Sunday, March 22, 2015


Lissa is sprawled out and halfway under the cream colored comforter on her bed when she hears her phone vibrate. It snaps her back from near-sleep with a jolt, but she just as quickly dismisses the idea of checking it. It’s too late as it is, and she figures whatever it is can wait. If it is an emergency, the person will call, right? Right. That internal semi-debate is over almost as soon as it begins then she settles herself back into the pillows pulling the comforter up higher over her shoulders.

It’s not long before the phone vibrates again. And again. And again. It doesn’t finish that signature buzzbuzz buzzzzz before it starts again. She’s mega-annoyed when she finally sits up in bed and snatches the phone off the nightstand. If it’s Amy, she thinks, pining over some guy she saw at the bar, I swear I will kill her. She swipes the lock screen on her phone and enters in her security code. In her frustration and sleep-state, it takes a couple tries before she enters it correctly while the phone continues its neverending cycle of vibrations. What the fuck is going on? Finally she gets it unlocked and slides the notification menu down. Twitter. Twitter. Over and over and over. She can’t delete one notification before another one pops up. She swipes the notification menu back up to open the Twitter app itself. She doesn’t even have 100 followers on Twitter, so she has no idea what's happening.

Her heart is beating harder with her frustration and a slight sense of panic. Nothing good could come from a blow up like this on her Twitter. She’s read the stories. She knows what women on the Internet have to go through or really anyone on the Internet.

When her feed loads, she touches the icon for her notifications. By now there are dozens of them, but she doesn’t stop to read them yet. She wants to see what started it all.

Oh shiiiiiit, she thinks. She sees it and knows immediately how fucked she is. She tweeted a photo of her GTAOnline character, a woman dressed in a corset and made a snarky comment about how ridiculous it is to think a woman would boost cars in that thing without her tits falling out. She meant it to be funny. I mean, she’s the one that put the corset on her when there were other options. And she tagged it… Of course she did. How stupid could she be.






And that’s all it took. The tweets are still pouring in calling her an idiot, telling her she gave gamers a bad name, demanding she shove her feminism up her twat. The insults come hurtling toward her at light speed.







Everything that people will call a woman when they don’t like what that woman says…

She has a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach as she reads through more. There are people threatening to shove her game controller up her various orifices, to rape her with it, and even to kill her. There are more telling her she should kill herself. Fuck. Her address! Her whole entire fucking address is posted. Photos from her personal Facebook page have been uploaded with comments about her appearance. Photos from Instagram! Even that risqué one she took in the bathtub with the hashtag gamerslut.

And then she sees it… some guy retweeted her address and says he’s exactly 57.4 miles from her house and will be there to burn it to the ground in just over an hour.

Her heart thunders in her chest. Her ears are ringing. In the glow of the phone, the room looks like it’s spinning. She has to make a run for the bathroom barely making it to the toilet before what’s left of her midnight snack is reversing its trajectory.

What do I do now? Do I call the cops? Would they take it seriously? Is it serious?

Am I safe?


It’s quite possible that in this scenario, the main character IS fairly safe. She *might* not actually get her house burned down as the threats against people online often end up being empty ones meant to scare a person into silence, but that’s not always the case either. We live in a world where women have been targeted and murdered simply for not wanting to sleep with a man or for being a female in a male dominated industry because, as a lot of men will tell you, no woman could ever be successful in
a field that men love without fucking men to get to the top and those “females” deserve their unethical actions to be exposed, right? Amirite?? We seriously live in a world where a woman who states publicly that she believes in the gender wage gap and wants equal pay will be threatened with rape, where a woman can tweet a smartass comment about a sports game and be threatened with rape. And, unfortunately, this world is one where 98% of rapists never spend time in prison.

How can we guarantee safety for women in that kind of world?

Our society has evolved to a more technologically based one. We live and thrive on social media. We stay buried in our phones. We summarize our lives in 140 neat little characters. We exist in snapshots and tidbits. There’s no denying this change. Yet, there are no ways to protect yourself as an adult when online threats and cyberstalking happen. Most state laws that actually have cyberbullying laws use those laws to instruct public schools to have policies to punish these occurrences for students. Adults have nothing. Elliot Rodgers uploaded his entire manifesto online, but no one would do anything. Rape threats are made every second, but no one has a way to take legal recourse for those threats. Regardless of many people feeling like the government has enough power, that we have enough laws as is, the safety of women, of men, of children is truly at risk when there is no legal statute nor court precedent to protect them allowing assholes to make threats, publish addresses and terrorize others freely without consequence. That freedom only bolsters these bullies increasing the intensity and frequency of their attacks.

Even if you can argue the absence of any real threat, the potential for crippling mental health issues stemming from the kind of situation the character in the story faced is very much present, accounted for, and real. Stress, anxiety, depression… even post-traumatic stress disorder has been claimed following an attack. Clinical psychologists have agreed that this is a very real possibility. Given my education in counseling/psychology, I agree. The constant barrage of threats and bullying could most definitely lead to the development of PTSD which involves anxiety, emotional deregulation, emotional intensity, avoidance of triggers, nightmares, insomnia, inability to focus, reckless behavior, hopelessness, intense shame or guilt, and interpersonal problems.

There’s no magic fix that will eliminate this sort of behavior, but if these sorts of things happened face to face, the offending person would be charged with harassment, stalking, or possible even terroristic threats. An evolving, technologically dependent society needs laws that reflect the times. We should already be at this point instead of leaving people with no actual way to legally protect themselves. Many end up fleeing their own homes and hiding out until the blowback dies down.

As a society, we need to demand more be done and stop dismissing these behaviors as empty threats from neckbeards still living with their moms. That may actually be the case, but why are we so willing to risk people’s safety to protect assholes who hide behind a computer screen?

Fuck that. People’s wellbeing should always come before the unhindered freedom to be a dickhead. Period the end.

So, share the stories, demand people listen, and push for more to be done. That push is the only way to get anything done.


This has been another installment of Sunday Confessions! Be sure to check out the More than Cheese and Beer page for other linkups and the Facebook page for anonymous confessions


  1. Any kind of bullying is bullying. I don't understand why this is such a difficult concept for so many people.Seems pretty simple to me.

  2. YES YES YES!!!!!
    My 2nd oldest son and I were just talking about this type of gaming thing the other day.

  3. It's terrifying how vulnerable we can feel or become. This is an incredibly serious topic that need to be talked about. Empty threats can completely destroy lives and there will always be those who's treats are not so empty.

    1. Elliot Rodgers threats really turned out to be not so empty, and I think we're moving towards that being more common. I'm typically the last person to advocate for more government intervention, but in this case, people really have nothing they can do about these threats. Reporting them to the police is never taken seriously and it's going to end up costing more lives if something isn't done.

  4. Jenniy, I hope this is fiction and not your reality?

    1. I *have* been threatened online before, but not to this extent. I used fiction to highlight what women really go through online. Ashley Judd recently received rape threats on Twitter for making comments about a sports team, and the whole deal with Gamergate is shocking. Three women associated with the gaming industry have been run from their homes because of threats against their lives... It's insane what happens online, and more needs to be done to address these threats.