Caroline Criado Perez

feminisms

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day

Every year I think about what I’m going to do for my international women’s day post and each time I spend far longer than is necessary thinking of a suitable introduction. Wishing you a happy one never seems right, it doesn’t feel like a day for celebration rather one where we honour those who’ve died at the hands of the patriarchy by never forgetting their names and the authorities that failed them, and the struggle that continues for many more women just like them; the ones who suffer in their homes (never mind the sexual harassment in the work place, educational institutions and streets).

Over 2 years ago I wrote a piece where I pleaded with white feminists to acknowledge the rape culture on our own doorstep and whilst it received positive attention initially, certain white women became overly focused on the word ‘white’ than the double standards I was intending to highlight. That was the last time Caroline Criado Perez said anything nice to me before she proceeded to explain away my concerns as though I was just being sensitive to an otherwise sound ally who wasn’t just fishing for cookies.

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It was when I had my first run in with Helen Lewis too, she’d read my blog and agreed I’d made some good points but she’d already commissioned an Indian woman to talk about the rape problem India has as a nation. They failed to see how they were being racist by contributing to the narrative of eastern savages whilst erasing the truly brutal incidences of gang rape in the UK. They refused to acknowledge me as a woman with a foot in both worlds, belonging in neither, brimming with criticisms of patriarchy whatever the colour of his skin. Perhaps this is why Lewis chose to stamp me out before I could do any real damage to her superiority.

If my experiences of physical and sexual violence were inadequate (how, I don’t quite understand, am I not a fucking woman?) then surely my experience as a women’s worker assisting victims of male violence would be all the qualifications I’d need?

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No, even when you have the expertise of a career, training in awareness and advocacy and almost a decade’s worth of professional experience you can be dismissed and discredited as someone with a chip on their shoulder because you dared challenge the status quo. I challenged white supremacy and the same women (and men) castigating us for speaking up about abusive women (cos cisterhood) then made a very public example of me and the violence they enabled hasn’t relented since. You all know this story.

At any time any one of these white media ‘feminists’ could have advocated for me. But y’see they responded that it wasn’t about me cos I’m not a woman? People like Laura Bates freely admitted to not even knowing what feminism was before they were discovered online yet her feminism is more valid than mine; a queer disabled femme presenting woman of colour with working class roots and historical abusers intermittently threatening my personal space and sanity. Laurie Penny lends her support with the caveat that Helen Lewis is an inspiration (she uses the same words every time) for all similarly minded ignorant arrogant white feminists and we should stop bullying her cos her fragile mental health never once hearing the agony we express at their treatment of us. The ways in which these women have personally silenced me, having once been ‘comrades’ on the same side, triggers the same PTSD response in me that I feel whenever I run into an old abuser. My blood turns cold and I get a stabbing pain in my chest. The room sways. I feel the tears prick my eyes and the sinking sensation in my gut that the privileged will never face the consequences of their cruelty and hypocrisy. The fact that I know, and they know but no one else seems to care or notice.. It’s the same physiological reaction in me.

Tell me, what space should I occupy? At one time I was an operational asset, recruited to represent the ethnic division of the ill fated Feminist Party but picking that apart was the beginning of the end when I realised I could no longer ignore the injustice for my own place at the table. Pariah I may be, but I live each day with integrity, truth and humility. I have been accused of believing my own hype (cos I let men abuse me so that I could build a career on it later) and also of not being very intelligent or worthy but also super smart and privileged when they pretend they don’t believe your story (we exemplify rape culture in this country).

So it is with this in mind that I want to emancipate myself from a movement within which I have no voice. It’s not for my lack of trying, look, I told you 3 years ago the movement was fractured and we’d lose it if we weren’t honest with ourselves. I’ve had enough of feeling my heart break whenever a feminist I looked up to comes out as a transphobe or a polarising token. I cannot say there are more good feminists than there are bad. I cannot in good faith ally myself with a corrupt, vindictive subset of women wearing their £45 ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt on behalf of us all, for all those who cannot access the internet and seek their own truth. I realise now that many of the reactions I’ve had for identifying as a feminist comes from the image the world has of feminism; white women behaving like entitled white men to the detriment of us lesser beings.

