Feminist author and columnist Jessica Valenti has announced she is taking a break from social media after waking up this week to “a rape and death threat” to her young daughter. “This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5-year-old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable,” Valenti wrote, in a series of tweets.
“I am sick of this s***. Sick of saying over and over how scary this is, sick of being told to suck it up,” Valenti told her more-than 120,000 followers. “I should not have to fear for my kid’s safety because I write about feminism.
“I should not have to wade through horror to get through the day. None of us should have to,” she wrote. “I can deal with a lot of things, I’ve taken a lot of abuse over the years. But my child? No.”
In an interview with Women in the World published in June, Valenti said of her new memoir Sex Object: “If I’m going to be attacked – here’s everything. Now you have it all. Say whatever you want and let’s move on.”
But there is responsibility attached to her feminist identity, she told WITW’s Alli Maloney, and one purpose in writing the book was to “engage with that responsibility and try to figure out what that responsibility really is,” Valenti said.
“What do I owe myself and my family? What do I owe my peers and people who look to me for comment on this sort of stuff?” she asked. “For me those two things are very much in conflict — I don’t want to talk about [sexism and misogyny] all the time, I don’t want to write about this stuff all the time, I don’t want it to define me. It feels exhausting,” she said, pausing. “But to not is an added pressure.”
In April, The Guardian’s survey of comments on its site revealed that of the 1.4 million that had been blocked by moderators since 1999, Valenti’s writing had been the most-targeted. The “endnotes” section of her book, which was written before the Guardian’s research was completed, includes samples of online comments and emails about Valenti that date from 2008 to last year, one entry reading “f*** you” in repetition, enough to fill three pages.
“The people who need to know how to reach me,” she concluded. “Thanks for all the support. x”
Read the full story at The Washington Times.