A Modern Nom de Plum

photo courtesy of austinevan
A Modern Nom de Plum

The advancement of social media and cyberspace has undoubtedly provided many one silenced individuals with a platform where their voices can be heard. In her work Wings of Freedom: Iranian Women, Identity and Cyberspace author Fereshteh Nouraie-Simone illuminates some of the ways in which Cyberspace has provided Iranian Women with a space to express themselves. “In a controlled society under theocratic rule, self-expression is a rare privilege. Cyberspace provides a public social space that allows free expression of self outside the confines of the politically manipulated physical space” (Nouraie-Simone, 62).

As Nouraie-Simone notes, yes, Cyberspace does connect women to a world that stretches beyond the confines of their own bodies. It connects women and also provides them with a means to escape the political and social oppressions that might otherwise keep them silent. A blog could be considered the new Nom De Plum, for women who do not wish to share their identities but wish to share their thoughts.

Today blogs can provide women with a “room of one’s own” theoretical space in both western and non-western cultures.

A few weeks ago, I remember NY1 doing a segment entitled the “Tangled Web” series. It focused on conflicts within the Jewish Orthodox Community in New York City and their use of the internet. Part Two of the segment caught my political eye, my feminist guts, and my human heart. It’s title read: Tangled Web, Part 2: Woman Behind Outspoken Website Addresses Sexual Abuse Among Orthodox Jews”.

The said “outspoken” website is known as Ad-Kan and it is a blog about sexual abuse in Jewish Communities all over the world. The people of Ad-Kan state: “We are a group who can no longer sit back and listen to the resounding silence from our leaders”.

The said “woman” from the Tangled Web Series is a Frum (religious) incest survivor as well as a survivor of an abusive marriage. Her blog is extremely personal and extremely powerful. She writes:

“Because of the nature of our frum communities and its Shidduchim, I will remain anonymous for the time being. I am sure all of you understand why this is necessary. I am not ashamed of what has happened to me, but I need to protect my children from people who are vicious and would be happy to destroy the truth.”

These brave individuals who created Ad-Kan, have taken grave risks in their societies, but they have done so to seek justice within the confines of an insular community. They are using the platform of Cyberspace to bring those both in and outside their world awareness and education. Because of Cyberspace, this nameless woman risking so much to advocate for truth and justice within her community, is not voiceless.

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