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day from me, an ex-feminist who finally gets she can never be a feminist, not like they want me to be.

(I dedicate this post to all the Muslim women suffering at the hands of white men and feminists claiming race is not a feminist issue)

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Twitter Death Threats are Tasteful and Decent

Kill all men. 3 words that erased all the times I was raped, sexually assaulted and beaten by men. These 3 words justify the death threats against me. In saying these words, I have confirmed that I am just as bad as the entitled men and any report I make of abusive behaviour against me is invalid.

I have just finished speaking to the police who called to update me with regards numerous threats to kill and the reams of racist abuse I have been subjected to on Twitter. They advised that Twitter, being based in California refuse to provide British law enforcement officers with any information even in cases where there are threats to kill because their laws around taste and decency differ from ours. Apparently they only concede for serious crimes like murder (not threats to murder).

I want to know how the Metropolitan police were able to investigate the abuse aimed at Twitter activist Caroline Criado Perez (and Stella Creasy) and were able to convince Twitter that the words used to threaten her did breach taste and decency standards even though she is also in the UK (like me). I asked the officer who called me (from West Midlands Police) why this disparity between activists on Twitter when we’re all women receiving death threats and whether she could blame me for thinking it is rooted in structural racism? She maintained that she was just passing on the message from their techie guy and it had nothing to do with race, more that Twitter was refusing to comply. She was also confused because they said it was about protecting their users from opponents of free speech and that surely this protection should be extended to me too, also one of their users.

Why would it though? The internet is awash with rapists and their apologists, misogynists who fantasise about murdering and humiliating women (and probably do in their relationships) and the overall response has been amusing for them. Social networking sites like Facebook will delete an image of a woman breastfeeding a hungry baby because it breaches standards of taste and decency (and sets them apart as somehow enlightened – Darwin award please – among the mammals) yet raging racists like Britain First get a free pass. Murdering entitled scum from the states get a shrine devoted to worshiping male power. Twitter hasn’t responded to the two tickets I got from them acknowledging I’d made complaints regarding gendered abuse and DEATH THREATS but why would they?

In a world where 50 women have been murdered by men this year in this country alone, am I really surprised that gendered abuse is still being ignored by the men in power? The kind of world where the reaction to homicide perpetrated because male entitlement is one of praise and in support of male privilege, not condemnation of the kind of society that allows sick individuals like these to thrive. In a society where rape victims are asked what they did to provoke a rapist into raping them, am I surprised that the 3 words I have at my disposal to empower me when I’m feeling weak (but angry still) are considered equally harmful to the sexual abuse I have been subjected to my whole life (the experiences I have on twitter being an extension to a collage my brain has collated over the years)?

Of course I’m not. This doesn’t change the physiological effects of silencing and legitimisation of abuse has on me. I had a panic attack and had to cut the call short. This was after I explained that I would not be deleting my online profiles because I will not let them succeed in their campaigns to silence me. I won’t let them have the satisfaction and to insist I am complicit in abuse against me if I do not is victim blaming, nothing more or less. It’s not like I have a choice, I do the things I do so that the world is a safer place, one that I can be a part of. Unfortunately this whole incident has served to remind me that I can’t expect this and that attempts to change the status quo will be met with reinforcements from the oppressors.

I’ve advised the police I would like for this complaint to be escalated to their superiors and to find out how it was possible that 2 people were sent to prison for similar offences against a blonde woman.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Racist Twitter and Silencing

“It’s not about you Sam, stop being such a princess. Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and think about someone else for a change? Well, if you really were a feminist you’d be thinking about the greater good not just your own problems all the freakin’ time..”

