Ashley Judd speaks out against Twitter abuse, childhood rape

In a moving piece linking online violence and rape, actor Ashley Judd wrote an op-ed in Mic after she faced extremely sexist and violent comments on Twitter for her tweet on a basketball game.

FP Staff March 20, 2015 20:08:50 IST
Ashley Judd speaks out against Twitter abuse, childhood rape

In a moving piece linking online violence and rape, actor Ashley Judd wrote an op-ed in Mic after she faced extremely sexist and violent comments on Twitter for her tweet on a basketball game.

Highlighting the kind of abusive language some people on Twitter used against her, and probably use against many other women, Judd said:

I routinely cope with tweets that sexualize, objectify, insult, degrade and even physically threaten me. I have already — recently, in fact — looked into what is legally actionable in light of such abuse, and have supplied Twitter with scores of reports about the horrifying content on its platform. But this particular tsunami of gender-based violence and misogyny flooding my Twitter feed was overwhelming. Tweets rolled in, calling me a cunt, a whore or a bitch, or telling me to suck a two-inch dick. Some even threatened rape, or "anal anal anal." I deleted my original tweet after the game, before all hell broke loose, to make amends for any genuine offense I may have committed by describing play as "dirty."

The abuse was directed at Judd when, while watching a basket ball game on Sunday, she had said on Twitter that the opposing team was “playing dirty & can kiss my team’s free throw making a—.” She actually had to delete her tweet because of the amount of hatred and abuse she received.

Ashley Judd speaks out against Twitter abuse childhood rape

Ashley Judd. AFP

Recalling the names she got called Judd said in the op-ed:

Tweets rolled in, calling me a c*nt, a who@e or a bi%ch, or telling me to suck a two-inch d*^k. Some even threatened rape, or "anal anal anal."

Judd, while going through the ordeal realised that this had something to do with the abuse she had faced even as a girl. She spoke out about how she is already a survivor of sexual assault, rape and incest:

I am a survivor of sexual assault, rape and incest. I am greatly blessed that in 2006, other thriving survivors introduced me to recovery. I seized it. My own willingness, partnered with a simple kit of tools, has empowered me to take the essential odyssey from undefended and vulnerable victim to empowered survivor. Today, nine years into my recovery, I can go farther and say my "story" is not "my story." It is something a Higher Power (spirituality, for me, has been vital in this healing) uses to allow me the grace and privilege of helping others who are still hurting, and perhaps to offer a piece of education, awareness and action to our world.

While Judd, who is a celebrity, faced Twitter backlash for her comment, reports suggest that she is not alone and women who comment on sports in general on social media are subjected to abuse by men.

The Guardian's Melissa Jacobs writes that her ideas on sports have been questioned several times by those who are unaware of the fact that she covers the National Football League.

Jacobs writes, "When it comes to women writing about sports, the harassment is not only there, it comes with a special brand of archaic machismo and frequent and disgusting trolling. While sexism gotten much better for us within the industry, women in sports often still need a very thick skin when it comes to interacting with the public."

While Judd has decided to press charges against the abusive and utterly foul language on Twitter, Jacobs says,"The threats were vile, disappointing and cringe-worthy – but as any woman who exists within the megasphere of sports understands, not surprising."

Read Ashley Judds whole op-ed piece here and Melissa Jacobs' piece here.

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