Who needs stoning when there’s Twitter?

Did you see the disgusting Tweets when Olympic medal winning gymnast Beth Tweedle took part in a Q and A?

colmc71 coco bald @SkySportsNews #Sportswomen On a scale of 1/10 how pig ugly would you class yourself?


Maxstormer Max Stormer Beth Tweddle, why did you turn down the role of Lord Voldermort? #sportswomen


Trolling went on for two hours straight. The Telegraph reports:


And that’s not taking into account such comments as: “Do you think pregnancy is a poor injury excuse and women should be able to run it off?” and “are all sportswomen lesbians?”

Perhaps Sky should have pulled the gym mat out from under the whole thing at that stage.

Because what followed was almost two hours of trolling: a torrent of vile insults and misogyny. Tweddle was only able to answer a handful of questions and even those were deliberately misconstrued.

<noframe>Twitter: Finlay Gillon –  At what point in your life did you know that Gymnastics was going to be a major part of it ?


Twitter responded to this comment by calling this World Champion sportswoman a “slut” and “bitch”. She was asked whether she wanted “cock” or “anal”. Someone even posted a picture of Jimmy Savile.


Did you get the part about how Tweedle is an Olympic medalist? Instead of being recognized as a hero– as male medalists are– she is publicly shamed and reduced to a sex object. This kind of reaction happens so often to women in public, that I’ve come to believe it’s like a modern day stoning. In the USA, we don’t use the Taliban to silence women, but the media serves to keep women quiet, hidden, and isolated. Come out, and we’ll get you.

This week, 19 yr old tennis player, Eugenie Bouchard, became the first Canadian woman to advance to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in nearly thirty years. In her post game interview, what was she asked? Who would she would date.

Female politicians also get reduced to sexist cliches by the media. After the brutal attacks on Wendy Davis, gubernatorial candidate in Texas, a republican came out to defend her. The Huffington Post reports:

Conservatives are attacking Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) for misrepresenting her background, in particular the hardships she faced as a young single mother. But one Texas Republican is defending Davis’ record, saying the gubernatorial candidate wouldn’t be subject to the same criticism if she were male.


On Sunday, a Dallas Morning News article pointed out some discrepancies in the stories Davis has told — including when she was divorced from her first husband, how long she lived in a trailer and how she paid for law school. In response, conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh have labeled her a “genuine head case” and claimed she had a “sugar daddy.”


Some pundits have even suggested that Davis was a negligent parent for leaving her children with her second husband while she attended Harvard Law School in the early 1990s.


Becky Haskins, a Republican who served with Wendy Davis on the Fort Worth City Council, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday that Davis was a hard worker who did what she needed to do for her daughters.

“If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up,” Haskins told the Star-Telegram. “It’s so sad. Every time I ran, somebody said I needed to be home with my kids. Nobody ever talks about men being responsible parents.”


Moving on to actresses, when she was body panned by a camera at the SAG Awards, Cate Blanchett crouched down and said, “Do you do this to the guys?”

PolyMic reports:

Blanchett’s reaction shows yet another subtle moment of sexism that even the most successful women have to deal with.


And that’s exactly it, because this treatment happens to public women. When men get more power and success, they are admired. But when women achieve go public with their ambition and accomplishments, the media warns us we are likely to be humiliated. With the risks so great and the rewards so low, how many women are going to try to put their visions out into the world? I guess that’s the point., right?

But here’s some good news. In response to Wheedle’s treatment, Telegraph reports:


What’s been refreshing, in the wake of this latest incident, is the way Tweddle’s treatment has been reported. Far from encouraging women to engage in ‘Twitter silences’ or boycotts, we’re speaking up and doing as Criado-Perez suggested after her experiences last summer: shouting back at trolls.


Sky released this statement:


We’re committed to supporting women’s sport and Beth’s Q&A was a chance for fans to engage with one of Britain’s most successful sports stars,” it said. “We’re appalled that some people chose to abuse her. This experience highlights some of the unacceptable and offensive attitudes that can be encountered by women in the public eye.

New Statesman did an article about it, and Everyday Sexism also responded.

Keep shouting back at the trolls. Don’t be a passive bystander. Really, the worst thing we can do is stay silent. Often harassment reaches the next level. Amanda Hess recently posted “Why women aren’t welcome on the internet” about her abuse, arguing internet stalking is a civil rights issue.

“Ignore the barrage of violent threats and harassing messages that confront you online every day.” That’s what women are told. But these relentless messages are an assault on women’s careers, their psychological bandwidth, and their freedom to live online. We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong.”


Hess makes the point that the virtual world is the real world when women are threatened. It’s a great post and you should read it if you haven’t.

Update: Sara comments on Reel Girl:

Isn’t responding to the trolls what they want? I mean, that’s why they call it “feeding the trolls.”  I think the media needs to be held responsible for sensoring inappropriate comments.  These “public” forums are really not – they are private spaces under the control of media organizations, and they do have the power to delete this garbage.  Our first amendment rights only guarentee we can’t be thrown in jail for speaking our minds, but in this case I really wish companies like twitter would hire people to detoxify the cesspool.


