LONDON, ONTARIO – London’s favourite feminist scold, Megan Walker, is revving up the publicity machine for the ninth installment of the Shine the Light on Women Abuse campaign which is promoted each year by the London Abused Women’s Centre which Walker has long served as executive director. My longstanding objection to Walker’s habitual approach to combating the evil of domestic violence is the unhelpful and irresponsible way in which she and her organization always posit violence as a male-only problem.
Yes, men on average are physically stronger than women and can cause far greater damage and injury when all decency breaks down and couples start to strike out at each other. But a campaign which insists that only men – and by extension all men – are agents of abuse isn’t just slanderous to men; it doesn’t do women any favours either. It infantilizes them. If you believe that your biological group is utterly incapable of violence or abuse, then you are discouraged from examining your own behaviour as a contributory factor when a relationship turns rancid. And if you take on this one-sided premise as a major fixture of your ideology, you even start to construe all kinds of other unrelated problems as further instances of male villainy.
And this is the irresponsible and delusional zone into which Walker and the Shine the Light campaign have wandered this year. In last Saturday’s edition of The London Free Press an article by Jennifer Bieman on the campaign kick-off highlighted the stories of the two women who are this year’s “honorees” – one is designated a “victim” and the other a “survivor”. The victim’s story was sort of a tack-on, only taking up about five per cent of the coverage, so let’s deal with it first. I will quote it in its miniscule entirety:
“The agency will remember another victim of violence against women, Maddison Fraser, at their official campaign launch Nov. 1st at Victoria Park. Fraser who entered the sex trade when she was 19, was killed in an Edmonton car crash in 2015. The driver, a sex buyer, was impaired.”
How is this an instance of violence against women? Going by the admittedly scanty details offered here, this wretched lush (who also died in the crash) wasn’t punching her out. He was contributing to her income while inebriated. Wouldn’t this calamity more aptly be dealt with under the purview of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)?
And now for the main event, the honoree survivor of the 2018 Shine the Light on Woman Abuse campaign, Shainee Chalk of Woodstock. Particularly observant Hermaneutics readers will recall that I devoted a portion of my April 9th essay, Posting Pictures of Your Parts, to the saga of Shainee:
There has been a series of stories out of Woodstock this month about a dozen young women who are outraged that “nude, erotic or sexually explicit photos or videos” of themselves which they originally sent to their “intimate partners,” have been posted on “anonymous websites” after those partnerships dissolved. And now those images are being leered at and commented on by a far wider circle of louts than they were ever intended for. It’s a shabby and depressing situation all round. And one can only concur with 27 year-old Shainee Chalk who is going public with her complaint about this violation when she says that, “The men we trusted with the photos should be ashamed of what they have done to us.”
However I’m not so sure that I agree with her prefatory statement to that one, where she says, “None of the girls involved should be ashamed of what happened.”
In order to be ‘ashamed’ one must be aware of some sort of standard that one has fallen short of and it would appear that Chalk has no such awareness. Even though it was her who hit the ‘send’ button in the first place, she doesn’t seem to believe that any sort of censure or shame should attach to her for producing and then posting such images. Indeed, she doesn’t see herself as responsible in any way because, in effect, her boyfriend made her do it and thus she denies having any agency in this awkward matter at all.
“I was devastated,” she told Post Media News about her exposure on the internet but regarding the genesis of the pictures themselves, she neatly pins that on her ex: “When you are with a boyfriend, you do what they want you to do.”
Really? It doesn’t sound like much of a partnership if he’s calling all the shots and coercing you into activities that you want no part of. Why would you consider someone who pushed you around like that your “boyfriend” and pass images along to him that you didn’t want anyone else to see? After all, the well-nigh universal impulse when someone has what they consider a great or remarkable picture is to pass it around for others to see as well. Whether we deem her behaviour reckless or just naïve, I really do think Chalk bears some blame for foolishly entrusting the care of highly confidential images to someone whose character (and whose regard for her) she had no reason to be confident about.
And now almost six months later, Shainee Chalk is serving up a few more details which, in my estimation, don’t make her drive for ‘unadulterated-victim-of-horrible-men’ status any stronger. Jennifer Bieman writes: “Nude images of Chalk first appeared on a now-defunct revenge porn site in 2011, when she was 21. She had shared the photos with men she met online and trusted, including two long-distance boyfriends . . . She kept the humiliating secret from her family. ‘Who could tell their father they had sent a bunch of nudes to guys and now was being punished for it?’ she said.”
Yikes. So it wasn’t just one lout that she shared her intimate photos with in 2011; it was at least three – two that she identified as “long-distance boyfriends” and one (or perhaps more) that she vaguely identifies as having "met online”. Keep it classy, Ms. Chalk. Oh, sorry . . . am I ‘blameless victim-shaming'?
