On the rest of Christian Munthe’s post on internet harassment in Sweden and in general.
The behaviour of the “net haters”, as the established term has come to be, is often equivalent or very close to criminal harassment, libel or threat. However, existing laws are obviously not constructed for a situation where these sort of patterns are the rule and occur in a systematic and coordinated (albeit perhaps not always in a specifically planned) way.
That’s an interesting point. So a one-off is criminal but a systematic campaign is free speech?
At the same time, as had it been pre-ordered, we have another sort of reaction – the idea of the haters themselves as either victims or, at least, guiltless due to structural forces that direct their actions. The former type of reasoning is, of course, a well known spineless tactic from the new racist movement – it’s your own fault that you’re being attacked, you should count on it when saying such things as you do. Not so little resembling the rapist’s or molester’s so-called defense that “her dress/smile/dance/intoxication made me do it” (surprisingly similar to the orthodox islamist motivation for obligatory veils for women, by the way).
Well that certainly is their official view. I won’t let them post mildew here, therefore I deserve whatever they choose to dish out. They think I should stfu, so they try to make that happen.
It is of extra importance to note that the institutions of free speech, opinion and expression in liberal democratic societies in fact rest on the presumption that people keep within the sort of moral limits just set out. It may of course, be debated exactly how harmful a behaviour needs to be for the limits to the just mentioned freedoms to be approached. But what in any other circumstance would be considered as unlawful threat, libel or harassment is clearly residing in this territory.
It’s very important to note that, because in fact threats and libel and harassment do inhibit free speech, opinion and expression.
I am really fucking tired of people who have harrassed, stalked and threatened women I look up to and love being treated (by people like you) like they have some rational points, and we are just having a jolly chummy academic argument. Ask Jen if she thinks being harassed off the internet was just a “difference of opinion about the roles of women”. Ask Ophelia. Ask Rebecca. Fucking ask any woman in this thread.
Because this “fight” has been about and remains about my fucking dignity as a human being. My right to inhabit atheist spaces without fear of reprisal or attack because of my gender. My right to be represented by other women.
I saw that comment late in the day yesterday, and it was helpful to me. I was feeling very over-harassed yesterday, and Cyrano’s second paragraph there reminded me that shit that’s done to me is also done to all the women who are aware of it. (Mind you, a few of the women who are aware of it are fine with it, I suppose because they think it will never happen to them, and perhaps it won’t.) Today Cyrano said, replying to me, how it does inhibit her free speech, opinion and expression.
I really think that the reason you’re targeted is because you’re public. That’s it. Its nothing that you’ve done to bring it on. It could be any one of us. That’s why I say, “When they do it to you, they do it to us.” Because I’ve no doubt that they would harass, stalk and attempt to run ANY OF WE WOMEN off the internet if we dared to talk about sexual harassment or feminism on a popular blog. And the harassment, while targeted at you, has enormous splash damage. *I* am offended and angry and feel hated, trapped and afraid because of these people. *I* have decided not to go to conferences because of them. *I* have curtailed my net presence because of them.
I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have it directed at myself, day after day.
That shouldn’t be happening. It shouldn’t.