I’d like to be the magnanimous diplomat you’d all prefer me to be. I would like to focus my energies on changing policy, make changes from the top down but that was never going to happen was it? Not with my turbulent past and the colour of my skin. Sorry, what? You’ve seen Europeans with darker skin than me? You think I have light skin privilege? Where have you been my whole life?! I WISH you’d been around when I got called a Paki recently, if only you’d been there to set them straight.  You could have shadowed me at school and that job where the platinum blonde admin assistant serenaded me with “there’s a brown girl in the room” whenever I walked in. You could have corrected her “it’s beige, blonde admin girl” but you weren’t there so you know.

I joined Twitter for social justice. In the beginning I was so afraid of racism; I would actually mute monitoring accounts when they were RT’d into my timeline. It was too much, too close to the bone. I started tweeting about feminism and was a little shocked at the level of abuse I encountered but I had the support of my feminist sisters, acting as shock absorbers, sharing the load.

One day however, perhaps because I was beginning to challenge the inconsistencies within our movement, feminism turned its back on me. I was abandoned. Why? Well, racism, of course. Prominent white feminists like Caroline Criado Perez excused their friends for using problematic language and denied that it had anything to do with race. Of course we know now that we were right but those feminists are now outside of our reach. They have the support of the newspapers, the authorities and politicians. People like Helen Lewis set the standard for the sort of abuse I would be subjected to; all white men with the odd white woman (white feminists generally have white men do their dirty work for them) and token black person for ‘balance’. She lied about me and white people everywhere (including those gullible skeptics) believed her because she is white, nothing more or less. You don’t have to call me a Paki in order to be racist, you can just use your power to silence me and leave me open to attack which you did, Helen. I’m not holding out for an apology anymore, this enmity runs far too deep for me now.

Then you have the politicians accustomed to bending the truth for personal gain. Perhaps Louise Mensch had the best of intentions.. No, scratch that, that sentence doesn’t even make sense. Employing the fullstop at the start of her tweet she channelled increasingly more abusive racists to my online spaces and yet has not, even once, responded personally to a single tweet from me. Her intentions were not to understand or defend or debate but to flame the white knights of Twitter into defending her honour which they did. Nobody batted an eyelid. None of the supposed comrades of mine on the mythical ‘Left’. No, in this instance a white woman takes priority over any seen to be doing socialist intentions on the part of the white middle classes.

I refused to be labelled in any way that allies me with any of these people anymore. I am not an anarchist, socialist, leftie, feminist. I cannot subscribe to an ideology that is untruthful in its very foundations; the trendsetters, the commentariat; the academics seem to have abandoned the kind of person socialism seeks to support. I am not white, I am working class, I am a woman with disabilities; mental and physical and yet I am completely on my own. Social support is not extended to attention seekers like me. I hasten to add I have been pleasantly surprised by the support extended to me by some white feminists. People I have preciously launched myself at who actually do understand what it means to prevent violence against women. I’d like to acknowledge that support and the women extending it; @planetcath and @drlangtrygirl

(I will never do this for the point scoring Cathy Brennan because she actively encourages traumatised people to self-harm and suicide – some women really are just complete bastards)

However, I am keen to point out where I have been deserted in this recent wave of abuse. I initially made a report to Twitter regarding an account that was clearly transphobic. I learnt from friends that they were already aware of the account and had tried unsuccessfully to have it suspended. When I approached Twitter about it, the account in question @TrixiiSabine used an argument between myself and my real life best friend to illustrate the point that “you can’t be friends with a Paki”. I think we’re in agreement that this is racially abusive. I think we all know that racist abuse is an arrestable offence. So what did Twitter do about it? Nothing. They still haven’t responded to me on any of this. Not even when I tweeted them to let them know I had been in contact with the police who were baffled as to why it had been ignored when it’s a clear breach of their terms and conditions and ILLEGAL.

