Harassed For Being A Feminist: Students speak out after Men’s Day abusive messages



York staff and students have spoken out after receiving hate and abuse online in connection with their involvement with International Men’s Day (IMD).

Messages received have included homophobic and misogynistic slurs, and have come from a wide range of people, from across the world.

YUSU Sabbatical Officer Scott Dawson has advised anyone who has been targeted to get in touch with support groups including the University Open Door Team.
Controversial journalist Milo Yiannopoulos posted on Twitter about the cancellation of IMD early last week.

He went on to mention specific students, shared a picture of another student, the YUSU LGBTQ Officer Jack Chadwick, making reference to his sexuality and posted conversations from the FemSoc page sometimes without blurring names of the commenters.

This led to a deluge of tweets, Facebook comments and private messages being directed at the students featured, many containing homophobic, misogynistic and often personally insulting content.

Jack Chadwick received a number of offensive messages to his personal Facebook account.

One of the messages sent read: “Someones gona sort u the f*ck out f*g. The way of the world.”

Jack Chadwick said: “Most of the comments were pretty pathetic, especially the ones directed to my personal accounts.

“These private ones were a lot fouler. I also noticed that all of the slurs I received related to the fact that my profile picture shows me in drag.

“The harassment has been a source of stress and frustration for myself and the others who’ve been on the receiving end.

“It’s put a massive strain on the work we’re all doing to organise Sexpose this week, and I know that it’s disrupted a lot of our coursework as well.

“I’ve personally left York for a few days to get away from it all.”

Chadwick, the YUSU LGBTQ Officer, added: “There are serious problems for men related to gender, most obvious in the mental health crisis.

“But these issues are just facets of one system, and on the whole women bear the brunt of the problems gender roles creates.

“IMD also isn’t a good platform for dealing with any issues because of the event’s associations with misogynists and the separation it seeks from feminism.”

There have also been reports of threats being sent to personal accounts on Facebook and e-mail to both students and members of staff who signed the open letter.

This led to the FemSoc group on Facebook being deactivated, with many students changing their Facebook names in order to protect themselves, leaving many scared to speak out.

One member of staff who wished to remain anonymous told Vision: “So far I’ve been lucky enough to only receive a couple of hits to my academia.edu page, whereas others who have a more public
profile have been targeted by MRAs with an anti-feminist agenda and little genuine concern over mental health issues.”

When YUSU LGBTQ Officer and signatory of the open letter, Evie Paffard, was a guest on URY there was outcry as to how she was treated by the interviewer, with people saying he was aggressive and accusatory towards her.

URY issued an apology publicly and to Evie personally.

Peter Rogers, the station manager of URY told York Vision that “the actions of the interviewer did not reflect the journalistic standards we expect from our members.”

YUSU Community and Well-being Officer Scott Dawson said: “Any students who have been impacted by any events brought up from IMD or anything related to it are being advised by myself and YUSU to get in touch with the University Open Door Team, their College Teams, our YUSU Advice Support Centre and Nightline.

“Those who have got in touch with myself or other members of YUSU have been signposted onward to one of these groups with the utmost urgency to ensure the wellbeing of our students.”

17 thoughts on “Harassed For Being A Feminist: Students speak out after Men’s Day abusive messages

  1. When a person’s death is involved, people get overworked. Immaturity gets met with anger. When African American’s deaths were ignored, we had no choice but to snap the privileged out of complacency. Chadwick is a member of an organization that callously and intentionally ignores the mental health of students to further a political agenda. As unfortunate as the anger is, he made some horrific decisions, now he has to live with them.

  2. Yes, the open letter was right and the university screwed up big time. However I did not see a recommendation/suggestion of how to alter the day to make it more suited to men’s mental health. It just was a full on onslaught of how it shouldn’t be run.
    In order for something to be altered for a better purpose, it needs to actually happen.
    I am in no way condoning the disgusting abuse that individuals received, but this is just an addition of people’s dissatisfaction of how things are run at this university. This ranges from YUSU to Femsoc. There evidently needs to be something shaken up. Perhaps YUSU would like to review what some of its committee members said last April/May on the Femsoc page. Yes, they were aggravated by anti-feminists but nevertheless they are individuals who represent the student community and should have acted in a more professional manner. They are allowed to have their personal opinion but preferably keep the ones that devalue a gender or ethnicities’ problems privately and away from their role as someone who is meant to strive for equality. I for one have had enough of this select bunch of chums. If it weren’t for the Academic Officer (who has actually done things such as increasing the number of study spaces and computing resources), I’d push for a vote of no confidence on the whole student union.

