Writer and Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell is speaking out about the nasty, threatening responses she received via social media after appearing on Fox News last week to talk about women, rape and guns.
Maxwell, who appears frequently on Fox and is also a contributor to theGrio, has written often about what she calls unfair cultural messages to women, instructing them on how to avoid being raped, rather than focusing on the men who commit these crimes. On Sean Hannity’s program last Tuesday, she applied that message to the issue of gun control, sayingarming women isn’t the answer to preventing rape, and that teaching men not to attack women is.
“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything,” Maxwell said during the show. “I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”
Her comments prompted a volley of ugly — even threatening — responses on Twitter and Facebook, including from someone named Michael Shapiro, who describes himself as a “Barry Hussein Obama HATER…. Proud American Patriot, Infidel and Rabid Islamaphobe” and who, after calling Maxwell the n-word, added that he hoped she would “get raped” and have her “throat slit,” adding, “may be [sic] then you understand why white women have to be armed.” Shapiro later deleted the tweet.
Here are several of the threatening tweets sent to Maxwell following the segment:
She says the experience has been difficult emotionally, given her past, very personal experience with rape.
“I knew that going on Fox News to talk about my personal experience as a survivor would be difficult, but the issue is important to me and I viewed it as an opportunity to address rape culture head on,” she said. “I am pretty fed up with the constant messaging around what women can do to prevent rape or domestic violence, instead of focusing on the perpetrators. I’ve written about victim blaming consistently and I used Hannity as a way to repeat the same message in a different forum. The backlash is instructive because I was making a broader point about rape culture and I received rape threats. The irony is pretty remarkable. It wasn’t just trolls with no followers either; many of the harshest messages on Facebook are from real people whose names I know and whose profiles you can click on.”
You can read the rest of Zerlina’s experience via theGrio.