And once again you might be wondering, how can Megan Walker be holding up this sordid tale of a recklessly foolish woman and a handful of cretinous men as a compelling instance of men as abusers? Well, she does so provisionally, as she explain to Bieman: “Some men, when they post the photo, they also provide the name, phone number and address of the woman. This is a really significant issue.”
Ah. There’s a sort of connect-the-dots logic that you have to follow here. While neither Chalk nor Walker claim that any of Chalk’s ex-boyfriends or ex-correspondents included such data with their postings, “some men” have been known to do that and it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that other no-good men would read that information and go over to an outed woman’s house and abuse her.
Or then again – and yes, this is a clumsy segue to part two of this week’s Hermaneutics – maybe they’d spare themselves all the criminality and the bother and just stay home and have sex with their computer instead.
So here’s a conniving and illiterate email I got Sunday morning before heading out to church from an oily chap who calls himself, Ludvig Garcilazo. The word which I’ve asterisked out at the very beginning is a password which I did indeed use for making online purchases until about three years ago when the retailer in question informed me that they’d suffered some kind of security breach and I would have to adopt a new one. Otherwise, this is the letter as I received it.
********* is your pass. Lets get right to the point. No-one has paid me to investigate you. You do not know me and you're most likely thinking why you're getting this email?
Well, i actually setup a malware on the XXX streaming (porn) website and do you know what, y
ou visited this web site to have fun (you know what i mean). While you were viewing video clips, your browser started functioning as a Remote control Desktop having a key logger which gave me accessibility to your display as well as web cam. immediately after that, my software collec ted all of your contacts from your Messenger, FB, as well as e-mail . Next i created a video. 1st p art shows the video you were watching (you've got a fine taste lmao), and second part shows th
e view of your web camera, and its u.
There are two alternatives. We should go through the possibilities in aspects:
First choice is to just ignore this message. as a result, i will send your video to each one of your p ersonal contacts and then consider regarding the shame that you receive. Not to forget should you be in a committed relationship, how it can affect?
Number two choice is to pay me $1000. Lets call it a donation. in this instance, i most certainly w ill straightaway remove your videotape. You could keep your daily routine like this never took pla ce and you will never hear back again from me.
You'll make the payment by Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search 'how to buy bitcoin' in Google search engine).
BTC address: 1EfWKYN11qtaKQHqbRmPZfyHytL [CaSe-SeNSiTiVe, copy and paste it]
if you may be curious about going to the law, look, this message cannot be traced back to me. I h ave dealt with my actions. i am not trying to charge you a huge amount, i want to be paid for. You have 24 hours in order to pay. i have a special pixel in this message, and now i know that you hav e read through this mail. if i do not receive the BitCoins, i will, no doubt send your video recordin g to all of your contacts including family members, coworkers, etc. Nevertheless, if i receive the p ayment, i'll destroy the video immediately. if you want evidence, reply with Yeah! and i will send your video to your 8 friends. This is the non-negotiable offer, and thus please do not waste my pe rsonal time & yours by replying to this email message.
Pretty nasty, eh? Imagine if you didn’t have too many brain cells and you actually visited such sites, how such a letter could shred your composure. This is the third such e-mail I’ve received. (I’ve started up a collection.) The last one came a couple weeks ago from another European-sounding chap, Egan Gumprecht, and was marginally more coherent and literate; which is to say, most sentences began with a capital letter (and the first-person pronoun was capitalized as well) and only two words were broken by ill-placed line-breaks. That second letter demanded seven times more money and was threatening to reveal my shameful secret to 14 friends if I didn’t cough up. The one before that came in late July from Maighdiln Pyro. It was a little spiffier yet by secretarial standards, also demanded $7,000 and threatened to squeal me out to 12 “contacts”; not friends.
In early August I saw an AFP news brief outlining this identical blackmailing racket in Spain and reporting that Madrid police were dealing with 100 flagged cases a day. The report claimed that the “sextortionists” were typically demanding between 400 and 2,900 Euros so you can see that there has been some fiddling with the formula as the gambit has caught on and spread to the New World.
I’m reminded of a picture of five ancient Roman coins that appeared in Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, showing how the precision that went into the manufacture of coins progressively deteriorated the further you moved away from the controlling centre of Rome itself. Similarly, it would appear that we are entering the devolutionary phase of this scam as these sleazy missives are sloppily translated and then cut and pasted, adapted and tweaked, and sent further and further afield.
Perhaps if Ludvig or Egan sends one along to Megan Walker, it’ll turn up in next year’s Shine the Light campaign.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
Monday, January 28
St. Peter's Seminary
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