When Blogging Imitates Real Life Rape Culture

Trigger warning: discussion in links about rape/violent assault.

This is going be short just because I don’t have a ton of time to spare, but let’s just say I’m incredibly disappointed with a blogger this morning. It’s not really in my nature to name-and-shame but to see the same stuff in the blogging world as I see in real life compels me to say something. I don’t know the “story” very well, just been seeing it via links on Twitter and then this response. 

Long story short, a blogger in the “gold-making” circles (which is a subject I do not really follow in the blogosphere), has been posting lately from a hospital after being attacked viciously by 5 men. Other gold bloggers feel concerned about her plight and organize a White Ribbon show of support (White Ribbon is an international group concerned with stopping violence towards women). She’s obviously in pain and still blogging, and another blogger (Critical Goblin) feels compelled to talk openly about how he thinks she’s making it up, or it is really a scam by other people.

Really?

Really?

Now, I admit I don’t go through some of the links on her blog, I didn’t like the idea of click-through ad/sale links and I’m a fairly savvy Internet person. But some dude on a blog philosophizing that her story is untrue because “this isn’t what I’d do if I had something serious happen to me” falls right in line with what people do to rape/assault victims every day: not believe them. Why is what you think you’d do in the event of you being attacked important here? You suggest that people do not talk about rape because they don’t want to tell the whole world. Why do you think that is, Critical Goblin?

Because people shame them into silence. They don’t believe what horrible, terrible thing happened to them.

Look, you can not want to donate or whatever. I get that. Giving money on the Internet requires a leap of faith these days unless you can verify the donor. But the charities being presented in Gold Queen’s posts are legit and do support really noteworthy things. But leave your gross, rape culture views out of it. Or perhaps realize that this isn’t your life to critique. Rape victims should be allowed to speak out in whatever way they feel comfortable doing, even if you think it isn’t how it should be done. On the Internet where we are allowed to talk about being sad about killing Internet dragons, someone should be allowed to use the slight bit of anonymity the Internet gives them to discuss something that is painful and terrible that happened to them. No one should feel silenced.

Frankly, if this really is a scam, I’d rather go down defending someone or something fake rather than disbelieving a story from a rape victim.

Update:

Critical Goblin has amended his post a bit to reflect the criticism thrown his way. I don’t think he fully understands the gravitas or true argument being presented here but that’s the problem with people who have never had to deal with this in their life. It blinds you to how harmful it really is, and combined with societal expectations for victims to “act” a certain way…well, we can have that conversation another time.

If you feel compelled to do something, you can support The Gold Queen by putting a White Ribbon on your blog, for her and other women touched by violence and assault. You can also donate to White Ribbon.

33 Responses

  1. Pingback: TW: Rape culture, violent assault. [ 6D ]

  2. Pingback: The 'mental Shaman » That sickening feeling

  3. I haven’t been keeping up with blogs lately – and now I’m especially sorry that I haven’t been. Critical Goblin, that is really, really shitty of you. I do wish Gold Queen a swift recovery. I can’t afford to donate right now, but I’ll definitely be passing around the links. Oi. :(

    • I only found out about CG because of Gazimoff. I was vaguely aware of the TGQ via Undermine Journal on Twitter, incidentally. It’s kinda sad that her story sorta floated out of my head until I saw the douchehattery. :(

  4. I can’t articulate how I feel about this. Why does ANYONE think there is a right and a wrong way to respond to being abused in any way shape or form?

    When it happened to me, I told EVERYONE I knew. To protect them from the person that did it and to work it out in my head by talking to others. When it happened to a friend, she withdrew from all social situations. And yeah, both responses were COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE.

    Questioning her ethics on gold selling and PPC ads is one thing. Questioning whether she was raped? For shame.

    • I can’t help but think that most people (who haven’t experienced rape, whether to themselves or someone they care about) can’t cope with anything but the silence model. It’s easier to pretend it doesn’t happen that way.

      @Cider, thank you for the post. Hopefully, the goblin concerned will learn to be less critical on certain subjects.

      I noticed this in his post:

      “Or maybe its the weird feeling that, if Critical was involved with a traumatic incident (for example a car accident), my wow blog would be the last thing on my mind behind Personal wellbeing, Kids, Family etc”

      I’ve had friends wake up from general anaesthetics talking about counterstrike and the smurfs, the brain is a strange and wonderful thing. What you might think your priorities are on dealing with trauma and what they are actually are, could be two completely different things.

  5. “Frankly, if this really is a scam, I’d rather go down defending someone or something fake rather than disbelieving a story from a rape victim.”

    So much this.

