While Evie Ruddy was moving in with her partner last year, she was being called an attention whore and feminazi.
It was supposed to be happy day for the couple, but was marred by Ruddy’s rise as a target for online trolls. Others online said she should have been shot in the uterus, or had her ovaries ripped from her body.
“It had blown so out of control, like beyond what I had expected and I wanted it to stop,” said Ruddy, a freelance writer and sessional lecturer in gender studies at the University of Regina.
The night before, Ruddy did interviews with CBC and Global News about a human rights complaint she had planned to file against Ragged Ass Barbers. The Regina barber shop had denied giving her a haircut, a hard part, because she wasn’t a man.
Ruddy went to sleep that night thinking she had simply raised a concern about a business discriminating against a customer, but awoke the next day to a slew of misogynist messages and comments, despite calls from the barbershop’s owners for civility online. Many of the comments were written by people living in Regina, from what she could see on Facebook, but some were from as far as California. All of the abusive direct messages Ruddy received through Twitter were written by men.
As frightening as Ruddy’s situation was, it was not unique. Several other women in Saskatchewan who have spoken about social issues have paid for it by being relentlessly harassed and abused online, some even receiving death threats.
Erica Lee has been involved with First Nations activism for much of her life. The fact that she’s an aboriginal woman made her a target for online harassment.
Read the Full Story by Mark Melnychuk, Leader-Post Here.