I am getting uncomfortable with some of the sweeping statements being made by participants in the #mooreandme campaign.
(If you’re not sure what #mooreandme is, go read this post. It’s a good, basic rundown of the whole mess, with quotes, facts, and timeline. Tl;dr summary: #mooreandme is a Twitter campaign, led by Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, to call some people out for engaging in some really horrific rape apologism.)
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment behind the campaign. Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann have behaved appallingly, even more with their refusal to acknowledge their spreading of misinformation and endangerment of the women involved.
I have seen statements floating by to the effect of “Never trust anyone who talks about women making false rape claims”.
In addition to the many people I know who have been raped, I know someone who has been damaged by a false rape claim. These people do exist. Should they be used to discredit the vast majority of true rape claims? Absolutely not. But don’t erase them; don’t erase the damage done by them. Don’t make generalized, sweeping statements that make people feel unsafe to even mention their own experience.
Think of it this way; all rape claims are no more true than they are all false. Just like it is ridiculous to say that all women (or no women!) regret their abortions.
Part of what social justice is about is acknowledging and respecting the individual, and not erasing a person or their experience because it doesn’t fit with your ideology.
The pervasiveness of rape culture does indeed mean that it is far more likely for a true rape claim to be disbelieved than for a false rape claim to be believed; but, again, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen, nor does it make it somehow okay to erase a smaller group in the name of helping a larger one.
I know Twitter leaves little room for nuance. But there are a million valid ways to state the points behind the #mooreandme campaign without resorting to erasure and sweeping statements that cannot possibly be true.
Date: December 20, 2010