I really prefer not to write personal or current events-type things on my site, but I'm not sure what else to do with this.
Trigger/content warnings for harassment, stalking, and threats of violence.
4 months ago I filed a police report against a man who had been stalking me for months and had threatened to rape and murder me. This man lives in the same small city that I reside in. The stalker erroneously received the police report I filed against him and chose to further harm me by posting it online - in doing so, sharing my home address and phone number.
Recently this person has gained attention, again, for having created a github project blocking "SJW's" on twitter. Myself, along with a handful of other women this man has stalked and harassed were who he seeded the list with. Since then, I've seen people gleefully exclaim that they made the list. I've seen people go out of their way to share and encourage others to add themselves to the list. I've watched as men who have famously hurt other women in tech gleefully add themselves to the list, as if to add insult to injury.
Last night a number of people -- including a few of my friends -- began sharing the police report publicly in response to that project. I saw tweets stating that people spent hours searching for the report, people demanding a nice little summary be written up somewhere. People quoted horrifying things from the report that trigger me so much that I'm shaking as I write this.
Because of this man, I've stopped leaving my house alone. I now rarely leave home at all. I've had to notify friends, family, and neighbors to look out for suspicious people asking about me. I'm terrified every time I receive a phone call I don't recognize.
And yet, not one person talked to me about sharing that report, asked my permission, or even mentioned to me that they would be doing it.
Dealing with the effects of being a constant target for harassment, threats, and attacks requires a not insignificant amount of money and time: from putting protections in place against DDoS attacks on all my projects to trying to scrub all of my personal information from the internet to dealing with lawyers and law enforcement to therapy, anti-anxiety and depression meds, and more. Thanks to recent events I've also been working on pulling together the money to move.
On top of that are the physical, emotional, and relationship tolls I have to pay for being a visible marginalized person demanding change. I no longer follow anyone on twitter thanks to people going after a close relative of mine who used twitter solely to send me pictures. I've lost friends and others have just disappeared without my participating on social media like I once felt able to. My relationship with my partner is strained with both of us stressing over my safety and how best to protect what little privacy I have. Even on anti-anxiety medication, I have regular anxiety attacks. I worry that my friends, aside from one woman who has been through similar situations, think I'm paranoid and over-careful, so I don't have near as many close friends as I once did.
The things that are happening to me are not funny or fun. People are feigning horror at what this man has done to me, while playing right in to what he wants by giving him more attention and further harming me through sharing my personal details all over the internet. It's as if no one thought how their actions would further harm this man's victims.
If anything, this goes to show exactly how far we still have to go, even within our activist communities, to prevent ourselves from further harming the victims we supposedly stand beside.
Thank you to the few people who have reached out to me with support. I appreciate it. <3
- Social Networking as Peer Surveillance - a piece I wrote for Model View Culture