I cannot even begin to convey the multiple layers and colors and shapes of my contempt for this piece in The Daily Beast about Paxton Quigley, a female gun advocate who's made a career out of appropriating the experiences of female survivors of sexual violence, arguing that women can prevent rape by arming themselves.
She's a victim-blamer:
"Every 2 minutes, a woman is sexually assaulted in the U.S. There are 207,754 victims of sexual assault each year. Eighty percent are under the age of 30," she says, citing statistics from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN. "That's a lot of women walking around who are targets. They're talking on their cellphones or texting, totally unaware of what's going on. It's part of the reason why people get themselves into trouble."—and a patronizing asshole, who think she can speak for all women, and for survivors:
"So many women out there are now living alone or are heads of households. They have to learn to protect themselves, protect their families. I can tell you this: a woman will be antigun, but then once she's assaulted, she wants a gun."Fuck off. I have been assaulted, and I don't want a fucking gun.
It's not, however, even the article itself which is the primary target of my ire.
Not only did The Daily Beast run this piece of shit article; someone from their public relations team emailed me to tell me about it. The expectation was clearly not that I would write about it favorably, so someone actually made a decision to email a well-known survivor of sexual assault a traffic-seeking, inflammatory article that exploits survivors, hoping to infuriate me enough that I'd write about it and drive traffic to their site.
My other option, of course, was to simply ignore it. Except my ignoring it doesn't change the fact that the article is still out there, and it doesn't change the fact that The Daily Beast thinks it's a cool business model to appeal to survivors' righteous indignation about being exploited by a gun advocate in the wake of a shooting mass murder.
That is some gross opportunism, and I don't feel inclined to let it slide.
One of the realities of identifying as a survivor, especially one who writes a lot about the rape culture, is that I get sent a lot of articles about sexual violence. I'm fine with that.
What I'm not fine with is a publication publishing a stupidly provocative piece and then using it like a stick to poke me. (And, presumably, other writers like me.)
What I'm not fine with is being reduced to my value to your publication as a survivor who writes about rape culture, because you don't pitch me on any of the other content in your rag, but suddenly find me a useful contact on your exploitative rape piece.
What I'm not fine with is surviving sexual violence being treated like a personal interest. My interest in the rape culture isn't akin to a being a tennis aficionado. If your promotional process looks anything like, "Hey, Melissa McEwan might want to see this because she was totally raped!", you have derailed.