Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Dangers of Blogging While Female

Clint Heine linked to my post about The Australian Labor Party. The post and comments are almost entirely made up of personal insults, which is unsurprising. But one commenter, James, said (about me):

Nothing a big black dildo won't fix......
Clint replied:
James.....!!! Nice suggestion, go over there and tell her that :)
Insults go with the territory, I have no problem with people calling me a thieving, parasite dog. But James wants to hold me down and stick an object in my vagina (or mouth, or anus), and Clint thinks this is a good idea.

Clint Heine is blogging under his real name. He is affiliated with the ACT party, and was formerly President of Prebble's Rebels. Yet he is comfortable not just hosting, but encouraging a threat of rape against me. Are rape threats really that acceptable?

To anyone reading this, no matter whether or not you agree with what I say, do you believe rape threats are an acceptable response to a woman speaking her mind? I know the New Zealand blogsphere isn't known for being a place of high intellectual debate, but I'm asking for there to be a line. I am asking people to take a stand against what James, and Clint Heine wrote, however much you disagree with me.

Comments on this blog are on moderation until further notice.


  1. I am shocked an horrified at the rape comment--yet one more act that should make all men ashamed. I'm so sorry you have to face this. Doubtless these idiots would claim that they were just joking, but of course what they're really doing is using rape "jokes" to try to intimidate a woman from participating in public life. It's a sign of their own weakness, but that doesn't make it any easier for you. I'm so sorry

  2. Good for you for speaking out and refusing to be silenced, Maia. There's a certain sort of internet creep who can't stand articulate left-wing women, and will try to shut them up with insults and, apparently, sex toys. Yes, that tired old insult "she needs a good fuck" (or dildo, or whatever) - as if women had no legitimate grievances, at least none that couldn't be silenced by their sexual violence.

    I know you're too strong a person to be seriously upset by these insults, but if you need to, comfort yourself with the knowledge that they are probably very unpleasant people with very unhappy lives, because sensible people don't see the need to behave in this disgusting way.

  3. Anonymous9:25 am

    Ugh. I'm sick of this sort of thing. You have my support, of course.

    And even if they were talking about masturbation, as they claim - and I don't believe it for one minute, suggesting that a) what's wrong with a woman they disagree with is a lack of sexual activity b) they have the right to determine that said activity should take place, is all part of the way of thinking that allows rape to be acceptable in some circles.

  4. Anonymous11:07 am

    Maia, I'm a long-time reader delurking to say you've got my support too, for what it's worth.

    I think this vileness reveals one of the big problems of the internet: anyone can take your content and link to it, copy it, distort it or comment on it in any way they want.

    That freedom should be a good thing, except that people use it to unleash all sorts of sexism (and racism, and other prejudice) that's brewing inside them.

    And so even what you post on your own journal, where you have control over the content, comments, etc., can get turned into fodder for violent misogyny like those comments.

    As long as there's freedom for woman-hating on the internet, there can't be a real safe space for a woman anywhere here.

  5. Anonymous2:32 pm

    You have my support.


  6. I think the comments directed at you are way out of line. However, James in particular has a fixation with sex, so it's not surprising he can only think that way. I'm not sure what Clint's excuse is.

  7. So, can we google bomb him on this? It seems fitting that future employers know of his advocacy of violence against women.

  8. I think what they have said is appalling, ignorant and particularly stupid. It reflects incredibly badly on them and highlights their short-sighted moronity more than anything else.

    Personally, I think calling this a rape threat however is a bit extreme. It's absolutely insulting and ridiculous, I wouldn't call it threatening in the sense of a real call to action (IMHO).

    I think you have the power, through your blog and your networks, to expose these idiots in the public arena, particularly as at least one of them is using his own name. Go for it girl.

  9. They're probably just being nostalgic for the 'good old days' back at their private Boys School. Anytime someone stepped out of line and disobeyed the prefects, it was the 'big black dildo' treatment for them... Pretty soon however, the prefects discovered that the likes of James and Clint were breaking the rules even more regularly, almost as if the thought of the 'BBD' was scarcely any sort of deterrent at all... hmmm... strange...

