Ashley Judd has further attacked the anonymous sports fans who sent her vile, hate-filled tweets after she posted support for her beloved University of Kentucky basketball team ahead of the college finals by writing a powerful essay for news website Mic.com.
Judd, who has threatened legal action against those behind the social media vitriol she received, admits she’s still coming to terms with the “volume of hatred that exploded at me”.
In her letter, the 46-year-old writes, “I routinely cope with tweets that sexualize, objectify, insult, degrade and even physically threaten me. I have already – recently, in fact – looked into what is legally actionable in light of such abuse, and have supplied Twitter with scores of reports about the horrifying content on its platform.
“But this particular tsunami of gender-based violence and misogyny flooding my Twitter feed was overwhelming.”
She adds, “What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet. Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood… The themes embedded in this particular incident reflect the universal ways we talk about girls and women.
“When they are violated, we ask, why was she wearing that? What was she doing in that neighborhood? What time was it? Had she been drinking?”
Judd reveals social media attacks on herself and other women are particularly tough for her to take as a victim of sexual violence.
She explains, “The summer of 1984 was tough for me. I experienced two rapes by an adult and systematic molestation from another adult, who also had another man in the room watching (I now understand this was to ensure he had a witness, in order to undermine me in the event I tried to report the incident).
“I have done purgative, cathartic work on those particular acts of violence. The nature of recovering from trauma is that it can be ongoing, with deeper levels of healing and freedom coming with indefatigable persistence to keep chipping away at it.”