Education / Politics

Violent threats made against ‘lewd, disrespectful feminists and sluts’ at the University of Toronto

Warning: this story contains the language from the violent threats made against women at the University of Toronto.

It’s that special time of year when students head back to school and rapey frosh chants echo across university campuses.   When idiotic frosh guides sport their “Fuck safe space” t-shirts.  When douchey frat-bros reorganize their fraternity houses as drop-off zones for freshman women, sending cascading banners down their fraternities screaming “Rowdy and Fun | Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time | Freshman daughter drop-off | Go ahead and drop off mom too.”

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Credit: Tyler Anderson, National Post

But instead of your garden-variety frosh-week misogyny, back-to-school took a terrifyingly violent turn for the University of Toronto this week when someone hiding behind the ‘Kill Feminists’ screen-name in the comments section of BlogTO threatened to “spray bullets all over the classroom until all the slutty women are killed,” helpfully explaining that “the feminists who act rude to you at the University of Toronto should be shot to death and the remaining survivors tied to a tree with their throats slit with a dull knife.”

Obvi, mass murder threats are a perfectly rational, natural response to a BlogTo story about what university campuses looked like back in the day and what Instagram accounts Toronto vegans should be following.

Here are the full threats:

kN4mIi5

AND

COLXF2TUsAAf0ta

 

First, let’s take a moment a moment to salute ‘Nick,’ who asked BlogTO for a report button (unlike ‘Jenny’ who was too busy promoting her vegan Instagram account dammit, Jenny, get it together!).

Second, and more importantly: Toronto Police Services have not “identified any credible threat to members of the university community.” (emphasis is mine)

??????????WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. F*CK??????????

As countless feminists/experts/pundits have repeated in the past: why don’t we believe men when they openly threaten women?

Thank you, Toronto Police Services. For perpetuating a culture that downplays and normalizes violence against women, calling into question the very ‘credibility’ of threats. Them hysterical womenz, amiright?  Or, wait – should this be expected from a police force that was openly making rape threats against female protesters arrested during the Toronto G20?

And although the University of Toronto acted relatively quickly, ramping up security on its campuses, why wasn’t the administration clear about the gendered nature when it shared the threats, only stating that “anonymous threats [have been] made on a public blog against the University of Toronto.”

Generic.  Perhaps because it was following the advice of police?

Two students comfort each other during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of the murders at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in May 2014. Credit: Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Two students comfort each other during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of the murders at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in May 2014. Credit: Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Thankfully, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 went public with the female focus of the threats, writing:

… Public threats have been received at the University of Toronto. We can add the detail that these were gendered threats made specifically toward women and feminists. We can also add that the threats specifically encourage violence and target our members in their workplaces. Specifically mentioned are those working in Sociology and Women’s Studies classrooms.

So again: why don’t we believe men when they openly threaten women?  Of course, U of T’s female student and faculty understand that this is a very credible threat.

Students gather to mourn during a candlelight vigil for the Grand 16 Theatre shooting victims at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, La. Credit: Associated Press, Paul Kieu

Students gather to mourn during a candlelight vigil for the Grand 16 Theatre shooting victims at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, La. Credit: Associated Press, Paul Kieu

Marianne Reis, a PhD candidate, told Huffington Post that she will be even more vigilant, saying “I’m certainly going to be on edge when I’m on campus in the next few days.”

Another female student told CBC that she was aware and concerned about the threats, saying “I do feel like I have to be more cautious.  I’m listening to my music right now, maybe that’s something I should stop. It’s my first time living away from home.”

Dr. Andrea Charise, a professor of health studies at U of T, told Jezebel: “As a Canadian female professor, I can say that 1989’s Polytechnique gun massacre continues to cast a long and chilling shadow.”

These threats made to BlogTO raise the specter of the Montreal Polytechnique massacre, where women were slaughtered as the gunman yelled J’haïs les féministes! Vous êtes une bande de féministes! | I hate feminists!  You’re a bunch of feminists!”

Mourners gather in vigil for victims of the Polytechnique Massacre, December 7th 1989. Credit: Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

Mourners gather in vigil for victims of the Polytechnique Massacre, December 7th 1989. Credit: Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

These threats raise the specter of the murder of four young men and two young women on the the University of California, Santa Barbara, when a young man set out with the intent of killing sorority sisters whom he felt  owed him sex, reminding us that violence against women can kill men too. They raise the specter of the recent Lafayette shootings during a screening of Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, the shooter linking his crimes to Schumer’s feminism (because if a woman can’t be funny, she also shouldn’t be a feminist).  They raise the specter of online rape and murder threats made to women, regardless of whether or not they identify as feminists, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

And so women are taking the threats seriously.  ‘Nick’ on BlogTO is taking the threats seriously. So are CUPE 3902 and RedditToronto Police Services: we demand that you do the same.  


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2 thoughts on “Violent threats made against ‘lewd, disrespectful feminists and sluts’ at the University of Toronto

  1. Pingback: Sunday RadFem Roundup | Mancheeze

  2. Pingback: #December6 – Ending The Rising Tide of Violence Against Muslim Women in Canada | Elle Beaver

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