Sometimes you see someone say to Rebecca Watson, “Is that all that happened?” For the record, the answer is always, “No”. Despite all the people who claim she’s always complaining, Rebecca doesn’t talk about this stuff much. People talking about what she’s said is much more common. When Rebecca does speak up, there’s always some new, unpleasant surprise. Today’s article in Slate is no exception.
The response from male atheists was overwhelming. This is one example:
“honestly, and i mean HONESTLY.. you deserve to be raped and tortured and killed. swear id laugh if i could”
I started checking out the social media profiles of the people sending me these messages, and learned that they were often adults who were active in the skeptic and atheist communities. They were reading the same blogs as I was and attending the same events. These were “my people,” and they were the worst.
Dawkins’ seal of approval only encouraged the haters. My YouTube page and many of my videos were flooded with rape “jokes,” threats, objectifying insults, and slurs. A few individuals sent me hundreds of messages, promising to never leave me alone. My Wikipedia page was vandalized. Graphic photos of dead bodies were posted to my Facebook page.
I knew the inappropriate compliments came from atheists and skeptics. but I didn’t know the circumcision squad was “us”. I never knew about that particular Facebook nastiness, though I knew about plenty of others. And then there’s that guy who said he’d assault Rebecca at TAM and laughed in the face of the JREF when he was told that was inappropriate. I thought he’d been…well, I’ll let you read for yourself. Let’s just say that Rebecca not making a big deal out of that at the time puts the lie to the idea that she was out to hurt TAM.