Monday, September 29, 2014

On YouTube, Sexual Abuse, and Community Response -- Trigger Warning

Let me first say this: I love YouTube.  YouTube is pretty much where I spend most of my free time, checking out new content, new creators, and videos from creators I love.

Which is why the continued reports of sexual abuse by YouTube content creators against their fans, many of whom have been underage, really disheartens me.  This community has been so strong partially because there is a level of transparency involved -- we see our favorite creators, get to openly interact with them, give and receive feedback, and there seems to be a level of personal connection which doesn't exist with, say, TV personalities.

But if there's one thing these instances have shown, it's that people in positions of power over their fans will often abuse that power.

On the other hand, YouTubers themselves have created a culture of mutual accountability -- condemning and cataloging the alleged and confirmed cases.  Former friends of abusers have come forward and said that they can no longer be friends or involved with known abusers.  DFTBA Records has pulled merchandise and support for former creators in light of the scandals.

This has been a community that, unlike many, has made statement after statement that abuse like this has no place in the community and WILL NOT be tolerated.  And that gives me hope.  Especially in light of the way some communities (here's lookin' at you, NFL) are doubling down on their current stances on abuse.  Communities could learn a thing or two about how to handle allegations and cases of abuse, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, and rape from the way these have been handled.

Related: Sam Pepper is a bucket of dicks.

Yours in solidarity,
Rachel Leigh

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