Death threats. Racist taunts. Vows of violence. Inside the increasingly personal attacks targeting Canadian female journalists, some journalists themselves are feeling increasingly anxious and panicky about their own safety.
A wave of hate incidents targeting female Canadian journalists has been surfacing in recent months. The attacks vary from death threats to racist taunts, including a barrage of rape threats, all centred on female journalists.
It’s in that realm that Emily Pearson, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun, found herself in the middle of the storm. In an exclusive interview with The Narwhal, she reveals the level of fear that the threats have caused her, as well as what she expects the incoming flood of misogyny, anti-feminism, anti-gay politics, anti-immigration rhetoric, and anti-Canada politics to mean for women’s ability to speak out in the public sphere, and to report on their own lives and experiences.
“I have a deep fear of reprisal. After being called some of the most vile names I could imagine is what triggered me to call my mother,” she told The Narwhal. “This was something I was just waiting for and I was terrified that I will have to spend the rest of my life dealing with the fallout of this.”
A few days after the rape threats began (some of the most severe have been against Ms. Pearson, who is a mother-of-two, and her friend Laura Stone), they were followed by death threats. It came in the form of an anonymous call to the police for Ms. Stone:
“Just call the police and have him arrested, he is a rapist,” the caller told them, according to Ms. Stone. “You can’t call the cops.”
And this was just one death threat.
I think the main question is what is it that we all want to protect? Emily Pearson
“I am extremely fearful for what is going to happen next to our friends,” Ms. Stone told The Narwhal. “I think the main question is what is it that we all want to protect: our friends, our work and ourselves?”