I have been criticised for saying on Nicky Campbell’s show that people who are sent vile messages about rape should enjoy them. “You can enjoy that the’s vile stuff,” Nicky said. “Surely there is some stuff where you have to draw a line.”
I am a very experienced ‘Big Man.’ A Big Man is a type of user who holds very strong point of views and is willing to defend them at all costs. To be a Big Man one needs to be able to fend off lots of other users targeting you at the same time. Twitter is actually one of the best platforms if you want to be a Big Man.
How is being a Big Man anything to do with being sent rape threats you might ask? The skill every Big Man has – including me – is to be able objectify one’s attackers so that they are just seen as combatants and their messages simply seen as attacks to one needs to defend.
Many have spoken of women being objectified. Speak to any public service worker with regular contact with the public – the only way they can do their jobs is to see others as objects. When I asked an ambulance worker about how they can deal with all the harm they see the public suffer, the answer they gave was – “see them as slabs of meat”.
So that is what people being abused on masse on Twitter need to do – regardless of whether they are a man or women and regardless of whether one is being threatened with rape – or as once happened to me on the Pontytown online community, being threatened to be hit by a battery in a sock or to have one’s legs broken with a baseball bat – one just needs to see the messages as just attacks and to see those trolling as a crowd and not as individual people.
The only reason people get so offended by these rape threats is because the word ‘rape’ has a very deep and threatening meaning. In a dictionary it is no more important a word than any other. And that is how people being trolled by rape-callout trolls need to see it – they are being sent unpleasant words and not credible threats.