In Guest Posts, In the News

Ashley Judd stands up to Gender Violence and So Should You

Ashley Judd

It all started with an innocent tweet about her favorite team’s performance at a game, then all hell broke loose on Ashley Judd. This award winning actress and household name suddenly found herself bombarded with all sorts of hateful words, rape threats and online abuse. The difference is: she is not taking it lying down. Ashley Judd is standing up to Gender Violence and Online Abuse and so should you.  Here is why.

So Ashley tweets about her team’s failure, then she deletes the tweet because she felt it was inappropriate, although if you look at the timeline around the time of the game you would find a million other more offensive tweets from men that they haven’t found to be THAT offensive to post and it has passed quite simply. In an essay Ashley Judd publish on mic.com, she says “I tweeted that the opponent was “playing dirty & can kiss my team’s free throw making a—.”

Better learn the events from her.

  “What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually. I know this experience is universal, though I’ll describe specifically what happened to me.”   “I read in vivid language the various ways, humiliating and violent, in which my genitals, vaginal and anal, should be violated, shamed, exploited and dominated. Either the writer was going to do these things to me, or they were what I deserved. My intellect was insulted: I was called stupid, an idiot. My age, appearance and body were attacked. Even my family was thrown into the mix: Someone wrote that my “grandmother is creepy.””  

Here is how it made her feel.

  “Instead, I must, as a woman who was once a girl, as someone who uses the Internet, as a citizen of the world, address personally, spiritually, publicly and even legally, the ripe dangers that invariably accompany being a woman and having an opinion about sports or, frankly, anything else.   What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually. I know this experience is universal.”  

Then comes in my favorite part:

Ashley Judd is currently finding the best most successful “legal actions to take against gender-based violence on Twitter.” Even this article doesn’t still read well with some people on social media, till this day, almost a week after the tweet that started it all, Ashley Judd is still bombarded with sexist, abusive, chauvinistic and misogynistic comments on every social media website out there. As a woman with opinions online, much like Ashley Judd, her final words have inspired me to write about this. She says “I am handing it back over to those of you who are unafraid to speak out against abuse like I have faced, and those of you who are righteous allies and intervening bystanders. You’re on it. Keep at it — on the Internet, at home, at work and in your hearts, where the courage to tackle this may fundamentally lie. We have much to discuss, and much action to take. Join me.”

And I am doing just that, I am joining in on the conversation about online abuse especially against women. Remember the Steubenville Rape incident, the Vanderbilt rape case, and so much more cases of women who are beaten down, assaulted emotionally online and just told they deserve nasty things to happen to them?

This is the case for most if not all women online, yes, you disagree on something, have an opinion on something, choose to wear something or not to wear something, even sometimes just have a notable physical feature and most likely you get slammed, called names, slut shamed, verbally abused and threatened till you are forced into hiding. The truth is, deep down, there is something about women expressing their mind online that just registers abnormally within the World Wide Web.

It takes a village and it also takes men and woman alike to stand up to gender violence and unlawful treatment online and offline. So please, start having an open conversation with your friends and community members on gender violence and how we act and say online.

 

Author: Radwa Rashad, Online Editor of NoBullying.com, has been working on cyber safety, bullying awareness and women rights since receiving her BSc in English and Women Studies.An Editor and Writer by profession. She is passionate about all things tech and all things human. You can reach her for by commenting below. She always replies!

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