[TW: Rape, Violence]
Julie DiCaro is an anchor for Chicago’s 770 The Score, a sports radio station. Sarah Spain is a writer for espnW and has appeared on SportsCenter. Both are women working in the world of sports, and it’s no surprise that women in sports face a lot of online harassment. Heck, women face a lot of harassment in general—why would women in sports face any less?
But to illustrate the point, a group of men was brought in to read some of these ladies’ Twitter mentions directly to their faces. What follows is a deeply uncomfortable four minutes, in which the men struggle to articulate some of the horrors they’re being asked to read out loud. “I hope a hockey player beats you to death” is pretty representative of the whole, both in its violent extremes and the dearth of creativity involved. “I hope you get raped again” is a particularly sickening example leveled at DiCaro, who has written about her story as a rape survivor. The men who read these things are understandably near tears at a few moments, and their reactions were captured for a podcast called Not Just Sports.
It’s unfortunate that none of these men were actually the ones behind the tweets in question. They all seem greatly disturbed by what they’re reading and even apologize on a few counts (the video notes that they had not been shown the tweets they’d be asked to read beforehand). “I’m having trouble looking at you when I’m saying these things,” one softly admits. He does not come across like someone who would say them in any context, but his response is telling. Most Twitter trolls would probably also have difficulty saying these things to DiCaro and Spain’s faces. Twitter’s anonymity can be emboldening, and women online are frequently the ones who suffer for that emboldenment.
I get told all the time that “Twitter isn’t real life.” But it IS real life. It’s MY life, specifically. And when people fire this shit off without thinking about it for more than a second, they affect MY LIFE. I’ve legit got a joke with my friends that I need one of those ‘X days since I’ve received an online rape threat” calendars.While the guys who send this stuff are probably beyond help, maybe the video will make a difference to those who are constantly telling women online to get a thicker skin, ignore the trolls, blah blah blah. Because this stuff does affect our lives. You can only ignore so much of it for so long. It’s not just mean, it’s harassment. If it happened in real life people would be in jail for harassment and stalking.
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If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
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