“You were raped? Congratulations!”
Of the many things you can say to some who just shared with you they were raped – that is not one sentiment I, or most people, would choose. But one seller on Etsy has chosen just those sentiments. In a variety of offensive and just disgusting cards available, one is congratulating a woman on being raped, in another for having breast cancer.
Change.org also finds this offensive and has set up a petition to have the cards removed from the site. Etsy policy is that they do not interfere in the merchandise listed and technically each seller’s page is their own shop. As Change.org pointed out on their blog yesterday, however, Etsy does prohibited items, including items that harass others or that are deemed obscene. I do believe these cards fit the bill.
Here is my issue, though – I am not only an Etsy shopper, but a seller as well. I have an online store, and while most of my sales happen offline – it is still my brand attached to Etsy, as well as the user “youstupidbitch” (yes, that is the username) who is selling these cards. I am having trouble deciding how this reflects on the greater Etsy community. And makes me wonder what else is out there. As an “artist” (not something I’d usually think of myself as) it is important to be on a site like Etsy, where you know people are already shopping. But at what cost? I have logged in repeatedly today planning to temporarily shut down my store, and then changed my mind. I understand Etsy’s policy, and enjoy the freedom the site gives me for my online store. If their policy also includes the stipulations I listed above, action should be taken.
I have worked at a domestic violence agency, and I know women, friends, who have been raped and abused in relationships. I want to know whom the people are that would buy such a card. I cannot completely express how disgusting, offensive and inappropriate I find these cards. Feelings about rape can change quickly when you know someone who was raped; sadly, most people probably do. To all those who have suffered through such an experience, this is in such poor taste, and will only hurt them all over again. While most of the cards listed under this seller can be seen as obscene, this is the absolute extreme – and the one I hope to see removed.
I hope others will sign the petition on Change.org, and I hope Etsy will take action. As of yet I have seen nothing from Etsy on this – no comment, no mention, no acknowledgement. This is where my temporary closing of the store comes in. What do you think? Should I close my shop until I see action from Etsy? How far should a business go to stand by their morals and defend a position? I learned about this while I was in the middle of updating my site. I have held off on adding additional products while I figure out what I will do. For many other Etsy sellers this is their livelihood and full time job. They cannot just shut down their stores. Let me know what you think.
Originally appeared on Fem2.0