More than Ever Before, Women Around The Globe Are Standing Up Against Oppression, It’s Beautifully Terrifying
“She’s Missing!” The two most terrifying words someone can hear, are about a person they love. This is especially true, when a writer, or artist whose known to be subversive, disappears off the internet. People ironically worry about those who think no one cares.
For me, you all know if you see me use my warning phrase, to call 911 and tell the cops something is wrong.
There are people who have my address who know when they see the certain phrase I use, to call 911 because something’s wrong and I can’t do it myself. So I am very careful about when I use it because it’s happened before that I used it, and the cops showed up, thank God.
Red Banana is the phrase – now, let me clarify, I am sharing this so that other people know to use a phrase that means something to them. It’s my safeword, and I’ve been very public about this so that if something happens, I’m safe. When something happened this year and I had a stalker for a while, I used the phrase online, and my friends did what they do. The stalker hasn’t bothered me in weeks.
I don’t know if this is forever, or just for now but I’ll take it, so let me take you through how this works.
- Pick a group of folks you trust, in my case, well it’s my friends in Anonymous.
- Pick a group of people to whom you can give your address and phone number safely. There are about 6 people online with my address.
- Set up a safe word with these people and let them know what it means when you use it.
- ONLY use it when it’s an emergency, or when you’re explaining to folks what it means.
This is how you create an online network so that if something happens, you know that someone out there, saw what you said, and decided to call 911, they can point to your social media, and you can use that to leave clues as to where you might be, or what’s going on so that the police have as much information as possible.
Make sure if you’re going to do this, you can honestly say you trust the online network that you’re building, and remember that your safe word has to be something true to you, something you will remember, that’s why I use the phrase “Red Banana,” because it’s such an odd phrase that it doesn’t belong anywhere.
So today I’m safe because I had a network, tomorrow I might not be, but either way, at least I did everything I could to protect myself both online and off. I’ve to be honest with the cops about what happened to me, and that’s because lying to them only makes the network that I’ve built completely useless.
So there are cops who know what happened to me, whether they’re doing something about it, I don’t know, but at least they know, so no one can say I didn’t say anything.
The thing is that when you’re writing about oppression, whether it’s racism or abuse, we recognize now, that people are going to push back against our rhetoric, and while that’s perfectly fine, what we’re talking about is deep-rooted systemic abuse and people who will literally do anything to get back at us for speaking out.
When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock I laughed, but it stopped being funny real quick when I saw how many folks started going after comedians on stage because they didn’t like what they were hearing.
More and more people are feeling empowered to respond to conversational topics with racism, antisemitism, and violence, and we must absolutely create these digital networks to protect ourselves.
I didn’t and wasn’t given a choice about putting myself online, but I did it because it was how I kept myself safe. Now there are other folks using the phrase Red banana when they are in danger, and it’s because they saw how it worked with me, and that feels….fucking terrifying.
I hate the term “Freedom Writer,” but when I think about my friends in WEOC that’s exactly what we are. Each of us is writing about racism, oppression, abuse, healing, mental health, and food love because we want the world to be a better place than it is now.
When You Are A Freedom Writer, The World Will Turn On You In A Heartbeat, Just To Make You Prove You Really Want Freedom
Too many activists have gone to jail, like Baret Brown and Jeremy Hammond, for standing up against oppressive regimes, others have been cast out like Edward Snowden, and too many more gave up, assimilated, and went into hiding pretending that they weren’t a part of raising the largest movement the world has ever seen.
Returning to the world of being an anonymous person on the internet, occasionally posting to update friends, but no longer engaging with the world they helped to create.
All of these are fine reasons to leave activism behind, in a variety of ways, but when you sit there and really think about it, throughout your life you have hundreds of folks you’ve met through the years that you wish you could have one more conversation with, that you’ll probably never find again. Maybe they moved on, but maybe they’re in danger, hence the Red Banana experience or whatever.
Recently someone reminded me that digital work matters, and in that sphere of digital work that matters, there are people who are genuinely putting their lives in danger to share some of the stories they share. Iran just recently arrested a very famous rap artist because of the things he said in his music, defending women.
There are Saudi Princes and Kings who lock up their own daughters to prevent them from having access to the outside world, because of “reasons,” which usually revolve around her not wanting to be a slave. Sharing the stories of these women matters, and there are armies of people trying to help them, but if we can’t communicate with the women in these conditions, how do we get them out?
We roll right back to setting up a network like the Underground Railroad because I know for a fact that North America has one for abused women as well as animals and children, and if it weren’t so important for women in danger to know about it, I wouldn’t be talking about it, but we need to.
We need to talk about the fact that help is out there, and if it’s not out there, then we need to create our own networks so that the help can be out there as fast as possible.
It never ever occurred to me to share this on the website before because I thought I’d only use it. on the internet in case of an emergency, but then I had one, and the people who needed to, got me the help I needed so I was safe, even if I’m resentful of it all, and how it went down, I’m alive right now because of this RB network.
So if you need to, reach out to someone you trust and let them know that you think you might be in danger, talk to the people in your life, because you have every right to be an activist, they don’t have the right to make you afraid for your life, because of your beliefs.
That’s the fundamental lesson I’m taking from my friendship with Jeremy Hammond, a man who as he said, trusted the wrong people. Wherever you are friends, thank you for remembering me. ❤
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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