The most common reaction, the one those of us who experience this type of abuse get most frequently, is: suck it up. Grow a thick skin. “Don’t feed the trolls” - as if feeding them were the problem. The Telegraph’s Cristina Odone was amongst many commentators to imply that Mary Beard should have done just that rather than speaking out this week. “Come on, Mary,” wrote Odone. “Women in public arenas get a lot of flak – they always have. A woman who sticks her head above the parapet… . is asking for brickbats.”
Asking for it. By daring to be a woman to be in public life, Mary Beard was asking to be abused and harassed and frightened, and so is any person who dares to express herself whilst in possession of a pair of tits.”
Here’s what free speech means: It means you get to say pretty much whatever you want without the government coming in, shutting you down, and/or arresting you. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, you can say something offensive or vile and the police aren’t going to drag you away in handcuffs. However, the thing with free speech is that other people have it too. So if you say something vile that other people don’t like, those other people can in turn criticize you and say vile things back that you don’t like. And if we’re arguing that “free speech” extends into the right to take photos of random women on the street and post them on Reddit, then certainly “free speech” extends into the right to say “Hey FYI guys, the person posting under the name Violentacrez is actually a gross dude named Michael Brutsch.”
And yes, the person posting under the name Violentacrez is actually a gross dude named Michael Brutsch.
And he and his supporters are whining right now because he was outed and that’s so unfair, and he has a family, and his wife is sick and he needs to not get fired from his job. And that is all very sad, and I am sorry that his wife is ill. But (a) I’m unclear on how Michael Brutsch was even able to do his job given the amount of time he spent on Reddit, and (b) the content that he put on Reddit sounds like it would make him a serious liability to his company. This is a man who brags about his boner for under-age girls. Who created an entire board dedicated to the glorification of beating women (posting images of women being beaten up), then created another board dedicated to pictures of dead underage girls.
Excuse me if I feel zero sympathy for this particular person.”