All I did was write a tweet. This tweet:
The next day, a Twitter friend shared this:
Since the 26th, my Twitter messages have been filled with hate, violence, and threats. Anything I tweet receives responses from people I’ve never heard of or interacted with, mostly white men, that are vile and repulsive. They are posting screenshots of my Ko-fi while making fun of my mental health. Many have suggested that I kill myself, hope I am raped, and one charmer stated he “hopes your husband beats you to death.”
This isn’t my first time dealing with the fallout from going viral. Over the years that I have been a woman typing words on the internet, I’ve had to contact the FBI because a group of actual neo-Nazis tried to dox me, I once received a Facebook message with my own address and a threat to shoot my entire family, and I’ve been hacked, stalked, and had my identity stolen.
And I am not alone. Women and men who dare to have an opinion online that goes viral are targeted by the most repugnant, violent, racist, misogynistic people over and over again. Most of us, however, do not have blue check marks, and rarely get the attention of Twitter support. We fight these battles on our own.
My husband has lived this with me. He has seen the toll an almost endless stream of hate and violence takes. He’s suggested that I stop writing, stop tweeting, but when I tell him “If I do that, they win,” he understands. So I refuse to stop, I refuse to be frightened into silence by people whose own lives are so devoid of love and empathy, they find joy in telling a survivor of sexual violence she deserves to be raped to death.
You want me to kill myself? I’ve tried, twice. You think I should be raped? I’ve been raped. You think my husband should beat me? I survived a violent relationship. You think your threats and hate scare me, or anyone else who has an online forum? They used to, but not anymore. Now we stand up to psychopaths and we win. We report you, we block you, we enlist the help of law enforcement, and we keep writing, we keep tweeting.
All I did was write a tweet. But after three days of unending hate and vitriol and threats, I’m going to tweet more, I’m going to write more, I’m going to be louder and I am going to encourage others to keep using their voice and words to fight back.
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