic violence from serving as elected members of parliament. 

There are also some serious questions to be asked of the Crown Office & Prosecutor Fiscal Service. But, these questions won’t be asked unless the government itself makes a clear statement about the seriousness of male violence against women. 

Bill Walker has resigned from the Scottish Parliament after pressure over his domestic abuse convictions.

The independent Dunfermline MSP was found guilty of 23 charges over three decades at a court in Edinburgh last month. When the allegations were made public, he was ejected from the SNP. He is due to be sentenced in September. More than half of Scotland’s MSPs supported a motion calling for him to go.
In a statement, Walker said:
It has been increasingly difficult for my wife and my staff to deal with the media interest in my case. That same media onslaught has also made it impossible to properly represent my constituents and their interests.
My trial process on domestic abuse charges still continues at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with the sentence not due to be announced until September 20 after the receipt of the reports ordered by the court. However, circumstances have made it very difficult to continue as MSP, hence my decision to withdraw now.

#DickHeadDetox : Roman Polanski

Dear Roman Polanski,
I understand, via the Guardian, that you are feeling a teeny bit persecuted followed your 2009 arrest in Switzerland. And, also somewhat confused as to why a judge in 1977 chose to overturn your plea agreement.
Allow me to explain this to you in simple terms:
You are a convicted child rapist.
You drugged a child with quaaludes.
You raped and sodomised a child.


Then fled the US to avoid jail.
Because you felt entitled to rape a child.

You are a violent sexual predator who went on to have at least one more “sexual relationship” with a teenage girl.
The fact that you felt more persecuted for an extradition request from the US speaks volumes about your entitlement and violent behaviour.
You deserve to be in prison.
The fact that you aren’t is because men think they have the right to rape whoever they want whenever they want.
Nothing you have done, no film you have made, is worth more than the life of the child you raped.
I’m glad you feel persecuted.
You deserve to be more than “persecuted”.
You deserve to be in prison.
I will personally be hosting a party on the day you die.
Regards, Stewie