When Melbourne-based comedian Catherine Deveny shared her controversial opinions about ANZAC Day, she probably expected to start a debate. The result, however, has been far more disturbing.
On Monday and Tuesday, she published a series of tweets about the day she calls “Bogan Halloween”.
Why do people in the armed forces use the word ‘serve’ to describe their work despite it being no more dangerous or prone to upheaval than many other jobs? It’s just a job and work. Throw the term ‘serve’ in the bin. It’s part of the fetishisation of war and violence.
— Catherine Deveny (@CatherineDeveny) April 23, 2018
One of the thing that ANZAC day brings up is the hilarious notion that Australians have fought for our right to free speech. Australians do not have the right to free speech. Australians who have worked in the violence industry have fought wars to suck up to the US and British.
— Catherine Deveny (@CatherineDeveny) April 24, 2018Advertisement
ANZAC Day. It’s Bogan Halloween.
— Catherine Deveny (@CatherineDeveny) April 24, 2018
On Facebook, Deveny called ANZAC Day “f***ing disgusting,” and said it “should have gone in the bin decades ago”.
“As it gets closer my head feels tighter and tighter and I feel more and more nauseous. I blame the collective cognitive dissonance seeping in,” she continued.
“I abhor ANZAC Day and can’t wait til it’s over. I am so delighted to hear the chorus increasing every year saying ‘Anzac Day is bulls*** It’s a Trojan Horse for racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, violence, homophobia and discrimination.'”
Initially, people reacted with stories about their relatives who have fought to Australia, or what the idea of ANZAC Day means to them.
It’s many things to many people, including a day of solemn commemoration of the lives of 100,000 (mostly terribly young) dead Australians.
— David Edwards (@David_SES14) April 24, 2018
My Great Aunt, who was a military nurse, watched her fiancé get killed during WW2. Do you think either of them wanted to be there? I’m struggling to see the humour in your “comedy”
I despise war, but many had no choice #LestWeForget
— Kat (@Kat_Brighty) April 24, 2018
Then the tide turned.
She says she’s received threats of “rape”, and the vitriol being thrown at her on her own Facebook page isn’t much better.
“You are a f***ing oxygen thief woman… Go and take a walk off a cliff…” read one comment.
“Get back to the kitchen,” someone else posted.
“The only ‘f***ing disgusting’ thing about Anzac Day is that your father didn’t die in the war before your conception,” wrote another.
And it goes on and on.
LISTEN: Why women will be marching up the front of ANZAC Marches around Australia. Post continues below.
This isn’t about whether or not you agree with Deveny’s opinions.
It’s about a person, a woman, being able to share an opinion without receiving threats of violence.
Engage, disagree, argue. But why stoop to the level of abuse?
Deveny’s experience today is yet another addition to an all too common story: The cruel and disturbing backlash people, and especially women, receive for speaking online.
If you or someone close to you is experiencing online bullying, you can find help at ReachOut.com.