Where Are MY Rape Threats?

GenderWomen's Rights 11 Comments

By David Trumble – Okay, so… apologies for the click-bait headline, and let’s be very clear: I have no desire to be raped or threatened in any way.

The Internet is a scary realm filled with dark corners that harbor monsters, and I don’t want to live in fear of being harassed or violated, period. Nobody wants that.

But see, that’s the thing. I don’t HAVE to fear it, simply because of my gender.

I’m a bloke. I have man-parts. And those man-parts, bog-standard and non-threatening as they are, entitle me to a precious modicum of respect and to personal boundaries that are denied my female counterparts.

As an artist, I have also written blogs, cartoons and even illustrated books that speak to feminist issues. And having identified myself as a feminist for a few years now, you’d think I’d have at least a few rape threat stories to tell. Imagine my disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, I have certainly received abuse online in my day. When my satirical blog about Disney princesses went viral last year I received all manner of outraged hecklers on both sides of the argument; people falling over themselves to tell me just how ignorant and abhorrent I was for going either too far or not far enough. Poe’s Law was rife and I still get indignant messages to this day about my views, particularly on feminist issues.

But… I have never received a rape threat. Not even a little one.

I have never had to flee my home or turn down a speaking engagement for fear of not being adequately protected from a gunman, as in the case of Gamergate critic and blogger Anita Sarkeesian, nor have I ever had my personal information “doxxed” for speaking out against something I felt strongly about, as just happened to actor/writer/gamer Felicia Day.

No matter how much I speak my mind about the exact same issues that women are harassed and bullied about every day, I am safe. I am protected. I am tolerated.

The armies of online trolls, that gleefully do everything in their limited power to terrify women, have extended me that basic, human courtesy. How nice of them.

In fact, the only thing I ever received even resembling a threat was a few months back, in the form a Facebook message from some faceless avatar that said simply: “Fuck you, you hipster faggot; go fuck a tree!” (I am adding the punctuation). And even this hypothetical, albeit bigoted “tree-fucking”, was nevertheless, I assume, to be consensual.


screen capture of actual message David received on Facebook

What am I doing wrong here, guys? Is it me? (What am I saying? Of course it is. It’s my man-parts. Curse them)!

They say that in order to be a male feminist one has to understand his own privilege. And I have more than a few privileges thanks to those aforementioned man parts. But the age of the internet has revealed perhaps the most ugly and insidious privilege me and my man-parts possess.

And that privilege is simple: I can say EXACTLY the same thing a female feminist does, in exactly the same arena, without having to change my address, fear for my personal data, or carry a rape whistle. 

Now this realization teaches me two things about the state of men and women today. It’s kind of a bad news/good news thing.

So here’s the bad news:

There is no space, not by the light of day, not after dark, and not even online, where women have the same luxury of safety that men take for granted. The cyberworld, for all it’s freedom and connectivity, is no less free of male violence than the real world is.

There is no corner, in any realm we create, where that shadow cannot reach. And that is a damn shame.

But here’s the good news:

The reason I don’t get rape threats is more than simply the fact that I am a man.

I don’t get threats, because I’M not the threat.

Because NOTHING strikes more terror into the bitter hearts of the insecure, the hateful, and the emasculated than a strong woman speaking her mind and staking her claim. 

They may not be scared of me. But women, you’d better believe they’re scared of you.The malignant only threaten those who make inroads, who carve out spaces where they can be heard and can affect change, who realize their independent and collective power and wield it, from every dark corner into every dark corner.

They fear you because you’re SMASHING IT. They incite fear because they despise your fearlessness. They attempt to weaken you because you are tougher than they are. They threaten your large existence because you threaten their tiny one, and you should CONTINUE to do so, for all of our sakes.

And so I say to the Anitas, the Felicias, the Emmas, and the women I have loved and respected in my own life, the Eleanors, the Rebeccas, the Loris, the Melissas, the Brendas, and all the other Randomkids and Women You Should Know….

