In April of this year, Alyssa Funke, a 19 year old student at University of Wisconsin’s River Falls campus, took her own life. The title of the article is “The Pressure of Porn”, in which the author blames her childhood and her short porn career for her death. The expert cited minimizes the impact of the bullying she faced as a factor.
Both police and the school are denying the impact of bullying on Alyssa’s decision.
Police are investigating the circumstances of Funke’s death, but they don’t believe her being targeted by cyberbullies had anything to do with it. Stillwater High School has also spoken out in defense of their students, who were primarily responsible for the attacks on Funke, saying that the school has not had any complaints about cyberbullying in the past and that Funke was no longer a student there.
The dismissal of cyberbullying as a major factor is disturbing, especially in light of the number of high profile instances of suicides of victims. Of course, there are many more individuals who suffer and do not kill themselves, but that does not minimize the impact.
Even after her death, many people continue to spew hatred. Here are some comments from the Daily Dot website article
Lots of compassion there.
Yes, there are many who sport Alyssa, but the viciousness and the personal nature of the attacks would definitely have a major impact. The attitude behind the nastiness is very similar to the attacks faced by Rehtaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott, and Amanda Todd.
This brings us to the latest mass killer in the US: Eliot Rodger. His YouTube rants and his manifesto indicate a young man who was strongly influenced by the pick-up artists, Mens’s Rights Activists, and racist internet sites. We will never know what triggered him to go on his killing spree, but there is no doubt that the type of misogyny we see above was a factor.
It is also a factor in why prostitutes are targeted and ignored as victims of violent crime, and why victims of rape are often abused more than the perpetrators.
Religions are often rightly cited as a source of misogyny, but the problem permeates all aspects of society, from the gender specific expectations placed on children through developing sexuality and into career paths and income within careers. Women in all walks of life face harassment and worse from men of all backgrounds.
The answer isn’t with curbing most speech, no matter how hateful, but calling out those who spout hate is important. The people above have the right to their opinions and the right to express them, but the Daily Dot has the right, and I suggest the responsibility, not to give them a forum.
The trending hashtag on Twitter, #YesAllWomen gives an indication of how nearly all women face the consequences in some aspects of their lives.
Yes, not all men are like that, but misogyny is an attitude that pervades society and needs to criticized harshly.