Actress and Kentucky Wildcats superfan Ashley Judd said earlier this week that she will press charges against the people who send harrassing tweets her way.
The decision sparked the latest round of online abuse, with many on Twitter chiming in to say Judd just wants attention, that she needs to learn to ignore what is said online. They said that she deserved it this time, because she sent a tweet calling the Arkansas players "dirty" and was talking smack of her own.
Judd has now responded again, posting a blog entry on Mic.com early Thursday. She explained that she is a survivor of rape and sexual molestation, and had been looking into legal options before Sunday's situation erupted.
[DraftKings: Free $25,000 March Madness Fantasy Basketball Contest]
She then reposted examples of the worst tweets sent her way and explained how they fit tradition patterns of abuse.
The themes are predictable: I brought it on myself. I deserved it. I'm whiny. I'm no fun. I can't take a joke. There are more serious issues in the world. The Internet space isn't real, and doesn't deserve validity and attention as a place where people are abused and suffer. Grow thicker skin, sweetheart. I'm famous. It's part of my job description. 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?
She acknowledged that her first tweet may have been inappropriately worded, and said,
I deleted my original tweet after the game, before all hell broke loose, to make amends for any genuine offense I may have committed by describing play as 'dirty.' (Of course, other people, including my uncle who is a chaplain, also expressed fear that the athletes would be hurt badly. But my uncle wasn't told he was a smelly p---y. He wasn't spared because of his profession; being a male sports fan is his immunity from abuse.
She closed by saying she will be stepping out of this particular conversation, as it's time for her to concentrate on the tournament.
I've spent valuable March Madness time writing this. I have 6 versus 11 seed upsets to pick and opponents to scout. So for now, I am handing it back over to those of you who are unafraid to speak out against abuse like I have faced, and those of you who are righteous allies and intervening bystanders. You're on it.
Judd is a regular in the stands at Wildcats game, and will surely be there as Kentucky attempts to keep its perfect season going right to the championship.