I’ve thought all week about whether or not to write a follow-up to my column on Sunday night about the link between alcohol and sexual assault.
The response, almost as soon as it was published was – from some on Twitter – absolutely vicious. It was personal, it was furious, it was often defamatory, it willfully misrepresented what I had said and it was in many cases totally inaccurate.
It served to turn what could and should have been a civilised discussion into an incredibly heated and personally abusive shitfight. One that continues almost a week later, having made its way into the mainstream media and beyond.
Not all of the debate was like that, of course. Some people who disagreed with what I’d said or who had different perspectives shared them on Facebook, in the comments on Mamamia and occasionally on Twitter and remained civil.
But many didn’t. Many people didn’t even read what I’d written, preferring to be swept into the Twitter frenzy. And a handful of the most vocal Tweeters are well known to be people who simply love to jump on board any opportunity to have a go at me personally, no matter what the subject.
I don’t want to make this about me. I’m not asking for your sympathy or your flowers.
I’m just explaining why I’ve decided to write this follow-up and answer some of the outrageous accusations and slanderous statements that have been made about my views on the subject of sexual assault this week.
While I can’t prevent people from disagreeing with me or even abusing me, I don’t have to passively accept it.
Because you know why? I believe in what I’m saying and I’m damned if I’m going to let this very important message be hijacked by those who are deliberately misrepresenting it – and me.
I have chosen not to get involved on Twitter because there have literally been thousands and thousands of tweets and retweets (I’ve noticed that while many people have become involved in the discussion, Twitter has been all about a few individuals doing something we call power-posting; repeating themselves again and again, very loudly and RT’ing every single tweet that agrees with them).
So instead, I thought I’d answer the most common criticisms here instead. To set the record straight.
“Mia Freedman is pro-rape.” This is repugnant. Not even the most twisted mind could rationally take that sentiment away from what I wrote. It’s here. Please read it if you want to have an informed conversation about it.
“Mia Freedman is blaming rape victims for causing their own sexual assault.” Again, please. I explicitly and repeatedly stated in my original column that a victim of sexual assault is never, ever, ever at fault. I cannot emphasise that enough. The idea of a rape victim doing something to ‘cause’ a crime is one that has been comprehensively rejected for decades now. As it should be. I simply pointed out the connection between alcohol and sexual assault as a RISK factor – not a causal one. If you don’t understand the difference, you need to, before you start making outrageous and patently false statements about what I believe.