Predatory people exist in every social movement. Some, like the men’s supremacy MRA movement, actively promote predation and aggression. Others, like social justice movements, ostensibly reject such behaviors. In this second type of community, an abuser or bully will dress their aggression in different clothing. Language of the oppressed will be twisted to support bullying. They’ll call it “punching up” not bullying. They’ll play the victim while victimizing another. I’ll give some fictional examples of what I mean.
Terry is a vocal feminist and rape survivor. Terry has a moderately successful blog. Their online petitions gain thousands of signatures and they led a successful protest in their hometown. When Terry is criticized, they inevitably threaten to commit suicide. This keeps the people closest to Terry trapped in fear.
Sam is disabled and from a working class family. Sam believes in a robust social welfare system that leaves no one homeless or hungry. When Sam has an opportunity to steal money from a homeless person, they do it.
Pat makes friends with a lot of rape survivors and people with very low self-esteem. Pat talks often about how evil they are, and enjoys when friends disagree with that assessment. Pat’s friends don’t know their past history with sexual abuse was as the perpetrator, not the victim. When Pat’s secret is discovered, Pat publicly solicits sympathy for being abandoned by friends.
Terry, Sam, and Pat are all good at talking the talk of an activist. Maybe they even engage in activism like Terry. They might genuinely believe in noble ideals while acting on baser desires like Sam. Or they may be an out and out predator like Pat, preying on the good qualities like trust found in social justice circles.
Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Words are tools and they can be misused to deceive. Look to behaviors, conduct and character. Those will tell you better than words who a person is and if they deserve your trust.
“Pat publicly solicits sympathy for being abandoned by friends.” I’ve had to cut a lot of friends out of my life for transmisogyny against my partner, and they got all the sympathy. It hurts so bad, because I genuinely cared for them and considered them my closest friends, but they refused to protect trans women. I’m glad you’re talking about this issue.