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Sat Jan 3, 2015, 09:41 AM

Why activists and feminists get so many death threats

Why activists and feminists get so many death threats
Activists of all stripes reflect on the dangers of standing up for controversial ideas in the age of social media
Valerie Tarico, AlterNet

More than twenty years have passed, but Jonathan Huston still vividly remembers one specific day during his stint as editor of a New Hampshire weekly.

(I was) writing a series on the titans of trash — about racketeering by the nation’s two largest garbage haulers. A lawyer came to my office one day to convey a warning about my latest investigative reporting.

“Jonathan, I hope I don’t open up the pages of the Union Leader one day,” he said, “to read that the editor of a certain weekly newspaper got into his car, turned over the ignition, and got blown sky high.”

“That shall not happen,” I said.

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I don’t own a car.”


To some extent the specter of violent death hangs over us all, lurking at the edge of consciousness most of the time, perhaps brought into focus by a mass shooting in which victims remind us of our children or friends, or of ourselves. Or maybe we are shaken by a local story about domestic violence, a murder suicide, a drive by, or road rage turned lethal.

For women in particular, the threat never completely disappears. A cartoon that made its way around Facebook underscores the point. On one side a thought bubble above a male figure reads, “What if she gave me a fake number?” On the other, a bubble above a female says, “What if he rapes and kills me?”

Mercifully, for most of us most of the time, the risk of violence seems small and distant. Even so, it can shape how we live. It can make us hesitate to say no. Or yes. It can make us hesitate to stay home alone. Or go out at night. Or speak our minds.

Fear has the power to paralyze and silence even strong, determined people, which is why threats of violence are such a potent, common, and toxic presence in political discourse. Consequently, it is a wonder, and a gift to us all, when engaged citizens like Jonathan Huston refuse to be silenced.

more at ... http://www.salon.com/2015/01/03/why_activists_and_feminists_get_so_many_death_threats_partner/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

I've had my roller-coaster rides with the threats over time ... I often wonder if social media vitriol will ever ebb, but I'm not very hopeful. A seemingly "safe" forum can be vicious to activists, feminists, leftists ... I'm not sure if its just confidence gained from being anonymous or if those people would really act on their threats and/or if these are "true" feelings ... is their hate that deep or are they just anonymously cocky?

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Reply Why activists and feminists get so many death threats (Original post)
wavesofeuphoria Jan 2015 OP
F4lconF16 Jan 2015 #1
marym625 Jan 2015 #2
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #3

Response to wavesofeuphoria (Original post)

Sat Jan 3, 2015, 09:51 AM

1. I absolutely think they are "true" feelings.

Whether they act on them or not is another matter, but just going by the numbers, there are a lot of people who hate women enough to assault or rape them. These people are real, and terrifying. Though online may seem like enough of a buffer, there are many activists who have been doxed lately and suffered serious consequences. It is a sad reality in today's online world, and it won't cease until societal attitudes change drastically.

Edit: good article, by the way.

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Response to wavesofeuphoria (Original post)

Sat Jan 3, 2015, 10:02 AM

2. K&R!

It's so sad that feminist ideals are still thought of as radical or anything but just the way things should be.

Great post.

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Response to wavesofeuphoria (Original post)

Sat Jan 3, 2015, 10:41 AM

3. Great article

I think being anonymous has something to do with it, but I also think the spillover from that causes disgusting creations like MRA's or gamergate. Misogynistic men, who probably never thought that a hatred of women was in them-- just a mild contempt, reacting towards 'their' space being invaded, or 'their' roles being threatened. Unfortunately there are enough of them that they find each other. Then the lone trolls. At one time I would have thought that type more dangerous, but not any more.

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