Activist Group Draws Criticism After Standing by Staffer Comparing Fracking to Rape

Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is an anti-drilling activist in Texas.  And when I say anti-drilling activist, I mean that in the most absolute sense.  She hates the oil and gas industry and is obsessed with attacking it at every opportunity.  She maintains a website dedicated to the cause.

You may recall that Wilson also got entangled in a legal mess after her involvement with the release of Texas landowner Steve Lipsky's video in which he claimed to light water coming out of his garden hose on fire.  A Texas court later ruled that Lipsky actually attached the hose to the water well's gas vent and lit the gas coming out of the hose on fire in an effort to deceive the public.  Wilson was ordered to turn over email communications in the case.

Anyhow, Wilson created a little stir recently when she tweeted this:

What was found more controversial than Wilson initially tweeting that (really, to anyone who's tried to read her emotionally charged posts on her site or follow her on Twitter the fact that she would think it appropriate to employ such a comparison in her effort to demonize fracking could not possibly be even the tiniest bit shocking), it was the fact that prominent activist organization Earthworks, which lists Wilson as a staffer, chose to retweet her comparison of fracking to rape.

Lest there be any confusion as to whether the retweet was done in support of Wilson's viewpoint, Earthworks made it clear in subsequent tweets:

The Washington Free Beacon details the story further, including a subsequent effort from Earthworks to try and back off of its support of Wilson's choice to liken fracking to rape:
“To me, it perfectly depicts what is happening in Texas,” Wilson said of her rape comparison. 
“Fracking victims I have worked with describe it as a rape,” she added. “People wear T-shirts with this imagery and I intend to continue using it.” 
Below her rape comparisons, Wilson posted a press release on HB 40’s passage out of committee. Also listed as contacts on the release were representatives of Earthjustice and the Natural Resource Defense Council, two leading anti-fracking groups. 
Earthworks’ website lists Wilson as a member of the group’s staff. Alan Septoff, a spokesman for the group, said she was speaking in her personal capacity. 
“One of the understandings of her employment was that she’d get to keep her individual, independent voice in addition to serving as our organizer,” Septoff said. 
He also backtracked on Earthworks’ endorsement of Wilson’s blog post and tweets. 
“Having your home fracked against your will is not the same thing as rape,” Septoff said in an emailed statement. 
“It’s not rape because at the end of the day you can leave your home, even if the cost is enormously high,” he said. “With rape, you can’t leave your body as it is being violated.”
You can read the rest of that article here.

Do any of our readers have any thoughts on this?  Whether you are for or against shale development, do you find it appropriate to invoke the word "rape" in an effort to condemn fracking?

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