I was a reluctant political activist. When I first joined Twitter (2011) I’d tweet about my favourite things, Leonard Cohen, kittens, and mute anything that made my heart flutter, in particular anything related to racism or injustice. I just didn’t have the stomach for it. I had recently suffered a miscarriage which was followed by a road traffic accident, leaving me with a slipped disc and a mental breakdown. I was possibly in the worst shape of my life, physically and mentally and so wasn’t exactly prepared for the violence of the coming years, and from the people I least expected it from.
The austerity riots radicalised me. It seemed fascism was upon us, although at that stage I was only one of a handful concerned by it. A 6 month custodial sentence for stealing a crate of water seemed dystopian to me but I wasn’t aware then of how much the Overton window had shifted over to the right.
In the early days white feminists adored me. Caroline Criado Perez personally invited me to join the Feminist Party. It seemed at the time feminism was peaking, we were all galvanised by trends such as #IDidNotReport and #KillAllMen, laying bear the truth about rape and how many of us were affected by it. However, a worrying theme was developing among radical feminists, something I personally identified as. They wanted to make a distinction between born females and everyone else. We were asked to complete a survey and the results were jarring, unfettered transphobia from many of them and silence from the rest. When we objected to it, they doubled down. In the minutes they had expressed a desire to recruit more woc and accountants, as if they were merely ticking boxes. Marina Strinkovsy attacked Sarah Jane for being cis and white, asking what her problem was as she obviously wasn’t personally affected, not realising that solidarity is key to a movement and you don’t have to be x to be concerned. Helen Lewis was also recruited to this party and had been silently stewing I guess, biding her time. Then we heard about a gang rape in India and I sent Lewis a piece I’d written after various mutuals had encouraged me to. She said that she’d commissioned an Indian writer to write about India’s problem. I responded that her position was racist in itself and gang rape is something that happens here too. She ignored me until I mistakenly (was it though? In retrospect?) accused Mary Beard of racism. Helen Lewis flew at me like an errant wasp. Upon realising my mistake (it was that racist historian David Starkey saying the whites have all turned black on Newsnight) I promptly apologised to Beard and she kindly accepted. She even paid my rent once, years later. But Helen Lewis wasn’t going to let it go. She threw me to her massive following and that is when it all began, when white knights galloped in to tell me that Helen Lewis was right and I should be grateful to be allowed to exist in this country at all. Not once did she or her group of mean girls (bar Sarah Ditum who did once express her horror at the ways I was being attacked) ever condemn the racism and threats to rape and kill me, which started with Elevatorgate.
Elevatorgate refers to an incident in which an atheist woman was cornered in an elevator by another atheist at a conference, where Richard Dawkins was also on the panel (do click on this link for an account of exactly what happened). He decided she was whining for no reason and listed all the ways she had it better than Muslim women, who were really oppressed.
“After multiple comments criticizing Dawkins, he explained that, in his view, Watson had not suffered any injury, comparing Watson’s experience with the annoyance one might feel while riding an elevator with someone chewing gum”
The athesists overlapped with gamergate, chan types who were most concered with women journalists ruining ethics in gaming journalism. Helen Lewis is one such writer. Her hate followers latched onto me instead. In a war between women, they choose their own, even if they can’t stand them otherwise.
I joined a group back then which included people like Martin Robbins (friends with Helen) and his sidekick Rhys Morgan. We discovered where Elevatorgate lived, what his name was, what kind of things he liked to sell. We could have ended it all there, with one visit, all of us, but Martin and Rhys wanted to play games and go undercover and so they kicked us out of the group when we rightfully labelled them a bunch of bellends.
Elevatorgate, gamergate, 4chan, 8chan, Kiwi Farms, lolcow, Baphomet, Encyclopaedia Dramatica, these are all the same people. They consist mostly of white men with the odd Indian and Jew, concerned first and foremost with protecing white supremacy, which is tied in with cis heteronormative values. The earliest wave attacked feminists online referring to us as feminazis and claiming we were the real threat to western civilisation. Some of them decided that wasn’t radical enough and birthed another chan. And this is what kept happening, each times they’d breach the increasingly lax rules, another more violent more extreme iteration was conceived. They are all complicit. Including West Midlands police who blocked me on social media when I asked why they weren’t taking seriously racialised threats to rape and mutilate me. Self identifying police officers mocked me for being a p*ki running to the white police for protection.
Up until this point however I was still relatively safe under my pseudonym (Sam Ambreen, a shortened version of my actual name). I had moved around so often in my life I wasn’t immediately visible on any public registers. They had tried to dox me, Vikram aka Elevatorcreep, various channers like Mark Sabine, a lecturer at Warwickshire university who absolutely bricked it when I very easily managed to track him down via his IP address (people try to credit me with this and I am so incredulous I cannot accept it. It was too easy) and had failed up until I was doxed by an abusive ex, who set up an account on Twitter parodying me, with my full name and other identifiable details when I had some of his publication’s work taken down for misappropriating my name and image. I had it taken down but not before Kiwi Farms had utilised it.
They doxed me. They doxed my family. They threatened to rape my baby nephews.
I won’t lie, I spiralled. I damn near killed myself in 2019 and they cheered it all on, Kiwi Farms.
I was driven off Twitter by Gnasher Jew who targeted me in the Labour antisemitism scam and used Kiwi Farms to dox me to their followers.
I spent the next couple of years away from social media working on myself. In that time I’ve come off my medication and learnt the skills I need to feel safe (ish) in public. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I had family, friends, even other victims of Kiwi Farms lift me up when I wasn’t able.
When this house of cards eventually falls, I will be here to provide all the receipts.