I am proud to be a woman, proud to have run for office and proud to share with The New York Times about that experience today. I am not proud, however, of the way that our nation responds to female and minority candidates.
Please read today’s article, watch the video, listen to these powerful women of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, identities, hear our messages, and stand up boldly for yourself, your people and those among us who are abused verbally and physically, threatened, trolled, bullied, targeted, persecuted, oppressed or worse. None of this is normal, no slur excusable, no attack acceptable — for any person of any background for any reason under any circumstance.
By Maggie Astor
Four days before the 2016 congressional primary in her Northern California district, Erin Schrode woke up to tens of thousands of messages. They were everywhere: in her email, on her cellphone, on her Facebook and her Twitter and her Instagram.
“All would laugh with glee as they gang raped her and then bashed her bagel eating brains in,” one said.
“It’d be amusing to see her take twenty or so for 8 or 10 hours,” another said, again suggesting gang-rape.
It has been two years since Ms. Schrode, now 27, lost her Democratic primary and moved on. But the abuse — a toxic sludge of online trolling steeped in misogyny and anti-Semitism that also included photoshopped images of her face stretched into a Nazi lampshade and references to “preheating the ovens” — never stopped.
“She needs to stop moving her hands around like a crackhead,” said one tweet this year. “Another feminazi’s plans foiled!” said another.
The 2018 election cycle has brought a surge of female candidates. A record number of women ran or are running for the Senate, the House and governorships, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Many more are running for state legislatures and local offices. And in the process, they are finding that harassment and threats, already common for women, can be amplified in political races — especially if the candidate is a member of a minority group.
Erin Schrode, 27, faced harassment during a congressional race in 2016. Threats continue to this day, she said. Credit...Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times
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