update: recovering professionally after an internet hate campaign

Remember the letter-writer a few weeks ago who was the target of an internet hate campaign after she spoke publicly about sexism in her industry and about her company’s work to be more inclusive? Here’s the update.

The good news is my company has continued to support me and the worst of it seems to be over. Crash Override (mentioned in the comments on the original post) has been a great resource and I managed to lock down most of my personal information before I could be doxed or really ugly things could happen.

I’ve passed through terror and despair and come through to anger and I’m feeling a lot stronger about myself and my position. I think Alison’s advice is fantastic and definitely something I needed to hear.

I stopped reading my Twitter/FB notifications after this whole thing broke, and instead of trying to tackle them all myself I’m having some good friends come over to help sort through them. We’re documenting all the really nasty ones just in case and making a “positivity book” from all the great and supportive comments. I think that’s going to help me if this incident flares up again or something similar happens in the future.

Thank you all again!

{ 29 comments… read them below }

  1. Katniss*

    I’m so glad to hear Crash Override was helpful. They were to me after I was worried about doxxing, and are a good resource.

  2. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Wow, I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but very glad to hear that you’re coping well and working on moving on. Go you! \o/

  3. Artemesia*

    It is horrifying that you had to go through this for what are rather innocuous and excellent contributions about the industry. You soooo did not ask for this in any way. The law is just way behind on this one. We really need better laws for this kind of concentrated assault on women via the net.

  4. DuckDuckMøøse*

    Great to hear the update – I missed the references to Crash Override in the initial comments. I had never heard of them before today. It’s great that it is mentioned here so prominently, to spread awareness, in case any of us have the same issue, or it happens to someone we know.

    1. fposte*

      I was thinking the same thing–I wish I’d had them 15 years ago, but it’s good to know about them now.

  5. Ang*

    Thank you for the update! And thank you for sharing how you’re moving forward and what you’re putting in place now to stay positive in the future. Those are very helpful ideas!

  6. Kathy-office*

    So sorry you’re having to deal with this, but so glad that you have such great friends helping you!

  7. Engineer Girl*

    What happened to you was a symptom of the sexism you talked about. In a way these people provided proof of it!
    I’m so glad your employer supported you. I’m glad you are moving forward with new knowledge of what you can survive.

    1. Murphy*

      It’s called Lewis’s Law – that comments on an article about feminism prove the need for feminism.

  8. LQ*

    This is a good update. Glad you have good support around you personally and professionally. Thank you for standing up and talking about this.

  9. Liza*

    I’m so glad! Thanks for this update, and for mentioning Crash Override–I had missed it in the original comments too, but now I’ve bookmarked it in case I (or friends!) ever need it.

  10. Rahera*

    Great news, thanks for the update. I’m glad you are getting help sorting through the social media responses. Documenting the nasties is wise, and I love the idea of keeping a record of the positive responses and support to set alongside that. :)

  11. Liana*

    I’m glad you have a supportive network of friends, and your employer is sticking by you as well! Best of luck in the future :)

  12. AnonEMoose*

    Thanks for the update; I’m so glad you’re doing well, and that your friends and your company are sticking by you!

  13. stevenz*

    If people had to give their names and phone numbers when they post comments that sort of thing would never happen. Anonymity gives license for bitter, ignorant people a forum they wouldn’t otherwise have without the internet, so they don’t need to accept any responsibility or consequences of their actions. The scary part is that you could be sitting next to one of them on the bus or chatting with one at the grocery store never knowing what sort of petty and mean person they are.

    Hopefully over time those kinds of attacks won’t be taken seriously by reasonable people and damage won’t be done, but negativity is so compelling. I don’t know what it is in human nature that makes that so.

    Anyway, good for you. It may not be much comfort but remember, you’re better than them.

    1. Blurgle*

      And anyone who had ever been abused – or anyone in the target demographic to be abused, because it only takes one bully working at that website to leak it – would never comment, and you’d lose their viewpoint permanently.

    2. Katniss*

      Facebook has proven to me time and time again that people will be just as awful under their real names.

      1. Programmer 01*

        Hahaha, I was going to say this. Plenty of people don’t care. Blizzard tried to institute real-name IDs and it blew up in their faces. If a company with that much money and that many users found better ways to moderate and prevent harassment, there’s no point in repeating their mistakes when you can learn from them.

        This sort of thing isn’t just “petty” and “mean”.

        MEGA TW regarding sexism and hate speech for this link, but it’s recent and I think very relevant, and eye-opening to people who have never been on the receiving end of this sort of thing.


    3. Lizzie*

      You’d be surprised. In certain countries you have to have what is basically the equivalent of your social security number to register for most sites, and people are still super hateful.

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