After I posted my blog on cyber bullying and outdoors-women, I sent versions out to be published elsewhere. One place did and it got some great coverage. The other place did not. The reasoning, "MY wife has hunted with men for years and has never run into this sort of thing. I have learned not to put much stock in the spewings that come from the cyber world." Upset with that response, I headed to Facebook to see what the topics were on some of the hunting groups that I follow. One had a picture of a woman with the caption, "Honey, I decided to sell those old guns and knifes you have laying around the house" and the man who posted this asked the question, 'What would you do?" The responses, which were all men, were basically the same - they would kill her. I sent a message to the guy who ran the page and posted the picture and said how offended I was as an outdoor-woman and how it did nothing but further the stereotype that women can't be credible hunters. Did I go a little far? Maybe. But when a portion of his reply (which was very nice and understanding) had the line "My girlfriend who hunts even laughed" I just shook my head.
It is disappointing to me that people think that just because THEIR wife, mother, girlfriend etc. has never been harassed, that its not a valid concern to have. I was a little stunned and hurt that my argument was not taken seriously because it had a cyber component to it.
Then, yesterday, HuntingLife posted an article about this same issue and pointed out that the average female hunter is the new target. A little validation for me that my blog was relevant and spot on.
The more traditional generation of hunters may not see this as a big deal, but for those of us who are a part of the fast growing world of female hunters - and those hunters who take to social media to talk and share stories about hunting - this is very much a reality and a serious issue. We can not afford to just blow this off as "cyber gunk" but as a threat against our fellow hunters. Regardless of age, gender or wither or not someone you know had been bullied, you should be outraged. Hunters should be appalled that a new generation of hunter has to deal with this sort of thing. Women are battling to be taken seriously as hunters as well as fight off attacks from cyber trolls.
I really hope that women who enter the world of hunting will see it as more than having to deal with insulting pictures on social media and a lack of respect from other hunters but from my experiences this past week, that is not going to be the case anytime soon.
A special Thank you to Craig, Rick and others who emailed me notes of encouragement and support. It is because of folks like you that women are encouraged and supported to get outdoors and hunt. My sincerest thanks!