On March 15th, actress and the world’s most famous University of Kentucky fan, Ashley Judd sent a (now deleted) tweet about her thoughts on a basketball game. It was not a kind tweet, sent in the heat of the moment.
There are thousands of tweets like it sent by sports fans every day. In response to that tweet, Judd received many threats of physical and sexual assault. Her reaction?
When I express a stout opinion during #MarchMadness I am called a whore, c—, threatened with sexual violence. Not okay.
”” ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) March 15, 2015
This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon experience for women online. Regardless of their opinion, people (mostly men) hurl insults and threats they view as harmless at someone they disagree with. The culture of sexual violence against women, in particular, exists everywhere in our society, but gets magnified online because these perpetrators sit behind the safety of a keyboard.
Talking about this type of behavior and drawing attention to perpetrators is the quickest way to go about battling it. Getting law enforcement involved is a very real way to convince people this cannot continue.
There should be real world consequences for people who threaten others with rape, torture, or whatever other vile things they think of simply because a woman had a strong opinion about a BASKETBALL GAME.
Anyone with common human decency understands this type of behavior is not acceptable. This is why I’m glad the media has been covering this story. Those who would threaten others with violence of any kind via social media or online in general need to be held accountable for their actions. Even if that means having your threats show up in a Google search for your name for the rest of your life.
Women are amazing. I’m married to one and have one as an offspring and I get to celebrate how awesome both of them are every day. This all boils down to a word that we need to talk more about. Bullying. Spend some time listening to Monica Lewinsky talk about her experience with Bill Clinton. Or look into any of the numerous anti-bullying efforts out there. One of my favorites is The BULLY Project, and be sure to watch this movie.
We can do better as human beings.
If you have friends or family that exhibit this type of behavior, call them out. We cannot allow this behavior to be acceptable in our society; whether that’s in day-to-day life or online. If you know someone who has been the victim of sexual abuse and needs help, please have them check out RAINN. They can help support whatever need victims may have.