Four prominent conservative women who support gun rights have been targeted with death threats, rape threats and threats to their children simply because they have championed the right to own a gun for self-defense.
Initially, Kimberly Corban, who was raped as a college sophomore in 2006, was praised because at the moment her rapist was found guilty, she released her name to the media so that other victims would gain the courage to come forward against their assailants. She told The Washington Free Beacon, “That's what my mission in life has been ever since then. So, when I would go and speak on campuses or to groups, I was well received. I didn't get the negative commentary or backlash. It was telling my story."
But that changed once Corban segued into arguing that women should carry firearms for their own self-defense. She said, "I've been speaking out about sexual assault and rape and victim trauma for 11 years now, and it really wasn't until I ‘came out' as being conservative or pro-gun that I started receiving any backlash. It's horrifying. It reinforces why I carry. Nothing about my message or my experience changed. All that changed was how other people were interpreting that."
Matters grew even more sinister after Corban was invited to ask a question of then-president Barack Obama in 2016 during a CNN townhall event. She asked him why he wanted to impede her right to defend herself and her children. She recalled:
After the townhall on CNN aired, I mean, I wasn't prepared for the outreach to me as a person so I didn't have my social media locked down nearly like I do now. I had people writing heinous things on a picture of my daughter with her first birthday cake. They're writing terrible things about how they hope she gets my gun and shoots me. I had people direct message me saying my rapist didn't finish the job, he should've just killed me. I had one guy actually look up where I work, find the address, and send me a postcard with disgusting words that didn't quite reach the legal definition for probable cause but I turned that over to the authorities.
One example of a Facebook message she received: “It's a f***ing shame you weren't killed when that scumbag raped you, you f***ing despicable, lying, lowlife, Right-Wing, Neo-Fascist C***!"
Nationally syndicated radio host and National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch has had her share of misery, too. The abuse has been so vitriolic that in October Loesch announced she was moving, partly because of threats made against her and her family. She said the media reaction to her move was overblown.
In October, a Twitter user named Lou Aguilar tweeted, "You truly are a soulless, self-righteous, self-serving bitch with sick gun fetish. Do us all a favor & blow your own brains out." One person targeting her discovered Loesch's cell phone number and home address. Loesch stated:
In terms of threats, violence, at least every week there's something and 99 percent of it I don't take seriously. Then when they get your cell phone number—that's different. I was public about that which maybe I shouldn't have been but I always think the best disinfectant is sunlight. Someone opened up an account on Twitter and their handle was my cell phone number. Then they were posting pictures of my house and saying the craziest, awful stuff.
Loesch said bluntly, "It's the violent left. It just never made sense to me to denounce violence, violently. To violently denounce violence. To show you're more peaceful using violence doesn't make sense."
Jenn Jacques, editor-at-large for BreachBangClear.com who has been recognized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation for her work promoting gun safety, was told by Twitter user John T. in September 2015, "Stick that gun in your c*** bi*** and pull the trigger.”
Gun writer Bob Owens, who worked with Jacques at BearingArms.com, committed suicide in May, triggering some gun-control activists to tell Jacques her to kill herself.
Stacy Washington, a nationally syndicated radio show host who had her column suspended by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after she wrote a column criticizing comparisons of the National Rifle Association and ISIS, got comments like this:"This bitch needs to get off the Internet, she's an embarrassment to black people. This sill coon lives in a pink and fluffy world where there is some sort of equality. I hope that the kkk lynches.”
Washington said, "I had this one guy who used to email me all the time and post on my YouTube videos. He once accused me of being married to a white man and he wanted to rape me and my daughters."
All four women said there had been threats against their children.
You kind of get numb to them a little bit until they bring in your kids. I would never say that about my worst enemy. The one that really hurts, that I get often, is “Well, someday you'll shoot one of your kids and then you'll see how wrong you are.” Or say, “Someday your kid will have an accident and shoot themselves. Then you'll know.” And it's like, “Are you kidding?' That's why I teach gun safety. That's why I am a huge advocate for the Eddie Eagle program."
I never have my location on. I only tweet that I've been somewhere after I leave. I'm very, very guarded, especially when my kids are there. I'm very hyper aware. Even when I take pictures of my kids at school, when I post them on social media I make sure there are no logos. When I post a picture of my car, I make sure my license plate isn't showing. You're constantly aware of, “Okay, what am I posting? How could this affect me? Could somebody trace me to where I'm at?”
Washington: "They go there because they know it really scares you. It keeps you up at night. The only time I really think hard about whether or not I'm doing the right thing about being out in the public with this stuff is when something comes through about the kids. … We have a safety code. If I yell a certain thing from anywhere in my house, my kids know to leave the building. They know, also, where to go in the house to lock themselves in to shelter in place. They're all aware of how to use firearms."
Loesch: "I don't want my life dictated by fear. I don't want to be afraid. I'm not afraid. I'm not going to run my life by being afraid of threats or anything like that. That's not how I'm going to operate, but you take precautions. You definitely do."
Corban: "The privacy settings on all of my social media had to be completely redone. I had to delete a lot of pictures that might have had any kind of information as to where I live or what my phone number might have been. ... It's not overreacting — it's reacting normally to a not-normal situation. … I have worked so hard, through coming back from an assault, through therapy, through trying to become the person I was before and a better and stronger version. I've worked so hard to not live in fear. I won't let these people intimidate me into living my life in fear once again."