White Ribbon Day (25 November), and the days before and after it, saw quite a flurry of activity on the White Ribbon Australia Facebook page. I visited the page a number of times during this period to monitor discussion, occasionally contribute some comments, and generally check out what was going on.
I was interested to note the unexpectedly large number of posts from people drawing attention to the fact that many men were victims of domestic violence, that support services for male victims were inadequate or non-existent, and so on. I was also surprised to see a number of occasions where moderators sought to hose down dissent by uploading posts like this one:
“White Ribbon Australia believes that all forms of violence are unacceptable and acknowledges that domestic violence is experienced by both men and women. However, we also acknowledge that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women. We are aware that there are other organisations working to stop violence against men and we commend any work they do to stop violence. If you’re a male experiencing violence, please contact MensLine on 1300 78 99 78 bit.ly/wrmensline. Similarly, the White Ribbon Campaign has a central focus; end violence against women.”
Another post, from a WRC ‘ambassador’, was similar but also earnestly invited communication with those who held views that differed from those espoused by WRC.
I was surprised because I haven’t noted comments like this in the WRC web site, or in their literature or submissions to inquiries, etc.
But alas, the positive spin ends there.
For at the same time that WRC were proffering soothing words, they were progressively removing posts from people who questioned their female-only focus or were in any way critical of their mission or their claims. They didn’t do this straight away however. I guess that would have amounted to too-obvious censorship. No they waited a half a day or a day before they quietly disappeared those troubling and clearly unacceptable posts. I’m guessing the rationale was to preserve the ideological purity of their message for the benefit of future generations. But they didn’t stop there. Oh, no. In my case, and I doubt I was alone in this regard, they banned me from making any future posts on their Facebook page.
When later I saw a particular comment posted, I simply had to respond and so I used an alternate Facebook account. The one comment to which I responded was “1 woman per week dies at the hand of her partner or ex in Aus – what a sad stat”. All I said in response was “and every ten days a man dies at the hand of his partner or ex – also a sad stat” and provided a link to a web page in which that stat was discussed.
The next day I discovered that my final comment had also been removed AND my Facebook account was locked – presumably as a result of a complaint to Facebook HQ. Given that I had not used that account for some time or for any other purpose, I think it’s reasonably safe to assume that the complaint came from WRC.
Comment on the White Ribbon Campaign (13 July 2012) Old habits die hard it seems!
Other posts in this blog most relevant to this topic:
On the censorship of non-feminist perspectives and opinions
The White Ribbon Campaign that addresses part of the problem Vs. The White Ribbon Campaign that addresses all of the problem