    But seriously, Maia: Good on you for not letting these sad little freaks intimidate you (as was surely their intention).

  10. You're right, those comments are unacceptable, it is childish to play the person not the issue. Particularly bad to use violence analogies when anyone with half a brain knows you're sensitive to this.

    I almost never agree with you politically, and frankly found your statement "Bosses are theiving parasite dogs, thieving and parasiting is how capitalism works" a vile expression of bigotry. It's plain wrong and has been used by certain political movements to justify the murders of thousands and millions of people.

    However no political expression (except a direct call to inflict violence on anyone) justifies a joke to do violence to others.

  11. Anonymous11:06 pm

    I think Clint is guilty of sexism rather than actually advocating rape of any shape or form.

    However you should think twice before accusing him or that immature James boy of rape threats.

    Perhaps both sides should apologise to each other and withdraw their posts?

  12. Anonymous11:39 pm

    I vehemently disagree with Angelfish: firstly, because Maia has absolutely nothing to apologise for. I'm pretty tired of people not accepting rape threats as such unless they explicity contain the word "rape." That's exactly how men get away with them.

    Maia knows, and most of the rest of us know exactly why that comment was made: so Maia would hear of it and feel intimidated.

    They can go to hell. And so, by the way, can all of those "oh, but it's not really a *rape* threat" apologists.

  13. Anonymous11:59 pm

    Maia, thanks for taking a stand on this in the blogsphere, that is a courageous thing to do.

    I'm completely supportive of a line being drawn on this kind of misogyny. I agree with yours and others' analysis of the comment - that it is sickly violent against you as a woman, and is rendered 'acceptable' by making it out as a joke.

    What's with the use of black in the original comment? Are there racist overtones in the misogyny as well?

    I/S, how do we do the googlebomb?

  14. Anonymous2:24 am

    Crys t.

    James has a proven record of making these remarks on all blogs -but he is way too stupid to advocate rape. Clint's just an immature misogynist. Together they are dumb and dumber!

    Weka - it might not be wise to start googlebombing Clint when he never said the statement and has on his blog said that it was not intended (from his end) to be a threat. However, James (does anybody know his last name?) needs a kick up the buttocks for starting this. Maybe I'm being naive but surely googlebombing that would break laws or is deliberatly defamatory?

    Maia, I'm just playing devils advocate because these little boys seem to be too stupid for you to worry about when there is so much real injustice to fight against in Aotearoa.

  15. Maia,

    this is apalling. Well done for making it known.

  16. Sadly you're not the only one who gets this kind of despicable treatment. Wrong, so very wrong.

  17. but he is way too stupid to advocate rape
    So you have to be smart to advocate rape? News to me.

    Public service announcement: I understand that some people might not get why that constitutes a veiled suggestion of rape. But any time someone says about a woman "she just needs a good fucking" or "a dick up her ass would fix that" or any such vile comment, the use of force in the application of said "dick" is implied. The implication is that the woman doesn't know what's good for her, and ought to be shown, via the aforementioned (and implicitly involuntary) "fucking." I hope this clears things up.

  18. I stand in support, Maia.

    I'm curious: how does anyone feel about using the Blogger Flag button? Has anyone used it before? Is it worthwhile to flag hate speech as a way of saying "this is unaccepatable"?

  19. Anonymous5:57 am

    Coming in via Pandagon: I'm amazed that someone would publish rape threats under his own name. My resident troll has 20 or so aliases, trying to give the impression that he is a whole bunch of guys when he's actually just some twerp living in Toronto. He started out posting rape and murder threats, and when I threatened to track him down he stopped those but still posts insulting comments, which I, of course, delete. He changes his IP address, posts again, I delete again. And so it goes.
    Frustrated, to get attention he follows me around posting stupid remarks under my alias of "Hattie" or posts saying no one should listen to me, and so on. He has brought more than one unmoderated discussion I've participated in to a standstill with his stupid off the topic and scurrilous rants. He's a pain.
    Question: Do you have a category of crime called "terroristic threatening" where you are? It seems that since you know who he is you might consider taking action against him, formal or informal.