  6. Excellent, wonderfully worded post. Having known people who were victims of sexual assault/rape, you’ve hit the nail perfectly on the head as to why rape is massively under-reported. Innocent until proven guilty (of lying) should apply to rape victims as well but often does not.

  7. Pingback: » [TW: Mentions of Sex Assault] Stand Together, Stand as One, Never Be Silent

  8. Pingback: Glass Houses: On Alyzande and Rape Culture in Azeroth « Flavor Text

  9. Pingback: Azeroth Apple » Rape Culture and White Ribbons

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  11. Wonderful post, Cider. Her experience is well documented on her own blog and countless media sources in the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. Though I live in the US and had not heard of the incident until yesterday, it took me maybe 5 minutes to figure that out. If only the author of the article had taken 5 minutes to look up the story rather than 30 minutes to write that trash post in which he manages to equate being gang raped with getting into a car crash.

  12. i’m honestly with critical on this one. i think its a scam and i think he expressed his opinion in a way that was much more respectful then i think many others would. the gold blogging community is full of absurd drama and so is the internet. this kind of stunt is not with out precedence.

    i’m just waiting for the moderators at wow_ladies to get their well intentioned hands on this garbage before the hair really starts to fly.

    • The fact that Critical recanted or explained his thought process shows that there was something awry with how he wrote it. I think his talk about “how a rape victim would express themselves” is gross and unneeded. If he thought it was a scam, he should have left the part about how a rape victim should talk as part of his evidence, since it shows a considerable lack of understanding. Just because he was ‘more respectful’ doesn’t mean he had enough of it or that he should have even written the post at all.

      Anyways, you sound kinda like a troll to begin with, what with the comment about WL.

      • it doesn’t sound like any rape victim’s thought process I’ve encountered, i work in social services and I’ve met enough legitimate victims to last me a lifetime, some of them with stories far far more horrifying then you can imagine. and enough posers and fakers to make my office work way to hard. it sounds like cry for attention by some entitled person who feels they were not given something that was owed to them. or an attempt to start drama to bring attention to themselves.

        as for the W_L comment? when i still posted there i made my opinions clear on what i thought of their view on feminism. most of them needed to go back to school and learn what exactly that word means.

        please. feel free to ban me for being cynical of things said on the internet and calmly and rationally explaining why.

        • Well I’m not going to ban you because I don’t believe in making martyrs, but I do wonder why you brought up WK at all if you hate it or don’t go there. As for the dig at that brand of feminism, I can only assume you mean mine in contrast to yours. Unless you are “anti-FEMINIST” in general.

          As for your assertion that your job gives you the experience to determine fakes from real rape victims, well. I’m just kind of impressed that you know every victim and how they react. Like I said before is rather support a scam than disbelieve someone real in a public fashion on this topic. Call me a bad person.

  13. Pingback: You Receive: [White Ribbon]

  14. Hello Apple Cider,

    Nice post. I am curious about your opinion on something though as a feminist. I promise what follows is not intended as sarcasm or intended to try and start some kind of debate. I would genuinely like your view on this:

    If one were to read Critical Goblin’s post without any anger, passion, judgement, sadness, etc. relating to the actual attack that poor woman suffered it doesn’t actually appear as though he is questioning whether or not TGQ was indeed raped, but rather whether the people in control of her site (either herself or the proxies she named in an earlier post) were using that tragedy as a means to boost sales of “pay for” content products that appeared advertised in said posts, and other posts in between the initial report and now.

    I read Critical’s post. I read all the comments. I re-read Critical’s post and what I took away from it was that he didn’t trust the people operating her blog (in her absence) based on previous scams the care takers were known to have founded.

    Now, all that in mind:

    1) Logically speaking: Isn’t it possible to cast doubt on the current operators of the site without implying that the attack itself never took place? I think those two things are mutually exclusive in his post. Critical claims he doesn’t know if she was actually attacked, but never states the he believes it was fabricated. He merely states that (and all of us at the time would have been in the same boat) he doesn’t know.

    2) On that same note: If it was decided that you could question the motives of the site operators without also questioning the authenticity of the attack (and I believe those two can be separated logically) then how would it be perpetuating rape culture to call in to question the integrity of a known scam artist?

    It is a very sensitive topic and all the comments I read on his post seemed to glaze over the fact that he was actually questioning the morality of the site caretakers as it relates to paid content and monetization. Whether or not TGQ actually suffered the attack doesn’t factor in to the equation at that point…it becomes just a question of “Is someone trying to capitalize on this horrible event in someone’s life?”.

