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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 3:35 PM
In a series of eight tweets, influential feminist writer and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti announced her decision to indefinitely suspend her use of social media Wednesday because she received a death and rape threat explicitly aimed at her child.
“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,” Jessica Valenti tweeted to more than 120,000 followers. “I am sick of this s–t. Sick of saying over and over how scary this is, sick of being told to suck it up.”
“I can deal with a lot of things, I’ve taken a lot of abuse over the years. But my child? No,” Valenti continued. “Law enforcement needs to get their s–t together on online threats. Social media companies need to f—ing do something.”
Described by MSNBC as a “leading feminist voice,” Valenti is a New York Times bestselling author and the award-winning founder of Feministing.com. She gives speeches around the country and is also called in for media commentary by the likes of Stephen Colbert, CNN and MSNBC. But if she had to do it all over again, she told the Washington Post in 2015, she’d consider doing it anonymously. The around-the-clock abuse has taken its toll.
Valenti didn’t disclose the nature of the threats, or whether they were linked to a specific article she had written — but she isn’t the only woman facing attacks from trolls online. Valenti’s decision to take a break from social media comes just a week after “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones was run off Twitter by horrifically racist and homophobic users on the platform.
Since the incident, Twitter made a bold move to shut down abusive accounts, including that of Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who was accused of inspiring the hatred aimed at Jones.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addressed the contorversy in a phone call to investors Tuesday.
“Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up,” he said. “No one deserves to be the target of abuse online, and it has no place on Twitter.”
But whether social media companies in general will develop an effective strategy to curb this type of online abuse is yet to be seen — as the abuse continues to pour in for both Jones and Valenti.
Valenti did not return a request for comment by the Daily News.