I asked these questions before and I’m going there again. Is it because I am brown? If it’s not that, and maybe it’s because you think I am stupid, why so bothered by my opinions? All I’ve ever asked for is justice, so that we are all considered human and afforded the same basic respect regardless of fanbase or identity. I’ve asked for you to understand how your privileges have given you opportunities I would have been so much more grateful for, things y’all seem to take for granted. In doing this however, I left myself wide open to abuse.

I’ve had to deal with it all by myself and it’s just not on.

Sincerely,

 

Disgusted, of British Asian origin.

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Death Threats (and the rest)

I’ve been tweeting at Twitter for more than 24hrs to remove the account in the first screenshot with no success.

This account has been functioning for quite some time and it is our belief it was set up to harass and intimidate one of our friends.

When I became aware of them I asked Twitter to suspend the account for transphobia. The person behind the account tweeted those words about me, taking advantage of a disagreement between me and a real life friend.

24 hours I’ve been tweeting, as have many of my supporters and nothing from Twitter.

The other tweets, the death threats, those were aimed at me for telling a friend that she could report the death threats leveled at her, to the police and if they were taken seriously, as was the case for Caroline Criado Perez, then they were looking at jail time. So how did they respond? As if they knew it didn’t matter.

I was surprised to see the most recent perpetrators were swiftly suspended yet the account that called me a Paki yesterday shows as an ‘internal server error’. This leads me to believe Twitter has not deleted the account, but the user has suspended to lay low perhaps?

Well, I’m doing what I am always advising others not to do because there clearly is no alternative; I have reported these threats to kill to the police.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Update: Wishing bigots would just die is not the same as white men routinely threatening to rape/kill me Cathy. But nice of you to clarify your position.

 

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When I really need to laugh, I take a look at this

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White Feminism 101

White feminists sit around daydreaming about their next campaign. They’re not fighting for basic recognition like the rest of us, they’re thinking of even sillier ways to assert their power and so they have the luxury of poking at the institutions to look as if they are doing something worthwhile. So we show them how bullshit their feminism is and how do they respond? Do they take on board our feelings about how we are being erased? Do they accept that there is a kyriarchal structure they personally maintain? Do they fuck.

Last week various WoC had to push down triggers of domestic and sexual abuse in order to defend the perpetrators of these acts of violence against women. The two men in question; Mike Tyson and Stan Collymore. Y’see if you’re a white woman and you know that so and so is a prolific abuser, you can condemn them without needing to think of the intersection where men of colour are victims of the system also. I mean, Caroline Criado Perez thought it ok to share a platform with Collymore as long as she got her message across about the unacceptable abuse she alone suffers so bear with me a sec. He was taking a stand against the racist abuse he suffers and so, instead of ‘no platforming’ him on the grounds that he is violent and a danger to women – as should be my right as a feminist and campaigner against domestic abuse – I was contemplating the ways in which he would not have been given the same opportunities as white abusers to accept his actions, to be rehabilitated. I had to think of the ways in which he is racially abused and whilst I believe he should be ostracised on grounds of his violence against women, he should not be punished for the colour of his skin. Tyson is also an example of this.

Of course I was livid when I heard that Tyson had had “distressing problems with women”. He is the reason for the distress felt by many women but then I had to think about the way in which those lines were presented. Those were not his words, they were written by the author of the piece Donald McRae. The white man writing the piece severely understated the nature of Tyson’s ‘problems’ with women. The interview could have been structured in a way where he was given a chance to apologise for his behaviour and condemn it in others, instead there’s a garbled quote about how he found God. This is how white people want you to see Tyson.

