Some months back, I created an online space meant to promote awareness for women’s issues, racism, and equality. The people following this site were mostly activists against domestic violence and family court bias and many were victims of the same. I posted a link there to a video here on bisexual awareness week and received immediate responses from Christian women who told me this material was sick, sinful, and utterly disgusting. They wouldn’t be following me any longer because they couldn’t bear this disgusting garbage I was promoting, and how dare I?
In their comments on various posts, these women routinely belittled other women, trashed feminism, and outright bashed those in the LGBTQ+ community as well as people of color. They body shamed, slut-shamed, and victim shamed. They were prejudiced against those with religious beliefs different from their own. These women didn’t understand discrimination, patriarchy, or privilege, and were unaware of their own internal misogyny and sexist views.
The attitudes of these women didn’t anger me so much as they made me sad; sad that so many victims fail to see what IPV is really about and sad that while these victims were fighting to raise awareness for the abuse of one group, they were perpetuating the abuse of others.
When a group of people is wronged based on their race, gender, class, religious beliefs, lifestyles, etc. we call this discrimination. The women who angrily bashed members of the LGBTQ+ community were fighting for women who were discriminated against because of their gender – all while failing to understand that the discrimination they were fighting was the exact same discrimination they were leveling against the LGBTQ+ community!
When you fight against IPV, you’re fighting against discrimination. Discrimination is the foundation upon which human rights violations are built. Racism, IPV, the pay wage gap, rape, body shaming, reproductive rights, human trafficking, the slave trade, sexism, and poverty are all examples of issues that are centered around discrimination.
Ending any human rights issue requires an end to all discrimination and that means fighting not just for one group of people but fighting for all who are oppressed. These issues can’t be separated. When you fight for equal pay, you fight to end poverty. Ending poverty helps to end human trafficking. When you fight against body and slut shaming, you’re fighting to end rape culture. And so on.
When you don your social justice warrior cloak, you’re stepping into the ring to fight discrimination FOR EVERYONE not just white, hetero, cisgendered, binary, able-bodied, neurotypical, Christian women. If you’re an activist fighting for the equal rights of only one group then you don’t understand discrimination, privilege, intersectionality, or systems of abuse and oppression. Until you are ready to recognize that ALL humans are equal, get out of the ring. You’re not fighting abuse, you’re feeding it.