There’s a story that’s been running through my mind all week. It’s about a woman who posted a photo of her beaten face on Reddit after she was sexually assaulted, and the community responded by claiming that it “looked fake.”
One user claimed that since she’d used makeup to dress up like a zombie before, then it was probably fake. Another user claimed that he was a medical student (and therefore qualified to judge) and that the bruise just didn’t look genuine. Yet another user claimed that because the woman in question had mentioned previously that she has anal sex and that she likes being burned during sex, she must be faking.
The douchey Redditors didn’t let up until the woman responded, saying that she’s unsure of how to prove that the wound is real short of running a wet cloth over it and posting a video. They convinced her to do it. She did. Only then did they start going back on their previous judgments.
What disturbed me most about this story wasn’t the fact that there were a few douchebags on the internet. Rather, it was many of the comments on the Jezebel piece I linked to, which included the following:
Of all the places on the internet, why the fuck would you go to Reddit looking for sympathy and support?
This whole thing is pretty stomach turning. But I still don’t understand why one would want to take their story of sexual assault to a space like Reddit. It doesn’t, uh, seem like a safe space.
That’s what I was just thinking! Of all places, why would you post there?
The whole “You should have known better than to post here” thing gets really close to victim blaming, IMO. The Reddit community is perfectly fine with providing group therapy and noncontroversial messages of support 90% of the time. Safe spaces exist (though with all the transphobic shit occuring in /r/femisims, I’m not sure it is one), but that doesn’t mean you should expect to be harassed and denigrated in “unsafe” spaces. That’s akin to saying “Well of course you had some people catcall you when you went out in the street. Why didn’t you just stay at home, where it’s safe?”