Take heart.

You get the rape threats, because YOU ARE THE THREAT.

About The Author

David TrumbleTwenty-eight year old David Trumble is an award winning artist, author and illustrator, working in a diverse range of storytelling mediums. Critically acclaimed as a political cartoonist for the Sun Newspaper in the United Kingdom with a readership of eight million, Trumble now draws and writes on Huffington Post. Trumble is realizing his life-long desire to create stories for children, with nearly a million books sold in the US, and entertains international audiences speaking on the topics of storytelling, discovery and creativity.

To learn more about David check out his website, connect with him on Facebook, or via Eagles Talent Speaker’s Bureau.

This article originally appeared on David Trumble’s Huffington Post Blog. It is republished here with David’s permission.

  • Louise_Chanary

    Hmmm…I’m not sure that that is why.

  • Glorrierose2

    Is knowing that supposed to make it easier on us?

  • Terri

    It’s true that people lash out the worst when they’re feeling threatened. Some days I’m so tired.

  • Cecilia

    BRILLIANT piece!

  • Virginia

    I am a strong woman and will speak my mind and do what I think is right. And I don’t care what some troll thinks. BUT

    I don’t want to be a threat. I never did. What I wanted was my voice to be heard and my efforts acknowledged. I wanted to be regarded as a peer, as an equal. It was never about taking away what belonged to a man. It was not having what was mine taken away from me and being kicked in the head for good measure. It was about meeting men on the same level personally, intellectually, emotionally, compassionately, and idealistically. To work together as partners, not breadwinner vs. scullery maid.

    There has been way too much fighting between genders since time immemorial. I want to see us work together for mutual spiritual upliftment.

    There are things that women don’t get about men. There are things about women that men don’t get, either. But we will continue to misunderstand each other if we don’t communicate and reach out to each other.

    There are many men who wish to become partners in this world with women. I welcome that. I welcome that many women want to become partners with men in this world, too. When we work together, there is no need to blame or determine who did what.

    We can do this without fighting. Please be a partner. Please be a peer.

    • the birds

      No no no. Stop promoting your message of peace. Doing so only make the scum think they are deserving of something. When you sink that low you shall have not even basic respect. They need to be spit on and treated like the trash they are.

  • may last

    David, thank you! Rape is definitely about domination, not sex. But sex makes it titillating and too personal. I just recently saw this shrieking shrew trying to debunk the fact that the “1 in 5” (women will be raped), but for some reason, she totally fails to see that she’s apparently expecting the rest of us to ignore the fact that it’s despicable if it happens to “1 in 100” women or “1 in 5” (and sadly it DOES happen to boys too)! We as a society have a responsibility to care about others. Shame on someone trying to blast us for caring about this very intimate, predominantly female victim, CRIME – I mean, does disliking a criminal predator make me a “feminist” shrew? If so, it’s far better than an association with a grown woman, aping disgusting expressions while wearing cheap wig and plastic tiara and trying to minimize rape and wage discrimination with stats. It’s not even a feminist thing as David so beautifully proves – this is just about some human compassion and the right to have a voice.

  • The Truth

    Hmm, seeing that dorky little picture of you, with that stupid little hat, and your bad haircut, and your ironic face stubble, and reading your little article about how you’re a male who is supposedly not emasculated or afraid of a strong woman…I gotta agree with the guy who called you a hipster fag. Worst thing is, of all the possible pictures you could’ve chosen, you went with that one.

    • blondein_tokyo

      But you don’t want to rape him…? How about at least threatening his life? What kind of weak sauce is calling someone gay, when you ought to know that guys like him, aka, Decent Human Beings, don’t find that to even be an insult?

      But now that I’m here, a woman, let the death and rape threats fly! Go on, Mr. MRA, here’s your chance to show how manly you are by threatening a person you perceive to be weaker…over the internet. *snicker*

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