Friday, March 20, 2009

Why I am boycotting Jezebel and you should too.

Imagine that you are a woman in a long-term relationship with a man you love. You have an extremely upsetting nonconsensual sexual experience with your boyfriend that leaves you questioning whether you should stay, even though you think that he may have transgressed out of stupidity and not malice. You go (anonymously) to a moderated, paid-membership forum with a reputation for providing good advice and ask for guidance. Many people say that you were sexually assaulted and should leave; others say that you may be able to work through this, if his action was genuinely inadvertent.

Megan, a blogger at (which compensates its authors based on the hit counts their posts receive) links to your story and uses it as a jumping-off point for a rant about rape in relationships. It gets huge amounts of attention and hundreds of people seize on portions of your account and attack your boyfriend. Members of the advice forum are upset that what many consider a personal account of a sexual assault has been given much greater publicity than the poster originally intended. They write to the blogger to ask that the post be taken down, out of sensitivity to someone the blogger characterizes as a rape victim. (The blogger herself has been raped: maybe she'll understand?) But she refuses, saying "oversharing can have consequences you don't expect."

Then you write to the blogger, saying that your original post didn't convey the full context of what happened---could she please put up a correction or take down her post? She initially agrees to publish an update, and you let the advice forum members know. But after you do, the blogger goes back on her word and refuses to correct or update the post. Why have nuance or additional detail when a slanted version draws so much more controversy?

So what's the takeaway? You've gone to a trusted forum for advice on how to deal with your sexual assault. A blogger from a supposedly feminist site is making money off your story and when you ask her to clarify or remove an excerpted version of the incomplete account of YOUR RAPE, she gives you the cold shoulder.

I'm usually on the side of those saying that information on the internet wants to be free, don't expect privacy for things you publish there, etc. But when someone asks you, one rape victim to another, "could you please take down your republication of the details of my assault?" and you effectively respond "sorry, I'm too busy raking in the cash all the page views are bringing me"---you're a contemptible, vile person. This isn't the first time this particular blogger has posted something in staggeringly bad faith, and she is not the only blogger on the site who has posted morally bankrupt things. But it's the end of the line for me.

UPDATE: Direct link to the OP removed.
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