I wrote 2 quick responses to the hashtag #rapemags used by Child Eyes UK which I submitted to the campaign group Ending Victimisation and Blame (Everyday Victim Blaming)
- #EndTabloidMags: How to use Twitter to campaign without triggering survivors
- Child Eyes UK: Some More concerns
Child Eyes UK have responded to my two post by adding 3 more FAQs to my website, one of which still fails to understand the point of the complaint.
FAQ 1. Should you use the hashtag #rapemags, we think it is triggering?
We sincerely apologise to any people who are triggered by the word rape or #rapemags. This is not our intention. We have the support of Rape Crisis England and Wales and would not have used the term if they felt it was not appropriate. We believe it is important in the context of the campaign to use the word rape as this is what we are campaigning about. The term “mags” is not meant to trivialise rape experience it is an abbreviation of magazines for use on Twitter. The term also highlights the way women’s mags sensationalise rape which is hugely inappropriate for children.
Considering their first response to the statement “we find the tag triggering” was : “Sorry but we’re not going to stop using word ‘rape’ because it is triggering in a context helping stop sensationalist mags “, I’m going to question the level of support they have had. I find it highly doubtful that Rape Crisis England and Wales was asked their opinion of the tag before it was used and they most certainly would not support the outright dismissal of the feelings of a victim of rape. Child Eyes UK’s failure to understand the harm they did to a survivor with that tweet demonstrates their lack of understanding of sexual violence and it does make me question their campaign.
2. The magazines sensationalise rape. Aren’t you doing the same by using the term #rapemags?
The magazines sensationalise rape. We are campaigning against the magazines being exposed to children. Using the word rape within the context of a salacious magazine is not the same as using it within a very serious campaign against its sensationalisation being exposed to children. We have to use the word rape to campaign against its sensationalisation damaging children, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense or be effective.
Actually, you do not have to use the word rape unless you are campaigning against the way rape is written about within the magazines. You are campaigning against the sensationalised language of the magazines where children can read them. You could have easily used the term #endtabloidmags and your campaign would still have made sense without triggering survivors. It would have also encompassed more of your campaign goals. You deliberately chose #rapemags because it was salacious. Not because it was accurate.
3. You are not experts in rape or have training in this area. You should not be campaigning about it.
No we are not experts in rape and we don’t have training. However we are all parents and we feel we have the right to voice our concerns about what our children are being exposed to and campaign to have this addressed. We are not campaigning to ban the magazines or about the content of the magazines. We are simply campaigning for retailers to display these titles appropriately in areas frequented by children.
You do need to have training in running a campaign like this. It isn’t like No More Page 3 or Let Toys be Toys which doesn’t require specialist knowledge. You are running a campaign on the sensationalisation of sexual violence in the media. You need to understand what it is before you can campaign against it. And, no, being a mother doesn’t imbue you with mystical knowledge.