Death threats. Racist taunts. Vows of violence. Inside the increasingly personal attacks targeting Canadian female journalists are a litany of ugly words. They say things like: “If you’re a white girl, you need to go back where you came from,” “You’re not allowed to exist,” “Go back to where you came from,” “I know you’re white, but don’t you dare make me look at your face,” and “F—- you,” to mention a few that have made their rounds on social media in recent weeks.
Since the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which took off on Twitter in March, Canadian journalists have shared their stories of sexual and physical assault by members of the Canadian public and law enforcement.
While more than one in four women experience some form of sexual coercion or assault in Canada, the numbers for female journalists are considerably higher. According to a 2014 study from the Canadian Association of Journalists, nearly two-thirds of women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed are harassed by male colleagues.
According to the 2014 study: “The vast majority of female journalists who have been sexually harassed or assaulted by other journalists in the last two years had been verbally threatened, bullied or threatened with physical violence. In many cases, female journalists reported that their colleagues had repeatedly harassed them over several years, starting when they worked for a competing publication or radio station. More than half the women interviewed in the study had been told by another journalist that their personal life was none of the reporter’s business, and one in six women in the study said they were told to ‘go back to where you came from.’ “
Since the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, a number of Canadian female journalists have opened up about their experiences with men in the media. It has also inspired a wave of support from their peers.
Canadian women are “not allowed to exist,” wrote CBC journalist Susan Elliott, when a Twitter user called her a “white girl” on