This post is written by M, the writer chose to remain anonymous in order to prevent attacks against herself. She denounces and condemns the grave issue of online misogyny and stresses that even though those are online attacks : “…every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. “
A couple of weeks ago an issue emerged on Twitter which resulted in the harassment of a woman, on the social media website, under the accusation that she “disrespected” the political figure Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. The woman, falsely accused of doing the “crime” herself, the crime being exercising her right to a political opinion on her own country, as well as practicing the right to freedom of speech, was subject to the revealing of her per-hijab pictures all over the social media website. The hijab is a piece of cloth that Muslim women, as well as Orthodox Christians, use to cover their hair in order to please God by following his orders. The hijab is a sign of modesty, a sign of respectfulness, and a sign of purity. Any women can put it on, and this particular woman decided to do so a couple of months ago. The recent change in lifestyle made it hard for her to track down every single hijab-less picture of herself on the internet- allowing these vulgar, disgusting, disrespectful, misogynist supposedly MUSLIM boys to find her pre-hijab pictures and post them all over their profiles. They thus went on to call her derogatory names and attack anyone who defended her in the situation. Anyone who spoke out against this got targeted.
In order to “protect themselves” from being a subject of this, some women even encouraged it through the reasoning of “she supports X political group”, “she’s from X sect”. Now many of you might not see the issue here, just another case of “internet fun”, just another something to put to the list of things “we should ignore”. I don’t see it that way at all.
Three things that make this issue relevant, other than it not being the first time these boys have attacked a woman on social media:
Firstly, and most obviously, these aren’t just people on the internet. I hate to break it to you, but every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. This could result in rape, domestic abuse, violence etc. These disgusting excuses for human beings exist in real life. And harassment accepted on the internet, easily becomes harassment accepted in daily life. Not to mention the impact of the event on women themselves. In this particular case, everyone who now sees this woman with a headscarf knows what she looks like without it, which may not seem like a big deal to non-Muslims, but it’s a big deal. This has the potential to effect the whole point of the hijab and what it stands for. Nobody, EXCEPT THE WOMAN HERSELF, has the right to rip her hijab off.
Which brings me to my second point, the fact that every single time these people attack a woman, I see very few, if any, stand up against it. I don’t see people standing up for the morals they preach so adamantly. I don’t see people stand up like the religious figures, they praise so much, have in the past. I don’t see any reaction. I just see the “oh ignore it”, “oh she asked for it, you know how they are”. “oh she should have kept it to herself”. NO. She had EVERY right to tweet whatever she did. She has the right to express herself. She has the right to discuss political orientations that don’t mirror your views. She has EVERY right to not be harassed because of a tweet you don’t agree with.
Stop victim blaming. Stop defending the perpetrators. Stop being an apologist. Grow a spine. There is no justification for sexual harassment. None whatsoever, stop looking for one just because you’re a coward. Stop trying to rationalize a woman being stripped of her identity and her dignity because of a controversial political view. You’d think that these people preaching justice, resistance and righteousness for RT’s (Retweets) all day long, would at least use one of their 20,000 tweets a day to put their money where their mouth is. The most surprising aspect of all of this all was the HIJABI MUSLIM WOMEN who laughed and attempted to justify this repulsive behavior. Internalized misogyny at its finest.
Lastly, the moral and religious aspect of the issue. These perpetrators, as well as those who encouraged these acts, are supposedly Shia Muslims. Shia Islam is a persecuted minority sect of Islam that places special emphasis on the family of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, referred to as “Ahlul Beit”. Throughout the history of Shia Islam we see the honour of martyrdom. The importance of standing up for what you believe to be right, even if it means being oppressed, murdered, or detained as a result. We can easily see this with the majority of the Imams and many of their followers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I see nothing honourable about harassment of women simply on the basis of their political views. I don’t see anything noble about making fake Snapchat accounts to send fake “nudes” to each other and claim them to be those of a woman you disagreed with.
I see nothing promising about making up rumors about women on the internet that have the capacity to ruin their reputation and stain their name. I see nothing heroic about stalking a woman’s internet profile to scavenge for pictures of her without a headscarf and paint the internet with them. I see nothing great about exposing women’s private pictures. I see nothing Shia about making a fake account of a individual’s mother and zooming into her breasts while tweeting dirty comments at boys. I see nothing Muslim about ruining the life a woman through her social media account. I see nothing Muslim about smearing the life of a sister. Of a daughter. Of a mother. I don’t see justification.
I just see hypocrisy.