Politics

This Labour MP Says She Won’t Be Bullied Into Silence By Rape Threats

Jess Phillips spoke to BuzzFeed News about the online abuse she’s suffered after refusing a debate on International Men’s Day.

Labour MP Jess Phillips has been threatened online with rape and murder after refusing a Tory MP’s demand for a debate on International Men’s Day.

parliament.uk

BuzzFeed News revealed how Philip Davies had argued that it wasn’t fair that MPs held a Commons debate on International Women’s Day every year and there was no equivalent for men.

His call was rejected on Tuesday by the backbench business committee. Phillips, the only female member, told Davies: “When I’ve got parity, when women in these buildings have parity, you can have your debate.”

Suddenly Phillips was swamped with tweets like this.

She also pointed out this graphic rape and murder threat.

Remember my little boys imagine when they Google their mom this is what they see!

— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips)

Phillips has two sons, one aged 10 and one who turns 7 on Friday. Here they are meeting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last week.

A huge thanks to @jeremycorbyn for helping my kids today with their school newspaper story.

— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips)

Today my son is 7. I'm glad he is not old enough to go on internet and find all the people threatening to rape me.

— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips)

Phillips, who became an MP in May, told BuzzFeed News: “Funnily enough in life, as a rule, I never expect to be threatened with rape or murder.

“Maybe if I was walking around on the streets of 1980s Colombia I might expect it, but it’s not a normal expectation I have. If people think that because I stood for election to try and improve Birmingham Yardley that I should expect it, well, nobody mentioned that to me before.”

She said the internet was “at times so painfully anonymous”.

“It’s just a constant barrage of people thinking that I have no life, that I’m not a human,” she said. “People can think that I’m not a human and they can say anything to me. People saying that I want men to die, people with no concept with what’s happened to me in my own life, is horrific.”

Phillips blamed “men’s rights activists” for the online abuse.

“Men’s right’s activists are a tiny minority of people – 99% of men are perfectly reasonable,” she said. “But men’s rights activists are really, really noisy.

“It bothers me that people think I don’t care about male suicide. Of course I care about suicide and clearly I say on the video I do care about the issues. But if they have “anti-feminist” in their [Twitter] bio that doesn’t bother me, I just think ‘fuck off you twat’.”

She’s reported the worst abusers to the police and to Twitter – and says she will not be bullied into silence.

“It makes me want to say no to appearing on the TV,” she said, “because I want it to go away, I want it to stop, but they win then, don’t they? People who threaten me win if I keep quiet.”

No internet today. Being told that "I asked for it" regarding threats to rape me is not fun. Its not 1st time in my life I've heard it.

— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips)

Tory and Labour MPs have rallied around her.

@jessphillips Appalling. Hope you have reported to both Twitter and the police

— Gavin Barwell MP (@GavinBarwellMP)

@jessphillips that is disgusting, love to you and your family #unacceptable #strongwomenrock

— Melanie Onn MP (@OnnMel)

Sending you our love @jessphillips. Love ALWAYS trumps hate Jess, always xx

— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis)

There’s even a hashtag #IStandWithJessPhillips.

Vile threats against one of best MPs. Abuse& threats poison the internet. We can't let them. #IStandWithJessPhillips https://t.co/7BQKHHOa0m

— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP)

And she’s proving quite an inspiration to women out there.

@jessphillips is rapidly climbing my 'badass women who make me want to go into politics' list.

— Peaches Rockhard (@ejerram)

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.
 
 
Now Buzzing