Whenever a woman rocks the apple cart by publicly reporting harassment, and especially when they name their harasser, it's a given that a vocal segment of assholes will respond with more ignorance and harassment. "Prove it." "Aren't you being just as bad by calling out your harasser on a public forum?" "Was it really that bad?" "You're being unprofessional." "Think of what you're doing to his career?" "You must have an ulterior motive." "Couldn't you have made these accusations in nicer tone?" "Was the harassment really that bad?" And those are the "polite" ones.
Following this week's earlier revelations about harassment that occurred in the past by prominent blogger and current Marvel Comics writer Chris Sims (who admitted to and apologized for the harassment) and his fans, comics pro, longtime blogger, and all around kind and wonderful person in all of The Outhouse's interactions with her, Valerie D'Orazio, has announced she will close her Twitter account after receiving "messages of a disturbing and violent nature." She will leave her account open until March 31st to allow journalists to document her statements on cyber bullying (we've been doing our best to document this whole affair, though it feels like some of the rest of the comics media has not covered it with the same zeal they probably would have if one of our own were not the accused).
I almost said that "it doesn't need to be said that anyone who sent Valerie D'Orazio violent messages or threats in the wake of this story is a reprehensible human being who doesn't deserve to be a part of society," but it does need to be said. Fuck you, assholes. What's truly sad is that this result is really no surprise to anyone who's followed similar stories in the past. This type of response is expected, and Valerie D'Orazio must have expected it when she decided to tell her story. That she most likely knew this would be coming and spoke out anyway makes her already courageous statements even moreso.
But nothing I'm saying here is new. This has all happened before, and it will sadly all happen again. I hope we, as a community, learn a little bit from Valerie's experience and use it to treat each other a little bit better. I'm sorry to say that I don't see that change being complete any time soon.
Valerie, thanks for being so courageous in publicly exposing yourself to more abuse to get the truth out there. When my daughters grow up and enter the real and online world, I'm hopeful that they will have things just a little bit easier because of the strength and bravery of you and women like you. And I'm sad that it's a certainty they'll still have to deal with a lot of it.