I've been trying to interview women and girls for the documentation action that Take Back the Tech! announced. I've found it's more difficult than I anticipated, so I wanted to explore the reasons why because I think they are directly related to the theme of freedom of expression.
- "I'm not sure I can speak to that."
This response reflects the devaluation of women's stories. It reflects a tradition of privileging experts over survivors, and it shows how much women's voices are ignored, demeaned and erased.
- "I don't feel comfortable talking about it."
Even those who don't have personal stories still feel some discomfort in discussing violence against women. They don't want to rock the boat. They know what often happens to women who speak up.
- "I don't really care that much."
At the very least, this speaks to the normalisation of violence against women and silencing women's voices. Many women and girls expect a certain amount of harassment on the street and on the internet and think that's just how it is. It can reflect a lack of understanding of intersecting oppressions or a feeling of hopelessness about those oppressions.
In the end, all three reasons are why we do this work. Women's stories matter. Personal experience is valuable. I want to see more videos of women demanding their right to tell their story, speaking up for those who can't or won't or feel like they don't know how, and questioning and challenging, no matter their educational background.
Is this the moment you decide to use your voice?