    In regards to the open letter (“It does not, however, seek a dialogue on such issues with women’s equality campaigns or initiatives.”) I look forward to a smidgen of focus on men campaigns during Femfest 2016, something Femfest 2015 failed to do so during the week of events it ran.
    Perhaps even Femsoc can run a day for raising awareness in regards to men’s MH. I mean feminism does push for equity for all genders, right? It’s a shame that some of its members missed that particular memo.


    Now on another note, let’s push for better MH regardless of gender before the term finishes. Too many have left us this term (more than last year combined) and I don’t want to see another student from UOY following suit. If you look on Yikyak, there are now at least 2 or 3 posts in regards to suicide every day. Clearly people are struggling so buck up YUSU and the university itself, and actually do something.

  3. Even if women face the brunt of injustice as this article says. How does it hurt anyone to take some time off their victimization schedule to address men’s mental health issues when just recently someone committed suicide in York. Poorly handled and you reap what you sow. You trying to tell me that “feminist” do not resort to such tactics ever. Trust me, they do. Stop ignoring 44% of your student population just because they have a penis.

  4. Booo hoo hooo someone told an adult mean things. This is why every reasonable person sees feminism as incredibly patronizing and childish. Grow the fuck up… I’m sorry, I mean – man up.

  5. > “It’s put a massive strain on the work we’re all doing to organise Sexpose this week, and I know that it’s disrupted a lot of our coursework as well.”

    So you have enough time and resources to organise something like this:

    > “In an informal ‘Have I got News for You’ format, the three teams will be diving into issues from 50 shades of grey to STDs and sex myths. Various game show and quiz rounds will take place exploring all areas with no taboos or stigma. It should be a fantastic evening.”

    But you have no time to talk about men killing themselves, and you even find extra time to make sure nobody else can.

    Sickening. Evil.

    If modern feminists would just look in the mirror from time to time, the reasons for the growing backlash against them wouldn’t seem like such a mystery.

  6. Sorry but these people need to grow up and realise that they won’t get anywhere if they just try and shut down any kind of discussion. Chadwick in particular also needs to realise that if you are as vocal as he has been on controversial issues you are going to get people saying mean things about you online. Boo hoo. Chadwick has form for manipulating YUSU resources to pursue his own political agenda anyway and as an elected YUSU officer needs to realise people will have opposing views to him and you can’t just ban any kind of non-super left wing views.

    Should I have put a trigger warning before that?

  7. When you look at the frankly, pathetic attitudes of some of the York students versus the real world one can only muse. My grandfather was a navigator in Bomber Command during WW2 and flew his first mission of thirty when aged 19. His safe space was a glass cockpit and the only trigger warning he got was when a Messerschmitt 110 night fighter opened fire with real bullets on his Maryland Bomber (pre-Lancaster).

    They were fighting for very existence and looking at the effete demeanor of the whole sorry saga just makes me look down on contempt. What would have done in September 1939? Written a stiff letter to the women’s page in the Guardian? That would have stopped Hitler in his tracks cowering in front of the YUSU begging for forgiveness.

    Some people have been regretfully nasty to you using rude words. Not only grow up, but the odd Neanderthal does not invalidate the much needed and often erudite criticism of events at York.

    University students seem to be going through an extended childhood and seem ill equipped for the real world. Most of you will mature and in the 2025 election as you put your cross in the election for the Tory party or God forbid UKIP, you may think how ridiculous you were.

    in the meantime you can reflect on the awful publicity you have brought on York, review your narcissism you possess and I hope it will sober your mindset, allowing you to become a little more grow up.

  8. The same old same old tactic being used here.

    Something doesn’t sit well with a group of radical feminists.

    Said radical feminists are most prominent most in the humanities and have the most free time as a result.

    As a consequence of that they are over represented in the makeup of the various arms of the student media and have time to organise protests against the most menial of things.

    When criticism inevitably arrives a few lazily cherry picked examples of comments made by people who disagree with the RadFems are held up as being representative of everyone who disagrees with their ideology.

    The RadFem position is then presented as being right because of grossly exaggerated harassment claims and hysterical fear of nothing.

    It largely gets a free pass in the student media (and beyond) because the makeup of the media itself.

    It is one giant post rationalisation based on a generalisation.

  9. Just Block or report them, don’t complain about them. Every time someone says that they were harrased on twitter I just laugh because it is so pointless.

  10. Yet again, freedom of speech but only when we like what we hear. The University has set a terrible precedent with this.

  11. If this shrieking Mary can’t cope with nasty comments on the internet, he has no place being at a university. He is a useless person who will amount to nothing.

  12. “There are serious problems for men related to gender, most obvious in the mental health crisis. But these issues are just facets of one system, and on the whole women bear the brunt of the problems gender roles creates.”

    Even when men are the victims you somehow bring it back to women being oppressed…

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