Recently I came across a story online about a “men’s rights” group in Edmonton, Canada that is encouraging people to make falsely accuse a local rape crisis center exec director of rape.
Now I’d heard of this Edmonton group before. They’d made a campaign this past summer called “Don’t Be That Girl.” I’d briefly paid attention to it but it was more of a “Wtf? That’s disgusting” and I went on to the next news, probably something about George Zimmerman, as he was acquitted shortly after this story broke. What I hadn’t realized is that this “campaign” was a retaliation to a widely well-received anti-rape campaign. And, of course, it was! I really should have known.
Because any time an oppressed group, whether it be women, people of color, GLBTQ, immigrants, etc successfully advocate for their rights, someone who gets privilege from their oppression starts a pity party for themselves. These pity parties are actually a retaliation and an attempt to maintain power and they are often very hateful and hurtful to oppressed groups. Case in point is the “Don’t Be That Girl” campaign that implies that women frequently make up stories of being raped because they regret a sexual experience. Riiiigggghhhhttt…. And seriously don’t look at widely-publicized examples of recanting because rape victims often recant. This is not because the accusation was a lie but because the rape survivor realizes that seeking legal justice may not be in her best interest. So how can we know that any recanting victim is not just trying to protect herself from further objectification, invasion of privacy, pain and trauma? Because the legal system often exacerbates the initial trauma.
Anyways so then recently I heard that these “men’s rights” members in Edmonton are encouraging people to make false accusations against Karen Smith, the director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. I think they are telling people to report these false allegations to their website only and not to law enforcement. But still. This is harassment and intimidation. The message they’re sending to Karen Smith, her organization and to the larger society is if you challenge our power, we will go after you.
So I decided to take a stand against this. Men’s Rights Edmonton is trying to silence those who successfully challenge injustice. And I’m not down with that. So I’m writing this post. And I’ve liked The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton on Facebook. If you agree with me, you can do the same and go on increasing awareness of how this harassment is a blatant attempt to silence and shame oppressed groups and prevent them from achieving their equal place in society.
Oh and in case you aren’t familiar, Men’s Rights groups have popped up in recent history. Their existence, in my opinion, coincides with the emergence of DV and rape crisis advocacy, both of which have had large successes in raising awareness of violence against women and empowering women. Men’s Rights groups have also received negative attention from The Southern Poverty Law Center. Here’s another example. Thank you, SPLC!!!!!