Conduct a large-scale shut down of accounts that tweet rape threats at women!

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“You need to be raped...”

This is one of many messages sent to women worldwide on social media every day. I know because I’ve received plenty of these threats.

These intolerable comments are traumatic for me because I’ve been raped. I was drugged and brutally gang-raped by four men nearly 20 years ago. I still remember the fear and torment of being unable to take control of my own body or scream for help. I remember the intense pain I felt the next morning when I regained full consciousness. Not just physical pain, but intense mental and emotional pain that made me want to commit suicide. I would never wish that pain on anyone. Not even on my rapists.

In 2014, I went public with my story. As a public rape survivor and activist, I use Twitter as a platform to spread my anti-violence message, but that same platform is being used by others to bully, terrorize, and threaten me. Unfortunately, Twitter does not take threats of rape seriously. Women receive the same response over and over when they reach out to Twitter for help:

“Thank you for letting us know about your issue... the content doesn’t violate Twitter rules.”

This is unacceptable. Threats of rape are used intentionally to terrorize women into submission and silence. Twitter bullies use rape threats because they know it instills a level of fear in women that can only rival the threat of murder. We cannot as a global society accept this kind of behavior.

Twitter has block and mute features, but they’re not enough. They don't stop the threats, and they do nothing to stop Twitter from being a platform that fosters violence against women. We know that there are hundreds of thousands of users who have made these threats. I'm all for free speech, but threatening rape and the brutal violation of another's body is NOT something we should protect.

Please stand with me and urge Twitter to begin a large scale shutdown of accounts that tweet rape threats. It’s time for Twitter to send the message to their users that the platform will not be used to promote threats of rape. It’s time for Twitter to listen and care about the requests of their female user base. NO ONE “needs to be raped...”

Thank you to Chinmayi Sripada, whose petition in India inspired me to stand with her in solidarity and start the same petition in the United States. Join us and this global movement for this important change now.