I tweeted about Trump's leaked audio. Men called me a cunt and threatened rape and murder.

I tweeted about Trump's leaked audio. Men called me a cunt and threatened rape and murder.
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images
opinion
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Donald Trump's comments about kissing women by force and grabbing them "by the pussy" are the biggest revelation of the month, if not the election cycle. But if you're a woman speaking out online about the Republican presidential candidate's near-confession of sexual assault, be warned: Men will fill your mentions to silence you, call you a cunt and threaten to kill you.

"I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," Trump says in the tape, which was published by the Washington Post on Friday. "You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just a kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything." 

"Grab them by the pussy," Trump is heard saying. "You can do anything." 

His statements don't appear to be disturbing many diehard Trump supporters. The ones haranguing me (and many other female journalists) seem to be enlivened by the Trump backlash, firing back with hateful and violent messages. 

This abuse matters because it's not an isolated example. It represents the relentless harassment women — especially female Jewish writers — have faced when we speak out about Trump in 2016.

First, my tweet was screengrabbed and posted by a user called Lawless Pirate. If your tweet is screengrabbed, you can't simply block the abuser and hide your activity from him — he's broadcasting it to his entire network, dog-whistling my face and name to fellow conservative trolls.

Trump supporters responding to my tweet
Source: 
Twitter

Then the comments flooded in. One person hoped I would "get raped" by "Slick Willie," meaning Bill Clinton. Another said I should get clubbed in the head at the polls for voting for "Hitlery." And someone told me to hang myself. 

Trump supporters responding to my tweet
Source: 
Twitter
Trump supporters responding to my tweet
Source: 
Twitter
Trump supporters responding to my tweet
Source: 
Twitter

I was also called a fucking shithead, a cunt, a "fagit" and a dumb bitch. Another sent a Pepe meme featuring a helicopter dropping people to their deaths.

I'll say it again: This experience is not unique to me. Women who tweeted more powerful statements against Trump than my silly joke were greeted with misogynistic comments and death threats galore.

The violent, sexist and often racist or anti-Semitic retaliation is all too common this election cycle. On numerous occasions, Trump has jokingly endorsed violence at his rallies, where fans are known to shout the phrase "hang that bitch." Female journalists like Laura Silverman and Dana Schwartz have written about the toxicity Trump breeds by not only refusing to condemn such behavior, but also participating in it himself.

The response to what might be Trump's most vulgar statements is evidence the candidate's misogyny validates and empowers his fanbase — and has shaped an online arena where women who have an opinion can't feel safe.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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