Amanda Hess is used to bigotry online. She writes about sex which invites a lot of creepy people to comment on her articles.
Recently, Hess says an especially aggressive reader contacted her on Twitter with the username “headlessfemalepig.” According to Hess, this person wrote a series of disturbing (NSFW) tweets which she outlines in Pacific Magazine:
I see you are physically not very attractive. Figured…
…You suck a lot of drunk and drug fucked guys cocks.
…I am 36 years old, I did 12 years for ‘manslaughter’, I killed a woman, like you, who decided to make fun of guys cocks.
…Happy to say we live in the same state. Im looking you up, and when I find you, im going to rape you and remove your head.
…You are going to die and I am the one who is going to kill you. I promise you this.
Hess says she went through a number of emotions after reading the series of tweets. First, she was “disoriented and terrified.” Then she felt embarrassed. Then angry.
She’s angry that women like her, who often hold very public positions online, are targeted and verbally abused frequently.
When Hess reported the account to the Palm Springs police, she says the officer didn’t know what Twitter was. The account that harassed Hess has since been removed on Twitter. Since there’s no place on the web where the tweets currently live, Hess says the cops are finding it difficult to help her.
“Without a proper investigation, I am incapable of knowing whether headlessfemalepig is a one-time offender or the serial stalker who has followed me for many years,” Hess writes. “Meanwhile, nothing’s stopping headlessfemalepig from continuing to tweet away under a new name.”
Hess says this isn’t the first time she’s received truly disturbing messages from people online. She also says she isn’t alone, and that a lot of women receive similarly sickening notes.
Hess says this is because women aren’t welcome online; she calls it the “next civil rights issue.”
“None of this makes me exceptional,” Hess writes. “It just makes me a woman with an Internet connection.”