  20. Maia...Just over from P'Gon and Sheezelbub..
    -Just to say...that I am ashamed
    to have this stupidish or any like sort of derogation tossed your (or anybody's) way.
    -Most of the folks who talk like that are actually wanker-twats (no gender derogations, here!), never ever done anything really manly in their whole immiserated
    subterranean & sedimentary lives.
    [But you know that.]
    -Send 'em over for a guy with calluses - and not! on his butt-....we'll talk. Awhile.
    cheers, tho' for the by-'n-bye

  21. Wow, what a jaw dropping thing to do. The Vicious nature of the internet, especially in NZ, gives a real insight into the way people honestly think without any societal restraints. This simply reflects the mentality of violence against women in society as a whole and reminds us how far away we are from being a progressive community.

    Thank you for speaking out against it.

  22. I think those comments were immature and offensive, if not actually threateninhg. You shouldn't have to put up with that kind of denigration. No one should. Good for you for calling them on it.

  23. BTW - re google bombing -its not defamation, in legal terms, if what you say is true.

  24. What revolting behavior. By all means, disagree with the argument, but to make it personal and in such an evil sexual fashion is just horrible.

    I hope my sons never act like this, I would be so ashamed.

  25. Anonymous11:20 am

    I can only hope that some of them will read your post and the comments and realize that their comments DID threaten sexual violence, whether they realized it or not. Their comments are vile.

    I'm sick of these creeps. You have my support.

  26. I wish I could be amazed at how men hate women, but nothing amazes me. And men should be ashamed of that, and should stop bitching at feminists and start keeping other men in line.

  27. Anonymous12:55 pm

    It gives me a nice, warm feeling that one day, Clint will be in the final rounds of his application for his dream job, then the HR department will do the increasingly obligatory google search of his online presence…

    Doesn’t “Heine” mean “arse” in America?

    Cast Iron Balcony

  28. Maia

    Since when has telling a woman to go masturbate herself with an object designed for such a task, a threat of rape?

    Offensive - yes. Threatening - come ON!

    I suggest you read my post on penis size.

  29. Anonymous2:57 pm

    I'm with you Maia - threats of rape or other forms of sexual violence are NEVER acceptable, no matter the context or supposed 'humour'

  30. Anonymous2:57 pm

    Friend of Sofiya's dropping by here -- you're dead right about Joe MacDonald. And this was some bullshit.

    And thank you for reminding us all that workplace safety is everybody's business.

  31. Anonymous6:36 pm

    "Clint Heine", eh? That's a name I'll be remembering in case he ever shows up in New Zealand politics again. One benefit of a small country: it's really easy to tell a whole lot of people about who the asswipes are.

  32. Just in case the bots don't pick this up (they seem to ignore me for some reason) here's my post in support too:

    Arohanui e hoa

  33. Anonymous12:16 am

    Having looked at other comments James has made I feel that you should be directing your hate and abuse towards him.

    If I was Clint I'd be looking at legal options if he continues to get named as a rape aggressor. As a solicitor I would be encouraging it.

    Your commenter "Cactus Kate" makes a strong point - it is offensive, bt threatening it isn't. All you needed to do was email him and ask him to retract it and apologise, but you have turned this into a witchhunt that could possibly turn into a nasty legal case where I predict you would come off second best. However if I was James which I'm thankfully not, I would be making an apology quick before others figured out his last name.

    Maia, call off the hounds, this isn't the way to deal with people like this.

  34. Thank you for posting on this, Maia.

    This little feminist blogger is still waiting for the Portland PD to dig up her freaking case number. Apparently, the rapist (who confessed to me at least) still hasn't called it rape himself, so...

    Yeah. Lots of shit needs to change. I'm so sick of this damn country. Can I move to yours, Maia ;D

  35. Anonymous3:39 am

    "Call off the hounds"???!?

    So now commenting on someone's asinine behaviour counts as behaving in pack mentality/mob behaviour?? And calling someone an idiot who makes rape threats--on a blog that is NOT his, but on the blog of his victim's--and giving the target of his attack some sympathy is a "witchhunt"??

