"I'm having trouble looking at you while I'm saying these things."
By
Stephanie Marie Anderson

27 Apr 2016 - 7:25 PM  UPDATED 28 Apr 2016 - 8:23 AM

"I have to read all of them, right?" asks one man, pausing, before continuing reluctantly "...I hope you get raped again," reading a tweet sent to rape survivor and sportswriter Julie DiCaro.

A new video from podcast Just Not Sports highlights the level of abuse that women sportswriters receive online every day, and shows real men - IE, not Twitter trolls hiding behind egg pictures and fake names, reading a selection of awful, abusive tweets that DiCaro and fellow female sportswriter Sarah Spain receive regularly.

"I’ve legit got a joke with my friends that I need one of those ‘X days since I’ve received an online rape threat' calendars," DiCaro said to Jezebel about the alarming regularity of tweets like this.

The men in the video were not told about the nature of the tweets they would be reading, and it shows in their reactions as they become increasingly uncomfortable, unable to look the women in the eye as they read tweets like:

“This is why we don’t hire any females unless we need, uh... Unless we need our dicks sucked or our food cooked.”

“The guys in the video are just random guys who thought they were being recruited to do a Kimmel-esque ‘Mean Tweets’ reading with local reporters,” DiCaro told Jezebel.

“They had no idea what they were about to read. These are random tweets Sarah and I pulled from our mentions.”

The video begins fairly innocuously, with one guy reading: "I'd like to start a petition for a ban on all links to Julie DiCaro's Twitter feed," while DiCaro laughs.

"Sarah Spain sounds like a nagging wife on TV today," reads another, which promps Spain to quip that she's "not even married yet".

But the tweets escalates quickly, and the men struggle to read the tweets aloud, visibly shaken as they read things like "“Hopefully this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim. That would be classic," and "I hope your boyfriend beats you," reads one man, offering a quiet "I'm sorry" for the words he didn't write.

"I don't think I can even say that," says one man, staring uncomfortably at the screen in his hand.

The purpose of the confronting video is to raise awareness about the online abuse and harassment of women in sports, which DiCaro and Spain are tweeting about under the hashtag #MoreThanMean.

"I get told all the time that 'Twitter isn’t real life'," says DiCaro to Jezebel. "But it IS real life. It's MY life, specifically."

Noting that the men responsible for these tweets are "probably beyond help," she says that she hopes that "maybe the video will make a difference to those who are constantly telling women online to get a thicker skin, ignore the trolls, blah blah blah."

"It’s not just mean, it’s harassment," she concludes. "If it happened in real life people would be in jail for harassment and stalking.

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