Internet hits back against legal rape campaigner
Unsurprisingly, the digital world is enraged over reports pro-rape group Return of Kings is planning a string of meet ups across several countries, including New Zealand.
The group, in a nutshell, is an online “neomasculinist” group that believes rape on private property should be legal, that women are biologically determined to follow the orders of men, that a woman’s value “significantly depends on her fertility and beauty”, while a man’s depends on his resources, intellect and character.
The group has been slammed after it was reported Return of Kings would host face-to-face meetings, saying women and homosexual men were not invited.
There are 165 meetings in 45 countries planned. In New Zealand, supporters are scheduled to converge at Aotea Square in Auckland, Dunedin Town Hall and Glover Park in Wellington.
Following the initial reports, several online petitions have been created, numerous Facebook pages, as well as peaceful protests planned via Twitter.
The group is founded by Daryush Valizadeh, who announced in a Twitter post he would fly to Australia following outrage there over plans for public meetings.
"To all attractive Australian girls in age range of 18-22. I'm coming to your country and am free to meet for drinks," he tweeted.
In response, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Valizadeh will likely be banned from visiting the country.
Back on our side of the Tasman, Wellington Rape Crisis says it is appalled at the reports.
"This group promotes disturbing attitudes towards relationships and women, and we hope NZ men are better than to agree with them," says agency manager Eleanor Butterworth.
While the outrage is certainly justified, Valizadeh is perhaps sitting back watching his popularity increase as more and more people visit his website and discuss the vile group on social media, in what can only be said as genius free promotion.
Good news however is reports of protests by men and women opposing the group, which can be seen as a step in the right direction when it comes to raising questions around rape culture, women’s rights and equality.
Butterworth says events like this provide an opportunity for other men to step up and challenge the idea that rape is okay and that men have a right to abuse women.
"I would really like to see all men who are part of anti-violence activism, or who individually consider she says.
"This group clearly expects that the only opposition they will face is from women. This isn't just something women should have to fight."