This piece isn’t going to dive into all the analytics surrounding this subject because with all the undocumented physical and mental abuse cases out there, I feel I can’t use stats to justify any argument. I’m not going to give my opinion on who I think is or isn’t guilty in any of the recent rape cases. I’m only going to give my opinion on the public’s attitude surrounding sexual assault claims.
I’d like to start with the Toby Turner case that just came to light a few days ago.
If you are aware of the Toby Turner story, you can skip to the “Why bring this up?” portion of the blog post. Be warned, I’ll be referencing and summarizing the videos I mention below and they will be an important part in the “Why bring this up?” portion
Toby Turner is a YouTube gamer, songwriter, vlogger, and entertainer. He owns three channels: Tobuscus (6.3 million subscribers), Toby Games (6.9 million subscribers), and his Toby Turner vlog channel (1.98 million subscribers).
A few days ago, AprilEfff, a songwriter/YouTuber wrote a Tumblr post talking about her five-year on and off relationship with Toby Turner.
In the post, she talks about how while she was dating Turner, he cheated on her dozens of times, abused drugs and alcohol, would force himself on her to the point where her clothes would rip, drugged her once to prevent her from leaving, and would force her to stand in front of him as he used her as masturbation material.
April started out as a fan of Turner and explained how she wasn’t the only one. He would make women feel they were the most important people on the face of the earth and then use his power to toy with them. He would scream and throw fits, calling her a “dumb fucking blonde” and not allowing her to go public with their relationship, only to then beg for her to come back whenever she tried leaving him.
The full post:
After this post came out, a couple other women made videos and said they had similar experiences with Turner.
After those videos, YouTuber and ex-girlfriend Jaclyn Glenn (400,000 subscribers) made a video supporting the claims of cheating and sexual aggression, but defended Turner on the other charges. She also said April was the one who introduced Toby Turner to drugs in the first place.
The full video:
Toby Turner finally uploaded a quick one-minute response video afterward claiming that the allegations were completely false.
The full video:
The last video I’ll mention is Philip DeFranco’s video. He is a popular news YouTuber (3.6 million subscribers) and owner of SourceFed, SourceFedNerd, and For Human Peoples and used to work with Turner early in their careers. In his video, he didn’t comment on whether or not he thought Turner was guilty of rape but did shed light on Turner’s character. He said Turner was known to cheat on all of his girlfriends, use molly and cocaine at public events, and was a sad man seeking validation from others in any way that he could (mostly sexual). DeFranco claims most people that know Turner in the YouTube community have at least one to five stories involving him and drug use and DeFranco even had to kick Turner out of a Super Bowl party he hosted three years ago because of an act of indecency Turner committed to one of DeFranco’s female employees.
The full video:
Why bring this up?
Again, I’m not making this post to discuss whether I think Toby Turner is guilty. I’m going to talk about the attitude and reaction towards the videos posted and the overall view on Internet rape culture from my experience as an avid YouTube fan.
There are three types of rape accusations. There are the accusations that are true, the accusations that are false but aren’t malicious, usually misinterpreted by the victim and have some element of truth, and the accusations that are false with the intent to damage the image of the accused.
Even though most cases have some element of truth to them, sadly, there are a few cases that are completely false.
In typical Internet fashion, once some people heard about the first false rape allegation, they began to treat all cases as such.
The Internet is split in half because of the Toby Turner allegations. Many people Tweeting at April supporting her and praising her bravery, while others mock her and say she’s just an “attention whore” and “a dumb bitch trying to stay relevant.”
The comments on the videos made by the other two women and Jaclyn’s video (which actually defended Turner to some regard) were similar. They were either along the lines of “You so brave” and “I’ll never look at Toby the same way again,” or along the lines of “Stupid bitch” and “If he did these things, why didn’t you go to the police? You dumb whores.”
“Why didn’t you go to the police?”
This question is the whole reason I’m making this post. Why didn’t they just go to the police? Well, the answer isn’t that simple.
Some of you might be reading this thinking that you wouldn’t put up with this shit and would 100% go to the police, and you’d be right. Some of you think you’d go to the police but probably wouldn’t, and some of you know exactly what these women are going through.
Love makes people do crazy things, especially celebrity love. These women started out as fans of Toby Turner. They weren’t on the same playing field. The women idolized him and thought he was godly in some regards. He devoted his time and love to them. He made them feel like they were special and deemed worthy of his time. When you idolize someone and they give you their love, that’s a strong hold that can’t just be easily broken. These women started a relationship from a psychological disadvantage.
This doesn’t just happen with celebrities and their fans, but anyone who starts a relationship thinking they are the lucky one. Thinking that the person they’re with is so far above them.
When these people are so enthralled by another and then are mistreated by them, it’s not as easy as “Well I’m over them now.” These people begin to believe they either deserved the mistreatment or that the mistreatment is justified, even when it’s obvious that it isn’t.
They also sometimes feel terrified to come forward because they believe the police won’t be able to do anything, the police and their peers won’t believe them, or are just flat out embarrassed and don’t want to be seen as a victim by their friends and family.
And who can blame them? Let’s do a quick run down on some of the comments left on these videos:
- “Her story has so many holes in it, Toby couldn’t even fill them all.”
- “What a load of shit. Stupid ‘girl cried rape’ scenario all over again.”
- “I’ll give these women something to cry about.”
- “God, who hasn’t been raped these days?”
- “If I raped these bitches, they wouldn’t dare rat.”
Those are just five of the disgusting comments I found.
It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forward and state that they are being abused. They feel embarrassed and ashamed but also feel it’s their duty to protect others from being exposed to the same physical and emotional damage.
Instead of being met with love and support, they’re treated like liars and whiners.
Imagine a waiter gives you the wrong order. You tell him it’s the wrong food but he denies it gets mad at you for bringing it up. You go to the manager and he says he can’t prove that the waiter did anything wrong so you can’t get your meal for free or the food you actually ordered. As you walk back to your seat, the other waiting staff and customers start pelting you with food and yelling things like “freeloader” and “fat ass.”
Would you ever try and send back food again?
This applies to both genders but even more so to women because the Internet sees them as the main gender behind these false accusations, which is only true because women are the main victims of sexual assault.
Let’s compare the comments on the women’s videos to the men’s.
On Toby’s video, some people attacked him for the crimes he’s accused of, but many of his fans flock to support him. They say things like “I’ll always support you,” and “These girls are just trying to piggyback off your fame.” On DeFranco’s video, the people praised his video for being well put together and for being very informative.
DeFranco’s video was very well done and I don’t want to knock him at all (especially because I’m a huge fan on his), but Jaclyn’s video was done in a similar style and she was met with lots of criticism and negative/sexist comments, much like the ones I listed above, because she’s a female linked to the story that tears down the beloved Toby Turner.
It’s hard to tell what is right from wrong anymore. It’s hard to tell whose lying and whose telling the truth. But when you discourage those from coming out and telling their side of the story and treat them like the enemy; they and others like them will live in a hole for their entire lives, and the people who abuse them will continue to abuse them and others like them.
I don’t know if Toby Turner is guilty or not, and if he is not guilty then I feel bad for the damage his image and career have taken. But if he his guilty, then it needs to come out because people who abuse others in such a heinous degree need to know that they aren’t just hurting objects that inflate their ego; they are hurting and warping the minds of people with feelings and we shouldn’t discourage the ones brave enough to stand up and say “enough is enough.”
I believe people are innocent until proven guilty. It applies to the accused, but also to the accuser.