    Yet, interestingly, making the obviously hostile comment that started this witchhunt is, well, a little silly, but otherwise it's a-okay, apparently.

    Angelfish, you have one deeply fucked-up set of values.

    But of course, when men insult or threaten women, it's regrettable but something we just have to accept. But if the threatened/insulted women stands up for herself, and anyone else shows some solidarity with her, it's *terrible*, *horrible* and must stop NOW!

    Like I said, one fucked-up set of values.

  36. I think this has been blown out of all proportion.

    To suggest this is a rape comment/threat is unbelievable.

    Agree with CK. Yes the comment was offensive. But there are a lot of offensive comments around the blogosphere. And I'm sure most bloggers have been subject to offensive statements at some point in time.

    To cry "rape threat" is taking this however, far too far.


  37. "All you needed to do was email him and ask him to retract it and apologise, but you have turned this into a witchhunt that could possibly turn into a nasty legal case where I predict you would come off second best."

    Oh, look, a concern troll.

  38. James has since commented elsewhere that he didn't have the slightest intent of threatening ANY violence. Clint has explicitly said so as well. Like some others have said, offensive joke it was, unwise it was, vague even (to those who don't read Clint's blog and understand the context), but a genuine threat, hardly.

    Apparently people have been threatening violence to him, ironically, and threatening to make him unemployable. Such a witchhunt is reminiscent of red guards who find someone being offensive, and then point, judge, prosecute and punish. Supporting Maia is one thing, but to call activity beyond blog commenting and posting (including what is arguably defamation) solidarity is disingenuous.

    At worst he is guilty of an offensive joke that was misinterpreted, and it was foolish to not make it very clear what wasn't being said.

    What is VERY clear is that he doesn't understand your perspective anymore than you understand his. He can't believe you thought what you thought, and you can't believe he didn't think it.

    and Dorid you're wrong about "You won't hear a man telling another MAN he needs to get laid, get a dildo etc when he disagrees" yes you will, I have, I've said it once myself. People are often not the stereotypes you think they are.

  39. I dont know what he meant but if someone I knew said that they would mean the sexist comment about women needing sex to be functioning members of society. I guess it is presumptious to assume it means one thing or the other but I can see how maia might take it the way that she did.

    i suggest your plans to ruin his future employment are really rather anti-social unless you think he has broken the law or is a serious danger to people.

    Do you really want people spending large amounts of time trying to track you down and destroy your employment opportunities? I would have expected better of you.

  40. Anonymous10:48 pm

    These comments are completely threatening. The casualness with which people online (anonymous or not) speaking of killing and raping women - as if it's a normal, perhaps even funny - it's so disturbing. I blog, and i get at least one comment a week in this category. -- might be about rape, required sexual favours, or (today) about murdering women.

  41. Anonymous3:50 am

    libertyscott said...
    James has since commented elsewhere that he didn't have the slightest intent of threatening ANY violence.

    The fact that these men are ignorant of the what they are saying doesn't surprise me (although I have no way of knowing what their intentions were at the time). And it doesn't excuse them.

    It's the same argument that men use about physical rape - that it is the man's intention and interpretation of events that is important not the experience of the woman.

  42. Disgusting, but not really surprising. Men hate us. That's all there is to it.

  43. "Such a witchhunt is reminiscent of red guards who find someone being offensive, and then point, judge, prosecute and punish."

    Witchhunt? No one's "hunting" anyone. Maia was singled out by Clint Heine and his buddies for an offensive, frightening, rape-connotating attack, not the other way around. Your comment sounds as if you're putting the responsibility on her - just like the sexist, misogynist creeps who blame rape survivors for being raped.

  44. I've been told I'm irrational on some issues, that I exaggerate the bad things and won't accept the view that it's not as bad as I say it is.

    Then I read things like this.

    I wish it were possible to exaggerate the badness.

  45. Anonymous11:47 pm

    I agree with you. Why is it that when some "men" cannot hold up their side of an argument they resort to vulgarity or profanity to hide their intellectual incapacity. It's really pathetic.

    Has anyone checked out the website (more like a crap-site) ?
    Are these men for real or just taking the piss? It's scary to know there are nutcases like this in the world...