Phone threats of rape with a blowtorch by a man who claimed I insulted his god went on day and night for some weeks. I made the same decision as Robin Marty, at first I was afraid; then realized I had no control over him and I did have control over my reaction. He wanted me to stop writing about his god as dominator, exploiter, manipulator and hate-monger; if I stopped writing, he would silence me and for what purpose? I had to write what I know first hand. I realize there are loonies out there in the ether somewhere, and I have the right and responsibility to report my experiences on a public forum. As long as fear rules me, I felt powerless. Writing my truth is a necessary and not sufficient action on my part.

People talk about others being terrorists without realizing our country and religious groups grow our own hate-mongers and terrorists. As long as they exist, there will be people such as myself who do not remain silent.  

Women and homosexuals have a common enemy in the USA and it is not the non-believers, freethinkers, secularists, Brights or atheists. 

The Price of Being a Woman Online

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Comment by Joan Denoo on August 8, 2014 at 8:14pm

Čenek, I agree on all points. I deliberately chose my real name because I had an agenda. My agenda hasn't changed, I have simply picked up some new challenges. 

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on August 8, 2014 at 7:25pm

Those of us who use our real names online take a huge risk!  Especially if that name is uncommon and can act as a unique identifier. John Smith need not fear :)

Though I'm terribly sorry that you had to endure those threats, I am very happy that your moral certitude kept you from being being victimized by giving up your power. 

I don't think it is a phenomenon unique to women, I can name quite a few male internet celebrities who have or are enduring threats.  I would say that it might be a product of anonymity but I have had some interesting encounters face-to-face here in small town america. 

even if the people who will engage in this negative behavior is a fraction of a percent of total population it is still a huge number when counted against the internet community. A small town might have one person but the internet has tens of thousands of vocal hateful people. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 8, 2014 at 6:46pm

Luara, I am having a good laugh as I look at the Batman photo. Life is incredibly good to me. I just now came in from the garden after a most delightful day, starting with breakfast with the birds at 6AM. The temperatures have moderated and it just felt so good to do tasks, read, write, and laugh at the birds fighting over perches on the bird feeder. 

Comment by Luara on August 8, 2014 at 1:43pm

I just say, "thank you for calling, I am recording this call and will use it to prosecute."

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 8, 2014 at 1:15pm

Carl, no, I don't know who, and at the time I had the ability to record messages. I sent the recordings to the phone company, and the harassment stopped. I have had other phone calls since then, not as graphic or violent and I just say, "thank you for calling, I am recording this call and will use it to prosecute." I no longer have such unpleasant events in my life. The key is, use the fear to confront a fear. It creates a sense of agency, of being able to handle challenges. Then, along came cancer, and the technique worked for me again. 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on August 5, 2014 at 12:00pm

Joan, at this point in time do you have any idea who was making these threats?  I'm glad they have stopped. 

Comment by Luara on August 5, 2014 at 9:39am

Who benefits? Who pays for remaining silent?

Once my sister said "Why can't we just keep the nuclear bombs buried in the backyard?

My response is that I'm the backyard the nuclear bombs are buried in!

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 5, 2014 at 9:03am

The rape threats were just after I joined Atheist Nexus and the person obviously was reading my story. He referred to things I said only on A/N, things that I had not told anyone else. Obviously, I was afraid.

AH! I know the feeling of fear. I know that the one who threatens or harms benefits by silence. Family and friends don't want to hear stories of one of our family abusing another. When I told a family gathering that I left my husband because of abuse and that my mother had never been able to leave my abusing father. My aunt challenged me to be quiet, I said everything I said is true. Her response, and one I continue to hear is "I know it is true, but we don't talk about it!" 

Silence! 

Who benefits? Who pays for remaining silent? That event occurred in the late 1970s. One of the most important life-lessons I had.  

No, I am not afraid, even with threats. It does me no good and benefits the violent one. It is a little bit like I have been immunized to fear. I know the threats are real and I am naive if I think that I am safe. No one is safe in a world that honors its violent members with recognition and, in the case of the criminal bankers, great wealth.  

The world I created, the people I allow into my life, the environment I designed, affirm flourishing. The hawk takes a bird or two; the cats come here for meals; the Black Widow spiders have their place and I wear protective clothing when gardening in their area, even as I set sticky traps to catch as many as I can and I also use an exterminator.  

Know your adversary, be mindful of risks, think and take action, evaluate outcomes. The formula for living without fear.

Comment by booklover on August 5, 2014 at 8:55am

Joan, that is sick and horrible that some psycho would threaten you like that!  I'm glad you've kept writing. 

Comment by Luara on August 5, 2014 at 3:33am

Joan, is this something that is currently happening to you?

No, the "rape with a blow-torch" threat is something that happened to her some time (maybe years) ago.

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