Jurors in a case against a historic perpetrator of sexual abuse have been directed to acquit the perpetrator of one of the allegations against him on the grounds there is insufficient evidence. I believe her. Another judge sentenced another prolific abuser of young girls to a mere 15 months which was later doubled due to its “undue leniency”. The judge actually said he had “given pleasure to millions of people” and was known for his “genial personality, charm, bonhomie and wit”. White man in a wig, barrister Crispin Aylett actually felt it was ok to compare the relatively small number of victims to Savile’s 1300, as if that should have any bearing on the sentencing of a sexual predator. Hall should have received 30 months for each individual case, that is how the plebs are sentenced (if they are found guilty in the first place, that is). The whole of the Yewtree investigation can be easily summarised as a presentation of white power. When Mark Duggan was shot, the media had a field day telling us all how he was murdered for being in possession of a firearm. This ‘fact’ was not confirmed, it was later revealed that he was innocent of this claim and the police had executed a man in cold blood. The damage had been done though. A jury delivered a verdict of lawful killing even though the assailant was unarmed. Try talking about Yewtree though and the calls for ‘due process’ are deafening. I cannot be the only one to see these injustices for what they are; that they are racist in nature and that racism is not just about words but about the way in which non-whites are presented; as though inherently evil and guilty of all wrongdoing.

Take the recent obsession white feminists have with policing non-white bodies and our choices. It is perfectly fine for a woman of colour to write about her experiences in a foreign culture. It is the sort of discussion that is long overdue. However, the insistence of white feminism sticking her beak in everything and taking over as though she is emancipating the poor brown loves from the overbearing brown patriarchy are transparent and deplorable. You have no right to call yourself ‘prochoice’ if you have ANY restrictions on choice. Sex selective abortion is not something I personally advocate; I have my own feelings on the matter but I am not going to project those on others. Is sex selective abortion something that keeps white feminists awake at night? Does it affect their lives? Not really. It does however give them the opportunity to condemn the savages, once again. Criado Perez would do better to tackle sex selective IVF which is freely available in the United States to people (from all over the world) who can afford the right to plan their family. Why this preference for male foetuses? In many cultures girls are not yours to keep, they belong to the men they will marry. If you are poor, it is another mouth to feed. We could tackle the level of poverty the majority of the world suffers in relation to our massively privileged West but that would be too much like hard work, making sure everyone is fed. Instead let us claim our moral superiority and use it as a whipping chain to keep the non-whites in check, especially when they’ve got this ridiculous intersectionality campaign for equality.

It is the actions of white feminists that further oppress the already marginalised. When they wade in and take over, when they insist on using their voices to pity you instead of support, what they are saying is that they know better and they’re going to save you, not empower you, but literally going to do all the hard work and you can thank them later. Suddenly their arguments take on another tone and it starts to feel racist. That is how the majority of racism plays out, it is not in slurs or violent behaviour but the ways in which we are manipulated and made to feel inferior. They transfer their sinister game plan on to you “Your privileged, careerist, misogynist bullshit version really is pulling in the crowds”… without the slightest ounce of self-awareness there, our mascot for white supremacy Criado Perez suggests to her 20,000 odd followers that is what WE’RE doing. Hahaha lol.

White feminism is intent on telling you the kind of sex you should be having (be humble dammit, lie back and think of white supremacy), that your long hair is a thing to lure men with and that black women cannot be rich famous successful AND feminist. Oh yeah, and if you disagree with them about the things THAT AFFECT YOU then you’re no longer a woman, just a misogynist.

It’s simple really, put the white narrative down and learn to stfu. This has been our only request but they won’t do it because they enjoy the power. Don’t kid yourself that it isn’t a race thing, don’t believe you’re the only worthy Asian in the village and the rest of us are just jealous; I’ve been there, that’s an old trick white people have been pulling for a millennia. Solidarity.

 

 

 

 

How to report abuse when they call you a liar?

It’s been an odd week on Twitter. I’ve felt reluctant to check in, not least because it’s made me acutely aware of the disparity between the empathy afforded to white women in contrast to women of colour and in doing so, it has made me feel worthless and redundant. I am not sure what the point is to anything anymore.