    Do you think that message was obscured by the fact that people are generally passionate and angry when discussing abuse victims in -any- scenario? His post was clearly insensitive and poorly timed, but if you isolate the real content of the post (Is someone profiting from tragedy?) is that actually a bad thing to call in to question? Some of the comments he’s received are so passionate and devoid of logic and he has basically been told he is garbage for even thinking of raising the question he did.

    What are your thoughts with all that in mind? Cheers, keep up the stellar writing!
    -Nick

    • To put in my last two cents here:
      those who pride themselves on having such an unabashedly firm rational and logical stance on something have often never had any personal experience in the matter with which to guide their views.

    • I think your assessment is going down a dangerous path, one that is continually used to unhinge arguments that have a feminist critical lens behind them – that reason and logic are never or shouldn’t ever be dictated or troubled by passion or emotion. It’s a very scary “right versus left brain” dichotomy when it shouldn’t be. It often tries to undermine those who have an emotional stake in an argument as weak or illogical. This is too often heard when discussing things like racism or sexism, or in this case, rape culture.

      It’s dismissive even if you are not intending it to be. And your comment is rife with it.

      That being said, Critical Goblin making a logical, reasoned argument would have served him well in terms of approaching it as a scam if he had not said these two things:

      1.)” Or maybe its the weird feeling that, if Critical was involved with a traumatic incident (for example a car accident), my wow blog would be the last thing on my mind behind Personal wellbeing, Kids, Family etc”

      2.) “Or maybe because if someone was raped, they generally do not want to tell the whole world? Especially in gorey details such as:
      “Some part of me died between 2nd and 3rd rape.””

      The fact that he attacked the content of the post (which I presume to be TGQ’s own writing) as a way of asserting this belief that the entire thing was fishy says to me that he doesn’t trust the message at all, much less the trimmings. If he had said, “This person has gone through so much and yet it feels like her compatriots are doing this to make money off of it” – that would have been the proper way to approach it if he was truly saying what you think he is saying. But he’s not and that’s all there is to it.

      It is possible to cast doubt on the operators, but he didn’t do that.
      Hence why him picking apart TGQ’s message is perpetuating this “victim is lying, part of a scam” part of rape culture.

      The comments glaze over his “intent” because he wasn’t doing just what you say he is, he’s doing something else entirely. His argument rests quite a lot on how she talks about her experience (one which is backed up by a news story, no less, but that is really besides the point). I can understand having a lack of faith in charities online. Or people looking to make a buck. But when you choose to point a finger at someone and call them a scam, especially because of them talking about their experiences, rather than skipping over it and not donating, or having some legit information to back up your accusations – you reap the consequences. I don’t see people glossing over anything, other than perhaps his supporters.

      The fact that you find passion to be in the face of logic and rational thought says you really do not understand our points overly well.

      • Thank you for indulging my questions and taking them seriously. I appreciate your perspective. You’ve opened my eyes a bit, especially with your first paragraph re: “It often tries to undermine those who have an emotional stake in an argument as weak or illogical. This is too often heard when discussing things like racism or sexism, or in this case, rape culture.”. That’s a super valid point and something I’m going to try and be aware of (in all forums, not just discussing this) from now on. I certainly didn’t intend to be dismissive.

        I would disagree about: “The fact that you find passion to be in the face of logic and rational thought says you really do not understand our points overly well.”. That’s kind of a broad assumption to make. While it is the case that I don’t have an emotional stake in the issue, I don’t think that’s true at all. You can be passionate and logical at the same time, though the two don’t always go hand in hand. Sometimes passion does fly in the face of reason. I just prefer to be logical in my analysis of something and then passionate in my judgement (or defense) of it. I think that is a fair way to approach just about anything, though I admit that doesn’t factor empathy in to the equation.

        Once again, thank you. I appreciate the time you put in to your reply, have read it several times, and I can honestly say I’ve taken away some new perspectives from it. All the best!

        -Nick

  15. It isn’t difficult to empathize with a person who’s undergone trauma and simply wish them well, even if you don’t wind up engaging with the situation financially for any number of reasons, including some small doubt.

    This sort of skepticism and cynicism is really bleak on the one hand, and for another, displays a remarkable lack of empathy on the part of the public at large.

    People which would rather mock and ridicule and embarrass and shame a victim without fear of being wrong on the count than take a step and say, “I’m sorry this happened,” and find out later that maybe the empathy was misplaced?

    That’s an awful shame right there.

    It’s very easy to take the philosophical high-chair and muse on the potential possibilities of a circumstance when you haven’t been ever been victimized. Empathy can be useful in these situations.

    Thanks for bringing this to light. Sheesh. :-/

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