You don’t like abuse? Here’s more abuse

More on the endless loop of misogynist abuse of women who campaign against misogynist abuse:

Melanie Jeffs and Lydia Rye led research into hate crime in Nottingham which resulted in the city’s police becoming the first in the country to recognise street harassment as a hate crime earlier this month.

Both have since been subjected to personal threats, claims they were “not attractive enough” to talk about street harassment and posts telling them to “get cancer” at the rate of up to 100 messages a day.

One commenter told the pair he wanted all women to feel like “the retarded gutter trash that they are”, after a BBC reporter had sexual obscenities hurled at her while reporting on sexism on Nottingham’s streets.

Another loop.

Rye, the head of Nottingham Citizens which is the city’s branch of Citizens UK, [is] shocked at the lengths people went to to attack her online.

“I was stunned people went to the effort of finding me on twitter and even going via the Citizens UK website comment box to point out that I really wasn’t attractive enough to speak on this issue so I should just shut up.”

One user, apparently from America, posted on the Citizens UK Facebook page that if he ever visited England he would “make sure every woman I see there is treated like shit”.

He allegedly wrote: “I will make them cry for even looking at me. I will make them run away with no regard to their feelings. I will purposely make them hate every day this law remains in effect… If this ever becomes law in America, I will make every woman, not just the ones who want this law feel like the retarded gutter trash that they are. There will be no peace.”

Why “allegedly”? The user isn’t named, so why “allegedly”?

Jeffs and Rye were involved in the ‘No Place For Hate’ report, the largest piece of peer-led research into hate crime ever carried out in Britain. It was commissioned by Nottingham Citizens and backed by three MPs, and found that 38% of women reporting a hate crime explicitly linked this to their gender.

Police followed its recommendation and recorded misogyny as a new category of hate crime this year, alongside abuse directed at people because of their religion, disability or sexual orientation. Nottingham Citizens is calling on other forces around the UK to do the same.

It’s funny to think it’s a “new” category. It’s a very god damn old category, is what it is – but the powers don’t like to recognize it, because it’s so very pervasive and commonplace. There’s irony for you.

Both agree the abuse was a ‘power play’ reaction from men who do not like women who speak out or challenge them.

“Some men expect women to maintain their position in society as subordintate and public spaces, whether in real life or online, as men’s space,” said Jeffs. “When women speak up and try to threaten that, of course there is a comeback.

“No one in power willingly gives up that power – and we have to remember that men still have that sort of power in our society. And of course the fact that I don’t look ‘feminine’ or try to attract male attention is also threatening and disruptive to the status quo – hence why this is what they focused on.”

“I think trolling is seen as sport, and there’s a whole group of men in particular who see this as a game and a power play,” said Rye.

“It feels like there’s a belief that we’re not equal or perhaps even fully human to them so it’s legitimate for them to treat us this way. Plus its online so its easier to hide who you are which is why I think its often threatening sexual violence rather than the broader – but still unwelcome – sexual comments you might get whilst out and about.”

It’s self-feeding and self-perpetuating. They have contempt for women, so they broadcast their contempt, which feeds and nourishes their contempt. It keeps growing and growing, like something in a horror movie.

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