A gaming journalist fought back against teenage boys who were sending her online rape threats by going to their mothers.
Alanah Pearce, 21, is a media and communications student who reviews video games for Australian radio stations 4ZZZ and Triple J, as well as on television. Pearce also has her own YouTube channel and she believes it may have triggered the online abuse.
Pearce received rape threats to her Facebook account, reports The Daily Mail. The assumption that they were from middle-aged men was quickly debunked.
“A while ago, I realized that a lot of the people who send disgusting or overly sexual comments to me over the internet aren’t adult males,” said Pearce.
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Since the messages were sent via Facebook is was quite easy for Pearce to find out who they were coming from, and take action against them.
“It turns out that mostly they’re young boys and the problem is they don’t know any better, so responding to them rationally didn’t resolve the situation. And it got to the point where their comments were starting to make me feel really uncomfortable,” Pearce told The Guardian.
Pearce decided the best course of action was to contact the boys' mothers directly, “especially as most of them write to me through their personal Facebook pages. It’s shockingly easy to find out who their families are.”
Four mothers were contacted by Pierce, and one eventually responded.
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“Hi Anna. I don’t know you, but I was wondering if ——— is your son?” Pearce wrote.
“Yes he is why,” the woman responded.
“I have never spoken to him before, but he sent a concerning message to my public Facebook page today that I was wondering if you might be interested in discussing with him,” Pierce responded.
Pearce then included a copy of the Facebook message the teen wrote.
“i’ll rape u if i ever see u cunt,” the message read.
The mother responded: “IM SO SORRY.”
“She responded in almost exactly the way I wanted her to,” Pearce said. “The fact she called him a little shit I found funny as well because I thought that but I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Pearce shared a screen capture of the message between the mother and herself to Twitter as she thought many of her friends would find it amusing.
“I wasn’t going to post it on Twitter [either] but I was just so excited. And I thought some of my friends would find it amusing,” Pearce said.
More than 11,000 users retweeted her comment, and more than 20,000 favorited the tweet.
“It was just a way to try to reach a resolution, to productively teach young boys it’s not okay to be sexist to women, even if they’re on the internet,” Pearce said. “That they are real people and that there should be actual consequences for that.”
As for the future, Pearce maintains she will continue to fight back.
“I’ve had people asking me today why this boy has been sending me rape threats, and is there any context. I can only assume he’s seen a video of mine that he didn’t like, or that I’m a woman in games on the internet. It sounds illogical, but it happens to so many people,” Pearce said.
“Every time this happens to me, I will do this. I won’t necessarily post it on Twitter, but I will definitely continue doing it,” Pearce added.