A Promise Kept for Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian

I asked the question on September 4, “Am I part of the problem of violence against women?” I then made a promise to myself and to women that I would no longer be silent. After, I started following some Twitter accounts, blogs and other social media accounts to keep myself informed and I came across #GamerGate.

This is one of the few times I was truly disturbed at what I read.

Women in the video gaming industry are being targeted for violence in an entertainment industry for speaking out for women’s role in tech and the perception on women in some but not all video games. Violence that includes having personal information such as bank accounts, personal phone numbers, addresses and the like hacked and posted online; threats of physical harm including rape, bombing of events at which they are appearing, and death threats.

But why?

To silence an opposing view. Nothing more.

The latest victim, Brianna Wu and her husband were driven from their home by death threats. let me repeat that. WERE DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOME!

Brianna Wu threat

Brianna Wu Threat

This because she audacity to speak out for the experience of women in the tech work force. She relates her personal experience and why and how it stems from sexism. She eloquently and energetically calls for diversity in the tech world after seeing first hand how toxic of an environment it can be. I can’t blame her if her words seem to be tinged with anger.

As Brianna Wu stated in her speech at AltConf “The absence of privilege is not oppression.” But why will these people, presumably men, go as far as criminal acts of violence to keep it? What have we come to when someone who wants to do no more than to provide quality entertainment has to live her life with threats of rape and death?

Anita Sarkeesian has also been made a target of violent threats for her video series “Feminist Frequency” that comments on the use, misuse and perception of women in video games, often as nothing more than objects.

 

Here is one of the facts I find stunning in cases like Brianna’s and Anita’s: All of the threats that I have seen, and I have been watching for them now, are anonymous. That’s right, dear readers, these people are cowards that while making threats of horrible violence do not have the courage of their convictions and post who they are.

Why? Simple.

They know they are breaking the law. Period. They know that making threats to one’s safety and life are felonies. They believe that anonymity will shield them from prosecution. But I have to wonder: If there is conspiracy among those making these threats does it cross the threshold of being investigated and tried under the RICO laws?

But here and now I publicly voice my support for and to Brianna and Anita and the other women who work in and report on the technology field that are having their lives thrown into chaos by fearful men who believe that male privilege shall never be challenged.

 

 We will not walk in fear, one of another; we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend the causes that, at the moment, were unpopular.

-Edward R. Murrow

 

 

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