You will have no doubt heard that Grace Dent, Hadley Freeman and Catherine Mayer have gone public about threats they’ve received online. And it’s entirely possible that you hadn’t heard of them before this time. Call me cynical but getting threatened by some nutter certainly does work wonders in raising your public profile. Now of course if this was a very real case of actual bodily harm this would be very serious indeed. But in these recent cases – and by the victims own admission – it was obvious these were just silly little boys doing the threatening. So what to do – ignore and let the mentals live in their own little misogynistic fantasy worlds or call the police and publicly out the perpetrators. On the face of it – the latter would appear to be the correct course of action but how does that leave the ‘victim’? Well, exactly that – as a victim.
To illustrate – there is a park just a stone’s throw from where I live which is used constantly throughout the day by dog-walkers, joggers and people (like me) who use it as a short cut. On Monday at 11.15 in the morning a young woman was attacked by 16 year old boy as she walked across the park – she was stabbed in the shoulder. Did this young idiot think that he could get away with behaviour like this because of the way he perceives women learned from the way we’re portrayed in the media? Probably. Would he have had second thoughts because he had heard on the Today programme that Grace Dent had lodged an official complaint about the way strong women are targeted on the internet? Probably not. For myself – I was digging out my hockey stick and mace spray and preparing to cross that park with my best ‘just you fucking try it, pal!’ attitude. My point being the Grace Dents, Hadley Freemans and Catherine Mayers of the world don’t speak for me or my near neighbour walking across the park. I refuse to use the term ‘victim’ because I believe when you start thinking in those terms you’re on a downward spiral from which there’s no way back. So good luck to you Guardian/Time/whatever journalists waving some kind of feminist flag whilst also going on about where to get the best Shellac manicure but remember when you prattle on about being a victim it gives the impression that all of us female of the species are the same – and that’s the message that filters through to little scumbags we working class women have to come in contact with every day of our lives.
One final thought – it’s been stated that the police arrived promptly in the cases of the threats made to the aforementioned journalists – I hope they were just as quick regarding the incident in my neighbourhood the other day.