If you are a survivor of any kind, log off this blog.
I did not want to write this, but I felt I had to.
Today I watched Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism and Jaclyn Friedman of WAM! interviewed on Huffington Post Live about their successful Facebook ad campaign. Both women did a tremendous job in the midst of what I would consider some pretty heavy trivialization of this campaign.
I mean, really, 3 out of the 5 pictures the host used to demonstrate what we were protesting were completely ridiculous. One was a picture of cats. We are not talking about cats. We are talking about the rape and abuse of women and girls.
There have been campaigns in the past to deal with this issue, and we are, again, dealing with it.
That's why, personally, I don't want to be on Facebook. The site reminds me of an abusive boyfriend who keeps promising to stop hitting me.
Of course, he doesn't. But he can play nice for long enough to make you think he might. And he's pretty good at making you think that you are the problem.
What is missing from this debate are the women, myself included, who have been threatened with death and rape for protesting Facebook's policies.
Therefore, it is completely unacceptable in my mind that we should even have to *ask* advertisers to consider taking down their ads, let alone argue with them about it.
Why wouldn't they just pull them? Is this really something that needs to be thought over?
The photos that were posted to the Rapebook page, were pictures of *actual* women who had been beat up, with a very clear message intended for us if we did not remove the protest page. Here is one example:
|Picture 1: One of many pictures posted to Rapebook of *actual women beat up. Not photoshopped. Not memes. Trophy pictures.|
These pictures obviously came from somewhere.
Most of these were too horrible to post anywhere. But I think they are an important part of this discussion. It's easy to make light of memes. (Well, not for me, but apparently for some people it is.)
So, let me try to describe for you some of what we saw, posted to our Facebook page.
Picture 2: An obvious gang rape in action
A young teen girl in the frame with two grown men, her face in obvious tortured pain. One man holds back her arms. She is naked, her breasts still developing. No pubic hair in site as the other man spreads her legs apart: one hand between them, the other yanking her ponytail back.
Picture 3: Forced Blowjobs
A woman forced to her knees, in between two men who are in various stages of undress. One man is naked behind her, you can see the shadow from his penis and some public hair. He is yanking her hair back, her head tilted at an obscene angle so she can service the other man, whose pants are off. The expression on her pained face is anything but consensual.
Picture 4: More forced blowjobs by a child
A newly developing girl with breasts the size of peas has her hands held behind her back and her legs bound. Her body looks around 12-years of age, her hipbones bulge out of her thin body. The man is forcing his entire penis into her mouth, where you can see part of it bulging out of her cheek. It is impossible to see the expression on her face because he has her bound and held down smack down on his genitals.
Picture 5: An obvious rape scene
Picture a young girl on the floor sobbing. Her breasts are just starting to develop. She's in some sort of an awkward position on the floor with her legs spread apart and you can see part of the man's penis which he appears to be forcing her to stroke.
Picture 6: Another obvious rape scene from behind
The woman's face is in agony as he pulls her hair back and forces into her from behind.
Picture 7: Rape of a child
This shot includes several people. There are at least 2 men based on the sizes of their arms. One is very large, and his tattooed arm pulls back her hair. The girl is small and naked. She is newly developing, visibly crying and scared. You can tell from her face that she has been crying for a while. She does not have pubic hair yet. The other man's hand is up, as if to strike her.
Shall I go on? Because I can. Unfortunately this is just a small sample.
And then there are the pictures we found elsewhere...
Picture 8: A gang bang
One woman and countless men. All holes on her body are being penetrated by the 5 erect penises in site. Both hands are working on the other two. Perhaps consensual - hard to tell with porn - but does this need to be on Facebook?
Picture 9: A picture of a child's naked vagina
Yes, a child. Perhaps 10 or 11 years of age. No hips. No pubic hair yet. A little girl vagina. And many more off to the side.
Picture 10: A little girl posing in her underwear
This seems like a picture perhaps a parent took of a girl no more than 6-7 years. It clearly got into the wrong hands. One comment on this particular page, filled with images of girls in various stages of development or in this case no development at all, reads, "I want to see little girls nude".
As the recent rape videos posted to the site show, Facebook has become a platform for actual violence against women.
Many of us took an enormous amount of flack for our work on Rapebook. We were essentially told we were making a big deal out of nothing.
We could not share much of what we saw on other pages or even what was posted to our page because much of it did involve children.
But what we experienced was not trivial. This campaign is not trivial. Rape and violence against women is happening every minute of every day all over the globe. Facebook does not - and should not - be a platform to promote this violence.
So I hope women and men will make this campaign a priority. And, I hope advertisers will reconsider spending even a dime on Facebook.
As I said, I did not want to write this, but I felt I had to.
I wish I never saw the pictures that I viewed on Facebook. Part of me wishes I had never taken up this fight at all.
But I have a daughter. And God Damn it, Enough is enough.
As I said previously in my last letter to Facebook:
Facebook does not have to be a platform for rapists, pedophiles, men who beat up and kill women or other criminals. The way I see things now, Facebook is no better than a hotel owner who rents out a room to a creepy man with a half-naked child and listens to her scream while he counts his money.
Dove, Vistaprint and Audible: His money is coming from you.