When I made the mistake of accusing the wrong person of racism, it didn’t matter that I had suffered it for many years before or that I would experience a sudden and severe escalation as a result of a murder that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, on that occasion white people, male and female, held me up as an example of how privilege politics were deeply flawed, as if somehow my mistake said something about the intentions behind the whole of intersectionality. They manipulated the truth and bullied me despite the apology I issued of my own volition. The person I offended had accepted my apology and I was sincere in asking for forgiveness but it was too perfect an opportunity for people steeped in privilege and power to mock and denigrate our lives.

Intersectionality didn’t cease to exist because I’d got it wrong. If anything, I’ve been made even more aware of how we are all unequal. A white woman with a platform made others like her aware of my existence, a misunderstanding was exploited. They thought that I would go quietly, they failed to reiterate for my benefit how they wouldn’t want anyone to be bullied off twitter, as they did for each other, my thoughts, my feelings were obviously unimportant. I left for a short while but I didn’t disappear. It was as if somehow the worst had happened, as though I’d faced my demons and now I was committed whether or not I was happy about it. I was called names, I still am, I have been threatened with rape and death, I speak about these things candidly on Twitter, but nobody freaks out on my behalf. They objectify me, belittle me for my illnesses, opine on everything from my period to how I’d make a bad mother. It has been sustained and increasingly more personal. The people doing this are mostly men and all of them are white. They say it isn’t harassment or bullying but are keen to point out they hound me for my comedic value. My life and the issues I face are a joke to them. They’re ‘skeptics’ you see, it’s the (mainly) white man’s right to uncover the truth and yet they failed so spectacularly on this occasion because white unity. It’s easy to take my words out of context and glue them onto other words I tweeted, maybe not even from the same week, to make it look as though I am deranged and deserve the nastiness they relish throwing my way but they don’t realise how unoriginal they are. If they thought they would somehow gaslight me into submission and I’d admit that I was a faux forriner then they couldn’t be more wrong. Their actions fuel my anger. As a woman of colour, I am expected to withstand abuse without complaint. I thought at one time that I would keep a diary of all incidents but quickly decided there was no point. What could be done about it anyway? Well, if I were a white woman, the media might have paid a shitload more attention. Twitter would have taken me seriously and I would also probably feel entitled enough to personally approach the most powerful man in the world and ask him what he was doing to protect me. A week of rape threats and misogyny? Try 7 months of racism, sexism and ableism.

Tell me, why should I have to suffer my trolls gladly? Where was your outrage for me? Do I deserve the threats and mockery aimed at me? The treatment I receive is not confined to Twitter or my blog; racism, sexism affects my life everyday. When I reported a fascist to the police for implying he was involved in the firebombing of Muswell Hill Mosque, I was asked about my motivation for reporting him. I’m not sure whether white British people are asked about their motivations for reporting crime but again, it made me question the point of pursuing a charge. Did I really want to provide a statement and risk going to court where a quick google search will reveal the lies posted about me? I am aware that information has made it so that I have to suffer threats in silence because white Britain simply doesn’t believe me.

To endure the unacceptable and have your experiences dismissed, to be accused of dishonesty, to be denied, minimised, made to feel as though you are worthless, that is the life of a person of colour. As one knob put it, even the term PoC, defined by people of colour is not valid: “what’s wrong with non-white?” How any feminist can allow this to happen to another woman and then claim her feminism is for all women, well, can you see why I call bullshit? HOW do you expect I’m going to feel about Jane Austen when prejudice blights my life? Why is this important when women of colour are being attacked on our streets for being a different skin tone?

I didn’t withdraw my support to the feminist cause, I was abandoned. For as long as women like me are excluded from righteous attempts to smash the patriarchy, feminism will never thrive. Instead it provides a constant source of amusement for the white menz in power, they’ve been playing this divide and conquer thing for quite some time.