This Is Misogynist Terrorism

[Content Note: Misogyny; terrorism; explicit threats of violence.]

Last night, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency, creator of the Tropes vs Women feminist critique of video gaming series, who was scheduled to speak at Utah State University this morning, was forced to cancel her speech after the director of the university's Center for Women and Gender, among other people, received an email threatening in gruesome detail a mass shooting if they didn't cancel Sarkeesian's appearance.

Although the threat was deemed by law enforcement to be "consistent with ones [Sarkeesian] has received at other places around the nation" and "not out of the norm" for her, because of Utah's open-carry laws, the university was either unable or unwilling to accommodate a request for firearm searches of attendees, so Sarkeesian was obliged to cancel out of security concerns.

The Standard Examiner published excerpts of the chilling email:
[The] anonymous email terror threat on Tuesday morning [came] from someone claiming to be a student proposing "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if it didn't cancel the Wednesday lecture.

The email author wrote that "feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they've wronged."

...The email was a warning to all staff and students at USU if Sarkeesian's talk wasn't canceled "a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out" against those in attendance, students, staff and the women's center.

"I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs," the email continues. The threat is "giving (USU) a chance to stop it."

The threats increase throughout the letter, saying at one point that even if security is increased it won't save anyone and feminists on campus won't be able to defend themselves.

"One way or another, I'm going to make sure they die," it said.

Sarkeesian poses "everything wrong with the feminist woman" and that is why she is being targeted, the email states. "She is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU."

The writer ended the email saying they would never be found, but everyone will soon know their name.

"I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America."
This is terrorism. It's misogynist terrorism. And, just like anti-choice terrorism, it's diminished with anodyne turns of phrase like "consistent with threats that are not out of the norm for this woman." Because threats of violence against uppity women is just to be expected.

Especially for women whose primary workplace is online.

What do you expect? More. I expect for women to not be terrorized.

I expect Anita Sarkeesian to be able to speak safely, and for her audience members who want to hear her speak to be able to do so safely.

And I expect people to stop dismissing real harm as nobody getting really hurt unless and until a woman dies.

And I expect men (and women) who are writing about this to stop reflexively including the cavernously contemptible phrase "small but vocal minority" to describe the people who are engaging in this misogynist terrorism.

And I expect for serious people who care about the fact that women are being terrorized and silenced and harmed to start talking about this culture of abuse using words that do not diminish what is happening and what its effects are.

If you care about this, about what has happened to Anita, and to other women, what continues to happen every day, now is not the time for polite words.

Now is the time for radical resistance.

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