Yes, agreed. Sorry if I was not clear. I mean responding that this treatment is not acceptable i.e. Sky’s statement, the New Statesman post, Becky Haskins defending Davis’s record, Cate Blanchett not suffering in quietly etc. Refusing to be shamed or humiliated into silence. Shouting back at the trolls, to me, means keep speaking your truth. Also, I added a link to Amanda Hess’s post on internet abuse. It’s a great post. Take a look if you haven’t seen it. She argues internet abuse is a civil rights issue, which I agree with, though a lot of the sexism women experience doesn’t fall into these kinds of threats, but shaming.

Prosecute ‘gender crimes,’ Van der Sloot first up

Joran Van der Sloot, the alleged killer of Natalee Holloway, the co-ed who disappeared in Aruba in 2005, was captured tonight in Chile. He’s under suspicion for the stabbing death of 21 year old Peruvian Stephany Flores. On June 2, Flores’s body was found in Lima, Peru in a hotel room registered to Van Der Sloot.

Joran Van der Sloot, Natalee Hollowayhttp://mylifeofcrime.files.wordpress.com 

Joran Van der Sloot, Natalee Holloway

Van der Sloot was arrested twice for Holloway’s killing. He was released twice due to lack of evidence. Part of the “lack of evidence” included Van der Sloot talking on video about Holloway’s death and how her body was taken out to sea. This video “did not incriminate” Van der Sloot because he claimed he was just trying to “impress a drug dealer.”

Violence against women is epidemic, but perpetrators like Van der Sloot, too often don’t get punished and become repeat offenders. There is little public awareness of the ubiquity of the crimes, and insufficient funding for education, prevention, prosecution, or protection for women.

When the media covers stories about victims like Natalee Holloway, it’s usually in the most sensationalistic, ineffective way. If the women are attractive, white, and middle class, as she was, networks endlessly recycle former cheerleading or prom photos. But rarely do Larry King, Greta van Susteren, or Bill O’Reilly and co. accompany these horrific stories with facts about how widespread violence against women is, featuring direct service workers, experts in the field, who can educate the public with real statistics and solutions.

Today, in the Bay Area, Roselyne Swig, founder of Partners Ending Domestic Abuse took a step towards helping to stop the violence in a more effective way. Swig convened a summit in San Francisco with leaders from Bay Area organizations committed to ending violence against women. Swig’s hope is that these Bay Area organizations will collaborate, providing a leadership position, bringing public awareness to this widespread issue, taking action to end it.

JaMel Perkins, Board President of Partners, opened the summit by sharing terrifying statistics including some of these:

31% of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend.

Around the world, 1 in 3 women are beaten, coerced into sex or physically abused.

Women of all races and ethnicities are equally vulnerable to violence by a domestic partner.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women.

77% of those deaths occur in the first trimester.

Abused women are 60% more likely to require hospitalization while pregnant.

90% of our homeless population are victims of abuse.

The health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and Homicide committed by domestic partners exceed $5.8 Billion each year. Nearly $4.1 billion of this is spent on direct medical and mental health care services.

1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

The summit was attended by representatives from Bay Area organizations including SF Child Abuse Center, Blue Shield Against Violence (the leading private DV funder in the state), La Casa de la Madres, the police department and DA’s office who convened to network and collaborate.

“Domestic violence is something we should all be concerned about,” said Swig. “We need to create a collaborative voice.”

Marcia Smolens of HMS Associates, a local lobbying group, urged advocates to use social media to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence to create change.

Judy Patrick, President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, said that the goal of her foundation is to ensure that women and families are safe, healthy, and economically secure.

Stephany Floreswww.cbsnews.com 

Stephany Flores

Marj Plumb of the Women’s Policy Institute trains women leaders who work in direct service to affect change in Sacramento. Women working on the front lines need the skills to lobby legislators to make policy that will help women and prevent violence.

Plumb had the women at the summit break into groups and identify problems and solutions to eradicate violence. Most groups felt that education was key, including curriculum for kids at middle school level, educating families, cultural awareness, and men.

I wish the media was a better educator. It’s such a missed opportunity. Domestic violence, and all violence against women, should be renamed as “gender crimes,” receiving the elevated level of attention and punishment that hate crimes do. The word “domestic” has always softened the crime for me, a crime that’s already not taken nearly seriously enough. Too often, crimes against women are written off as cultural issues, a misunderstanding, a married woman can’t possibly be raped by her husband or alcohol was involved so no one is to blame, or she’s to blame, or the guy who said he raped her was “just bragging.”

If the Taliban had been named worldwide for what it was– gender apartheid– maybe there would have been the universal outrage against it that people felt for South Africa’s racist government. Instead, most Americans, even good old San Francisco liberals, looked away, ignoring a regime where women were beaten and murdered, daily by their husbands and fathers as part of “cultural ritual.”

This year Yale student Annie Le was murdered and stuffed into a wall; UVA star Lacrosse player, Yeardley Love was murdered by fellow lacrosse player, George Hughley; Bruce Beresford-Redmond, a producer of the show “Survivor” is the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, Monica Beresford-Redmond, who was found dead in Mexico.

All of these killings received media attention, because these women were young, attractive, or middle class. Would we know about Peruvian Stephany Flores if Natalee Holloway hadn’t been killed by the same suspect? Maybe, her father is wealthy, but she’s got a strike against her: she’s not white. How many gender crimes happened today worldwide that we don’t know about? How many are happening right now?

Statistics say that in America 3 women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends every day.