Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why I am Boycotting Facebook

This is an actual picture that was posted 9 hours ago as of my posting at by  Nathanael Crucifer on a new page for Jessica Dahmer. (Update: as of 17:17PST page is down)

I am not returning to Facebook until it is a SAFE SPACE for all women and children.

Many people have asked me about why I have left and questioned my decision to remain "silent".

I am not silent.  I will never be silent. However, I will not spin my wheels on a site that does not provide basic safety for women and children.

Would you stay in a relationship where a man was beating you every day?

If not, then why would you devote your time and energy to a site that gives men a PLATFORM who rape, mutilate, beat and kill women - or even men who think any of those things are funny? Shouldn't we be starving this beast instead of feeding him?

Would you attend parties where men thought rape was funny? Would you hang out with lunch mates who showed off pictures of women tied up and gagged? Would you let your children be around known child pedophiles or pornographers?

Why do we look the other way when it comes to Facebook? Are we really that addicted to the rush of it all?

Until Facebook changes it's policies, many (thousands, millions??) of women will continued to be harassed, traumatized and abused online every day. I do not think it is difficult to make a connection between the threat of abuse and actual abuse.  Abuse almost always begins verbally and escalates.

I have known for nearly 6 months that women are being harassed and traumatized on Facebook. I have written articles about it and spoken up about it in every way I can. But nothing has changed.  I began to feel complicit.  As I stated on my Facebook page, I don't believe anything will change until  people refuse to participate and make their voices heard so that advertisers leave too.

I have felt an urge to leave for a long time. In my gut, I have felt that was the right and the only thing to do. But then there were the other voices that usually boiled down to one of three things.

#1 "You owe us somehow to stay."
#2 "It's 'only' threats"
#3 "You're letting them win."
 #4 The worst woman-hating one: "Law of Attraction"

#1 I don't owe anyone anything. The only people I owe my life to are my-self and my children. Even my beloved husband would never ask me to give up my life for him.

#2  Even if these are "just" threats - to trace my "IP house then come to my house in the night..knock you out take you back to my cellar where you'll wake up hung from the ceiling by meat hooks..cut of your feet and watch you try to run away on bloody stubs...follow the blood and crawl up on your face and watch my digestive juices eat away and your tender, tender flesh...slash you open and lick your pancreas and slobber all over you delicious internal organs...roll around in your blood and make love to a dead goat in the pit of necrofeciality....

or "meet with an unfortunate accident"... it is not worth it to me to become less of a person as a result. I will not give up my ability to be fully present to both of my children or in my own life. Not for an online account.  No thank you.

#3 I will not win by being killed.

There is nothing brave or heroic in my mind about putting my children at risk so that I can maintain an online presence on Facebook. None of my Facebook friends or the people who "like" my pages will ever replace either of my children.  

#4 If you really think this, please just don't have anything to do with me ever again. This is such an American ethno-centric way to think. Do you really think the women being raped now in Syria brought this upon themselves? If you would rather spend your life under a blanket feeling warm and fuzzy while pretending the rest of the women in the world does not exist - that is not something I can relate to. Whether you want to believe it or not, the things on Facebook will come back to haunt you sooner or later. If you have teenage daughters, they may already have. And if you are living with your head under the sand, you probably don't even know it. 

Several years ago, I was a housewife living in the suburbs.  When I set up my facebook account with hundreds of proud photos of my children, I never in a million years ever thought I would one day receive death threats on that very site threatening to find me by my IP address - where my same children - 6 and 9 years old - also live.

There are many feminists who do not maintain personal or even professional pages on Facebook.  Having a Facebook page does not make you a better person or a better feminist. I would also add that I find it to be extremely time-consuming. What would happen if we all put our energies elsewhere?

As recent articles have shown, it's not just men on the fringe participating in this harassment. I am sure we all have friends or family who are harassing women online, as difficult as it is to think that. I have to wonder how many people are hesitant to report "friends" or family. 

More and more, staying on Facebook feels like looking the other way. The image that keeps coming to mind is trying to seem like I am enjoying a dinner party while I know someone is in the other room raping my sister. How can I keep pretending everything is OK, when in fact, someone is just a few clicks away, electronically raping my sister - threatening to do it in person?

I realize most people have a personal or business stake in Facebook so they are unlikely to deactivate their accounts. That said, for me, staying on Facebook felt like I was perpetuating a system that glorifies rape/violence/mutilation of women. My conscience would not allow me to do that.

Wherever your conscience leaves you, I hope you speak up and force radical change at Facebook.


  1. Reporting facebook is not having any effects. The only way I can think of to do this is to ask for face to face meetings with facebook management to ask them to clarify their policy. If they agree, that's great, if they disagree, that's powerful evidence. I'm planning to ask for a meeting in London in the next couple of weeks, I have the name of the guy I want to speak to. I'm looking for a polite, non aggressive discussion. I'll blog the results on my Huffington Post page. I could do with some women to come with me and some women to do the same thing in California.

    I'm especially keen to speak to women lawyers who can help me with this.

    Any interest in trrying this the rational way?

  2. If you scroll down about 5-6 months back you will see some of the discussions we have already had with Facebook in a rational way. There are women who do want to pursue legal action.

  3. Have you actually had any face to face discussion with senior FB managers, or only with the bots that check the pages?

  4. No face-to-face meetings. I have been emailing with two actual people on a regular basis, one for about 6 months.