Note: There is offensive language in this post, not from me, but I wanted to warn you before you read it.
I was cooking dinner today when my phone went off. Three new emails waited for me. In between cooking dinner, catching up with my husband, and watching the kids have a water fight, I checked my email because I was waiting for an important one.
Two were comments on my blog, nothing unusual in that until I read them. The first one said
The next one said
I showed my husband, Brandon, and tried to shrug it off. After all, these aren’t the first vile comments I have received and they probably won’t be the last but he stopped me. “What do you mean you have gotten comments like this before? You haven’t told me that?!”
I guess in this day and age you just get used to it. I see it happen all of the time, especially to women, and even more to women of color. It seems to the price you pay to be public in a way, to being online. Nestled in between all of the learning, the connections, and the book recommendations is your daily slice of hatred. You have people who praise you, people who disagree with you, some in angry ways. And then you have death threats against your family and yourself.
I blocked the commenter, deleted the comments after taking screenshots of everything. And yet, Brandon wouldn’t let it go. “You should report it, just in case…” Sure it’s probably nothing, but still…And it was that “Just in case…” that made me do that very thing.
Because sure it is probably some kid somewhere having some fun.
Because sure it is probably some troll not caring who they wrote to or what they really said.
Because sure it is probably someone who just wanted to get a reaction and saw an easy way to do so.
But still, that small little thought is there; what if it’s not?
What if it’s not…
What if someone does want to hurt my children or me and I did nothing but shrug it off?
So I write this post to say it’s not okay.
It’s not okay for us to be a society where threats towards us and our families are so commonplace that we barely register when they happen.
Where language like what was posted to me is deleted rather than reported.
Where threats and the use of vulgar language are so common that we even hear people in power use them as if it is no big deal.
Where trolls and kids and whoever wants to hide behind their computers get to mess up your sense of security because who really cares how others feel, they were just joking anyway…
And because it happens so much we don’t even do anything about it.
It is a big deal. And we have to remember that…
When kids say things in our classrooms that are not okay.
When people leave comments online that are not okay.
When those in power say things that are not okay.
We have to speak up, reclaim the conversations, and shift the power back.
So tonight, after I hung up with the police and they told me I did the right thing, while I didn’t feel much safer, I did feel right. Like somehow me tracking that ISP. Me documenting. My writing and sharing let me reclaim a little piece of the power that someone tried to take away from me. Because guess what? I’m not done writing.