Ignoring May Not Work

Snake warning sign So this morning started with me doing up spam protection for the website and, not so pleasant a chore, sending an email to Twitter support. Funny that my Twitter account is visible on my website, my Amazon books page, Facebook, and everywhere else…but they want me to send in a scan of my driver’s license too. Since this whole thing is to block a harasser (oh yes, I have stalkers and harassers, I just don’t give them much attention) I find it interesting that Twitter makes a point of saying that the other party may be given access to information about the claim.

In other words, a harasser/stalker could end up with a scan of my driver’s license. Which has, as you might imagine, a somewhat chilling effect on me getting this issue taken care of.

And before you tell me “just ignore them”, you might want to consider why ignoring harassment may not be a good idea for women.

Yes, that’s four different articles. This one, though, is what I want you to read before you start telling me “Just ignore.” Ignoring sometimes works–it’s one tool in the shed, as Gavin de Becker stresses–but what gets overlooked is the fact that ignoring takes emotional energy. For every bit of hatemail/harassment/social media hateshite that gets caught in the filters, there are many fresh pieces that require updating and repairing your walls. It gets exhausting, especially if you have stalkers who have nothing better to do with their time. That energy could be better spent writing books etc., but instead it has to be spent on “ignoring”, and it gets old. The drain can become crippling.

Not only that, but the emotional “hit” each time a harasser, stalker, troll, or just plain asshole takes it into their head to aim at you adds up. Over and over again, even tiny bites can eat a whale. (Like Melinda Mae in Shel Silverstein’s poem.)

I love hanging out with most of my Twitter buddies. I like Facebook just fine. I wouldn’t have the career I do without the internet, certainly. But the shit a woman has to deal with every day online makes me want to not engage, to just turn my back on things like Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., ad nauseum. It’s called a chilling effect, and I wonder how many voices and how much awesome we’re missing out on because it’s easy to harass people online without a social cost. Even something so simple as a quiet statement of “Your behaviour is not appropriate. Stop.” could work wonders.

The intent is to silence/terrify me. I have no intention of ever shutting up, mostly because I’m contrary and more stubborn than these assholes can ever dream of being, but the cost of dealing with the bullshit every day has to be factored in, and is a huge cumulative stress/drain. It impinges on daily life, it takes up energy that could be used to write books, and there is always the chance that it can turn deadly, if you’re a woman. There are news reports and stories about stalkers and harassers, whether they stalk online or offline, showing up physically to harm their victims. Funny thing: I don’t have a female stalker. (I suppose I should say “yet”, and isn’t that sad?)

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.

*sigh* And with that passel of cheerful thoughts, I’m off to have another snow day with the kids.

Over and out.

  • This tendency to put the burden of proof on a victim to show that they’re being victimized, rather than on the person doing the victimization to show that they have the right to victimize, basically, is very troubling to me.

    Much, MUCH less important than your situation but related is Twitter requiring a scan of a driver’s license to shut down clone accounts as well. There’s an impostor account under my name that I can’t do anything about, initially as scanning/faxing my ID was impossible, and now because my driver’s license expired and I have no other valid photo ID. Never mind that my own account is linked to on all social media and it is CLEARLY me, Twitter insisted the burden of proof was on ME to prove that I am me, rather than the clone account. And it’s a minor thing, not like the impostor accounts some people have meant to stalk/harass.

    Or when complaining about copyright infringement, I have to jump through hoops to prove I am the legal rights holder, when the person violating my rights had to go through no such thing. It’s maddening.

    And both of those things PALE in comparison to what victims whose safety is being threatened go through with policies that seem designed to protect those who seek us harm.

    It goes without saying (I hope), but if there is ANYTHING EVER that I can do to help, I’m just an email away. And I live in an area where no one will ever find the bodies…

  • Stephanie

    I had most of an empathetic, supportive reply going here, and somehow lost it. But you are right to point out that some people are just jerks, but some others are jerks “with teeth” , and that the burden is on the victim is illogical and emotionally draining and just unfair. I hope the appropriate parties at Twitter, etc. start taking this more seriously.