Home / Spotlight / Was a Va. firefighter flustered by co-workers online before she killed herself?

Was a Va. firefighter flustered by co-workers online before she killed herself?

The trolls were horrible to her while she was alive. And they continued to be awful after her death.

Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, 31, killed herself in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, a state medical investigator concluded. But even after a hunt for her was over, her physique was identified and commemorative candles began to burn, a cyberbullies — who claimed they were her associate firefighters — kept boiling divided during Mittendorff online.

Petula is a columnist for The Washington Post’s internal organisation who writes about homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high propagandize choirs, a politics of parenting, jails, termination clinics, mayors, complicated families, frame clubs and gas prices, among other things. View Archive

If these trolls are indeed members of her firehouse family, afterwards Mittendorff becomes another instance of a new form of workplace harassment. Instead of function in a office, it happens publicly online.

There is an review during Mittendorff’s firehouse to find out who posted a infamous online attacks and either they played a purpose in her suicide.

“We during Fairfax Fire and Rescue are wakeful of a posts and are looking into a matter. we assure we that my dialect can not and will not endure bullying of any kind,” Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers wrote in a open matter Saturday. “We will entirely examine this matter and take any suitable actions needed.”

Mittendorff’s box offers a chilling window into a determined nuisance women confront on a daily basement online and during work. In fact, those dual forms of distortion seem to be merging.

It means passionate nuisance isn’t usually lone-wolf bosses pawing during a secretary or organisation adverse womanlike co-workers during a H2O cooler. It can occur from a home mechanism and fleece a woman’s repute and career.

“It seems to be a newer thing, doing this online,” pronounced Angela Hughes, a Baltimore County glow captain who is also trainer of a International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Medical Services. “Cyberbullying on social-media outlets is a new form of harassment.”

Her organisation gets visit requests for assistance from firefighters who trust they are being harassed, threatened or mistreated since of their gender. But recently, a organisation has seen some-more online bullying, including some Facebook pages that actively harass womanlike firefighters.

The problem, she said, is that a firehouse fosters a enlightenment of toughness, of not wanting help. And too often, nuisance goes on since it’s opposite a enlightenment to ask for help.

Online nuisance gets destined during public-facing women on amicable media and by online commenters all a time.

The women of WGN, a internal radio hire in Chicago, recently took on their abusers when they review some of a nastiest emails, tweets and Facebook posts — attacks on their weight, their voices, their faces.

“Keep shoving food down that pie-hole of yours,” morning anchor Robin Baumgarten said, quoting one message. “It shuts adult that irritating dickey braying sound we make when we talk.”

And we’ve seen it in Gamergate, where women in a video-game universe are ceaselessly bloody online. That liaison started with feminist video-game reviewer Anita Sarkeesian, who had to cancel a university vocalization rendezvous dual years ago since one of her many determined and coarse online harassers threatened a mass sharpened if she spoke. And recently it enclosed Zoe Quinn, a video-game developer who was dirty online with genocide threats and pale sum about her sex life by other gamers and an ex-boyfriend who didn’t like her game. From A to Z, they get hazed.

I know. we am on a receiving finish of a attack daily.

Here’s a gem we got during a week when we wrote about a area bone pith expostulate and Planned Parenthood:

“Hey Petula, we [profanity] nauseous [profanity],” he wrote in a Facebook message. “Too bad your mom did not have an abortion.”

I Googled him. He’s an comparison income taxation dilettante vital on Long Island who likes to post inspirational quotes and cinema of himself on his Facebook page.

He’s not a co-worker, usually a foul-mouthed jerk perplexing to disparage me for what we do for a living.

This code of workplace nuisance operates outward a universe of those surveys, workshops and seminars that association lawyers make everybody take, that do zero to revoke sexism, though usually exist to frustrate lawsuits in box a caveman trainer final sex for a promotion.

Even if a trolls ripping Mittendorff detached online didn’t work with her, those posts were adult there to contrition her for her career choice and slur her within her career.

This rebellious nonetheless concurrently really open passionate nuisance is apropos increasingly common. A Pew Research Center consult in 2014 found that 1 in 4 immature women has been stalked online — and about as many have been intimately tormented or physically threatened.

We know women still face on-the-job nuisance in male-dominated fields: a military, law enforcement, science, a tech sector. Even a women who work for the National Park Service have offering fear stories.

And it’s generally prevalent in firefighting, where we found box after box — in Rhode Island, Arizona, Utah, Florida — of women winning passionate nuisance cases opposite their departments in usually a past integrate of years.

In sovereign reports, congressional testimony, courtroom testimony, personal essays and grave complaints, we hear a same story. Women continue to be harassed, belittled, upheld over and manipulated by their masculine co-workers or bosses.

And those happened on a job.

What happens online?

Too often, women get told to usually “ignore those guys, they’re losers anyhow” or “it’s online, what do we care?” or to “shake it off.”

Nope. It matters, it hurts, it means something. And it has to stop.

I’d say, “Ask Nicole Mittendorff how this feels.” But we can’t.

Twitter: @petulad

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Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/was-a-va-firefighter-humiliated-by-co-workers-online-before-she-killed-herself/2016/04/25/c444e426-0af9-11e6-8ab8-9ad050f76d7d_story.html