One of the men who wrote threatening and utterly vile comments to Clementine Ford has publicly apologised.
20-year-old South Australian man Ryan Hawkins, who threatened to rape and bash Clementine, has said it was all a bad joke.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean what I said. It was a bad joke,” he said. “I was being a smart arse, just trying to have some sick fun with her, but it didn’t really work.”
Please excuse us while we play the tiniest violin for the bro who’s sick fun didn’t really work. Shame that Clem didn’t get that rape threats were a joke. And calling her “lesbian scum”? WHAT A HOOT.
Mr Hawkins said his phone was blowing up with messages and friend requests (so what, all the fully sick bros could organise meet ups to take down the feminazi scum and measure dicks by the moonlight?) after Clementine Ford shared the screenshots on her Facebook page.
“[I thought] it was pretty obvious it was an empty threat, but I guess she didn’t,” he said, because maybe he missed the point that while rape threats from strangers aren’t actually rape, they are online abuse and sexual harassment, and face up to three years imprisonment in South Australia.
When he realised that he’d been named by Clementine as a cyber abuser, he panicked and claimed his phone was hacked, but later fessed up to the comments.
But it’s okay guys, because he’s learning from his mistakes. “Everybody should think before they post trolling comments online, as they may receive a bigger response than they intended,” he said.
missing the fucking point dot com
Clementine took his non-apology and shoved it up his digital arse. “Yes, telling someone you’ll rape and bash then is ‘sick fun’ and a ‘bad joke’ and you should definitely not do it, not because it’s an atrocious thing to threaten someone with, but because people might retaliate and be mean to you. Pathetic.”
We spoke to Clem last week about what is letting women down in these situations – is it rape culture mentality, or is Australia lacking systems to deal with cyber abuse?
I think it’s a mix,” she said. “Rape culture for sure, but also lack of understanding about cyber abuse and the limits of the law in regards to the internet. As far as I’m concerned, using the medium to stalk, harass and threaten women is a form of abuse and it is just as legitimate as acts done in the real world.” (Read the interview here.)
She elaborated further on The Project on Wednesday night, which if you haven’t seen it yet is well worth it. (Watch Gretel Killeen nod along in glum solidarity when Clem talks about women in the public sphere experiencing online harassment.)
“I don’t really see that there’s any appropriate mechanisms, particularly on Facebook, to really deal with these kinds of things. People in society generally say to women that these are kinds of attitudes that we need to ignore, that if women want to put themselves out in the public sphere then we need to expect that this kind of backlash will happen.”
“The power comes from women standing up together, saying this is the reality of what happens when we speak out, this is harassment that all of us experience and it’s not okay. It’s not okay to do it in public, it’s not okay to do it in private, it’s not okay to it all.”
Facebook tried to suspend Clementine Ford for 30 days for posting screenshots of abuse. Luckily for Clementine, she has a vast audience to help her make Facebook sit up and listen that publicly reporting abuse is not violating Facebook’s community standards, but for most people this isn’t the case.
“It should not be forgotten that the vast majority of abuse targets do not have the same level of resources that public writers and poeple with large Twitter followings have at their disposal. After FB banned me for having the audacity to publish photographs of the onslaught of sexualised abuse being sent my way, I was able to mobilise an army of passionate, enraged people. I do not take lightly the fact that I have more privelege than many others when it comes to these issues. Many who are punished do not have that kind of support.”
“This is a win for me, but I hope it sets a precedent for all future victims of online FB harassment and becomes a win for all users who have done nothing wrong except stand against injustice and hate. When we speak out, we are not just raising voices – we’re raising courage. That’s the most important weapon we have, and it’s the one we can’t ever afford to lose.”
She has since taken down the screenshots of abuse, because “the point had been proven,” yet stories about her attackers are still coming to light.
It appears that Ryan Hawkins is exactly the sort of person who would send vile abuse to a stranger. A woman named Brittany Taylah commented on a post on Clementine Ford’s page, saying that he’d “been doing it for years and getting away with it.”
(Skip to the third comment – Mr Hawkins is not related to the story of the three Adelaide school boys who were among the cyber abusers getting named and shamed who were since suspended.)
In summary: rape, not okay. Rape threats, not okay. Cyber abuse, not okay. Just all of it is fucking not okay, okay?
Watch Clementine Ford’s piece on The Project here: