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Zerlina Maxwell challenges rape culture on Fox News, receives rape threats on Twitter.

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I’m still officially on my Man Boobz staycation, but I felt I needed to mention yet another example of a woman saying that men can stop rape … and getting rape threats in return.

Political analyst Zerlina Maxwell went on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News earlier this week and made the terrible mistake of suggesting to a hostile audience that men aren’t really doing any favors to women by telling them to arm themselves against rapists. Instead, as Salon notes, she said this:

“I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there.” She told Hannity, “You’re talking about this as if it’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone you know and trust,” adding, “If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.”

Indeed, increased rape awareness has contributed to a dramatic decrease in rape over the last thirty years.

But apparently a lot of men were shocked – shocked! – that a woman would suggest that their patronizing advice was less likely to prevent rape than rape prevention education aimed at the demographic group that is responsible for the overwhelmng majority of rapes. That is, men.

So, naturally, the angriest of these men decided they would show Maxwell just how wrong she was … by threatening her with rape on Twitter.

Here’s just one example:

Screen-Shot-2013-03-07-at-9.45.15-AM3

Rape culture in action.

Maxwell’s supporters have stepped up to defend her and her remarks, and have started a hashtag — #TYZerlina —  to continue the discussion. If you’re on Twitter, join in .

Here’s the Fox News segment in question featuring Maxwell:

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Karalora
Karalora
9 years ago

Well, I for one am shocked.

No, wait. The opposite. These guys are entirely too predictable.

Freemage
Freemage
9 years ago

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m NOT on Twitter, save for using it as a convenient log-in for sites I care about. I just have no desire in an unmoderated communication medium, and their Terms of Use simply don’t cut it. That image should be immediate grounds for Twitter giving the guy in question a hundred-pound banhammer, one that even deletes all of his old posts.

Tina
Tina
9 years ago

I wish this was a joke.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Actually that’s a good point. Why does Twitter allow clear, direct threats?

titianblue
titianblue
9 years ago

From what I’ve seen, Twitter leaves it to the relevant country to deal with. There’ve been various cases in the UK where people threatened on Twitter have reported it to the police. And there have been prosecutions.

No idea what happens when it’s international, though.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

What the fuck? How does this asshole think threats about rape are a good idea?

Thanks for proving her point about rape culture, dipwad.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

OK, do the men who make these kind of threats or spout the kind of stuff about cutting out the voice boxes of baby girls have no mothers, sisters, or other women in their lives? How do you carry that much dissonance?

ashley
ashley
9 years ago

It has never made any sense to me that rape, uniquely among all other crimes, is treated as something that cannot be reduced by targeting preventative services and programs at those most likely to commit the crime. Instead, programs are all targeted at altering the victim’s behaviour. Not even to reduce incidences of the crime, but to instruct the woman in how to make sure she is not the one the rapist picks to be his victim.
I firmly believe that our society has no desire to see rape reduced, it is too powerful a tool for fathers, husbands, and boyfriends to control women’s behavior. Using the threat of rape allows them the ability to monitor women’s locations, demand a say in their clothing choices, and easily veto their activities like partying and going out. Girls grow up expecting to be monitored and tracked in this way, “for their safety.” If rape threat went away, so does virtually the only reason women accept this control over them. Men and families could no longer pretend the control of women is benevolent. I think society has no desire to give up this control and I think the backlash against those who want to move rape prevention techniques away from the victim’s actions and onto the perpetrator is deliberate and purposeful.

cloudiah
9 years ago

WTF. Just… WTF.

Marie
Marie
9 years ago

@ ashley

Exactly. That’s a great way to put it.

Aye. Those guys making the rape threats. May they step on all the legos.

katz
9 years ago

From what I’ve seen, Twitter leaves it to the relevant country to deal with. There’ve been various cases in the UK where people threatened on Twitter have reported it to the police. And there have been prosecutions.

Of course that means that Twitter makes no distinction between “illegal” and “inappropriate.”

titianblue
titianblue
9 years ago

I can understand how Twitter justifies it to themselves. Kind of like “we’re just the paper you choose to write on, you are completely responsible for what you write”. Moral cop-out, of course.

furfle nurfle
furfle nurfle
9 years ago

Happy International Women’s Day.

LBT
LBT
9 years ago

I’d say this is ironic, except irony relies on their being some unexpected result. And let’s face it, is anyone surprised?

The rape advice DOESN’T work. Just… grah.

kamilla1960
kamilla1960
9 years ago

Outside of the US, the concept that everyone should be walking around with a loaded gun appears very strange.

kamilla1960
kamilla1960
9 years ago

..to most people.

pillow in hell
pillow in hell
9 years ago

Yes, I can just imagine how my walking around in Canada with a loaded weapon, to prevent rape would be seen.

Do they also recommend that I announce to everyone in my vicinity that I have a gun for that purpose every thirty seconds?

“I have a gun so I won’t get raped. I have a gun so I won’t get raped. I have a gun so I won’t get raped. ”

Of course, that advice will soon stop when men realize how uncomfortable trying to date or pick up women is. That really has to be a boner killer, having a constant background hum from all the women around you chanting “I have a gun…”

katz
9 years ago

Outside of the US, the concept that everyone should be walking around with a loaded gun appears very strange.

Appears pretty strange to people in the US, too.

marinerachel
marinerachel
9 years ago

You’re supposed to be on vacay, Mr. Futrelle. Or are you feeling reenergised?

I’m still as tired of these creeps as ever. Gang rape? Do they have no fresh material at all?

drst
drst
9 years ago

Twitter is probably using the idea of “common carrier” status, which is the equivalent of AT&T not being liable if someone uses their phone network to plan a bank robbery, or to send harassing phone calls.

However there are different degrees of responsibility that AT&T would have if those things happened – cooperating with police investigations, providing tools to individuals to help end misuse of their services, etc. The “block” feature on Twitter IMNSHO is not nearly enough on their end to meet those responsibilities.

blitzgal
9 years ago

And as Maxwell points out, this concept of the “rapist” as a stranger who jumps out of the bushes and attacks a woman on the street is not what usually happens, so most rape prevention techniques are not applicable.

blitzgal
9 years ago

Also, the comments at Salon are fucking vomitous. Sample:

you know what else might help in ending rape? if girls started give up the snatch often for as many guys as possible, that will solve the problem permanently !

He goes on to argue that suggesting that men participate in rape prevention is a “feminazi agenda.” And then brings up abortion. Because, natch.

LBT
LBT
9 years ago

RE: blitzgal

you know what else might help in ending rape? if girls started give up the snatch often for as many guys as possible, that will solve the problem permanently !

I’m disgusted by the number of people who believe this. (Including my own rapist.) If you were just a mindless robot with no boundaries, I wouldn’t violate them, now would I?

nerdypants
nerdypants
9 years ago

I really can’t wrap my head around that tweet. The best I can come up with is that jones17doug is implying that she doesn’t understand the magnitude of rape, that she ought experience it herself to teach her that lesson. Which is doubly bizarre considering that she implied she was a rape survivor herself.

The general conservative reaction to her comments of dumbfounded incredulity (e.g. here) makes a bit more sense if you take into account their likely assumptions and knowledge-gaps about the topic. The gun-carrying proposal itself implies that they believe that rape is likely to be stranger-rape. I think conservatives conceive of most rape in this way, as outsiders and psychopaths on the street. So the idea that simply talking about not raping or changing the culture to prevent rape is absurd to them, because one can’t reason with a psychopath. As Hannity himself put it: “Criminals are not going to listen to that”. With that misunderstanding in place, it makes sense that conservatives would be angered by her comments.

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