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Physically attacked at an atheist event by a fellow ‘feminist’ atheist!

I always thought if I were ever to be attacked by someone I only knew from social media especially Facebook, it would be by a homophobe, biphobe, 385838_210204545725456_192116174200960_481213_799145023_ntransphobe or a religious fanatic who didn’t like my LGBT rights advocacy or anti-religion posts. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would experience a physical attack and verbal abuse at an atheist event from a female Facebook friend who identifies as a feminist and an atheist!

Until now, my casual encounters with people who only knew me from Facebook have been positive. From the ones I ran into in London tubes to the ones who excitedly introduced themselves as my fb friends at social events or gave me heartfelt hugs at London pride, it has been positive experience until now. Get ready to hear the full gist, don’t forget to get your popcorn!

The Atheist event 

I was invited to be a member of a panel discussion on Witchcraft belief: Murder and Misogyny in the 21st Century organised by London Black Atheists, I accepted and also promoted the event on my Facebook wall.

I arrived as the event was just about to start, and took a seat at the back of the room. Shortly after, I noticed someone was enthusiastically waving to me from the middle row, I waved back and after a quick look, I realised it was a Facebook friend.

How I knew the Facebook friend

I had not interacted with this particular Facebook friend for some time and this was a conscious decision on my part. It all began when I made a post in July 2013 and a lady commented on it showing her appreciation for the message in the post. She then informed me that she has sent me an fb friendship request and would appreciate if I accepted it. I told the lady that based on her positive comment, I was happy to accept her request.

Another lady, who happened to be a mutual friend of the one I just accepted as fb friend joined the conversation and said she had also sent me an fb request, however since I did not accept it, she has withdrawn her request. She further mentioned that unlike this other lady whose request I just accepted, she wasn’t into begging people to accept her requests. Since I had never had any interaction with her, I wondered why she felt slighted that I did not accept her FB friendship request, a request I had not even noticed amongst the bulk of pending requests. Nevertheless, the lady whom I just accepted as a fb friend chimed in that since they are friends, I should consider accepting her as a fb friend too. It struck me as odd that someone I didn’t know would hold a grudge just because I did not accept their fb request. However, when she told me she is a feminist, atheist and pro lgbt, I reconsidered and even proceeded to send her fb request to make up for not accepting her earlier request. There began a Facebook friendship that eventually made me the target of a physical attack and verbal abuse.

Didi rant 1 Didi rant 2Didi rant 3

Why I stopped interacting with her on Facebook

In spite of my enthusiasm at finding another Nigerian female atheist who identifies as feminist and also pro lgbt rights on Facebook, the joy was short-lived.  I began to notice that some of her status updates did not reflect feminism. For example, she was fond of demeaning other people especially women for the sole purpose of portraying herself as a somewhat superior, more intelligent person.

An example was a status update where she complained about her male co-worker whom she had an altercation with. She ended her tirade by 427386_342897325797977_266821243_nannouncing that she is better than the African village wife waiting for him at home for feeding money. I thought that was very ‘Unfeminist’.  Since her fight was with her male colleague, why drag the status of his wife into it? What has the status of the wife got to do with the altercation? Is the wife really a jobless African village woman waiting to be fed by her husband and even if she was, why assume superiority over an African village woman? Shouldn’t she understand that being a full time housewife itself is a job albeit unpaid? Such status updates reeks of classism and as a socialist feminist, I just knew she was not someone I can get on with. I never called her out on this since it was her Facebook wall, we were new fb friends and she is entitled to her opinion. Nevertheless, I took a mental note of this.

Another example that got me wondering about her character was a series of furious status updates where she vented about a fight she just had with her best friend whom she had travelled a bit of a distance to spend the weekend with. She claimed the white boyfriend of her black female friend made a racist remark during dinner, she got angry that her friend was willing to let the remark pass, so she left the dinner table to find a hotel to pass the night. What actually got me wondering was the malicious way she publicly humiliated her supposed ‘best friend’ online. She went as far as calling her a doormat who was willing to take insults just to be with a man. As her furious status updates clogged my newsfeed, I couldn’t help but wonder that since this person was her close friend whom she was willing to spend the weekend with, why not just take some time off to calm down instead of maligning her to virtual strangers on Facebook? Why demean your friend on social media just because you had an argument with her boyfriend? I really felt that was an ugly behaviour so I simply made a mental note to keep my interaction with her to the barest minimum possible.

Prepping for the attack

So when I saw her waving to me at the London Black Atheist event, I cautiously waved back. Then I thought, maybe my distance waving and smile 386365_209362965809614_192116174200960_479438_2024041673_nwas not as enthusiastic as hers which might cause her to feel slighted, so I decided to remedy this. Once a short break was announced, I walked over to her and offered a handshake which turned into a hug. She even admired my pendant and when she commented that it looked really nice, I smiled and said thanks. BTW, I am conscious of people whose first reaction at meeting you is to access what you are wearing; sometimes, it is a way of pegging people into a class.

She then tried to take a jab at me, asking “Are you still active on Facebook, I don’t see you there any more?” I smiled and told her that I am still active on Facebook and suggested that maybe her Facebook settings was acting up. Of course she knew I still actively post on Facebook, it was just her petty way of saying she thought I was dead, at least dead on Facebook. I have seen enough of her status posts to understand how her mind works, so I just smiled and moved away to chat with other people. From then on, I made it a point of duty to avoid direct interaction with her at the event.

The physical Attack and Verbal assault 

After the panel discussion, the event came to a close and people started mingling. A mutual friend wanted to pose for pictures with one of the speakers, so she requested that I help take the picture. As I was about to click the camera, my infamous Facebook friend suddenly came charging in and said she wanted to be in the picture.  I informed her that our mutual friend requested a personal picture with the speaker but assured her that once I take the picture, I would take the three of them together. She insisted that I take the picture of the three of them together now and not after. I said no, she got angry and became aggressive. So, I said NO, I am not taking this picture and turned my back to walk away.

She started screaming “ It is not your prerogative, it t is not your prerogative” I then turned around and attempted to explain why it was my prerogative to take or not take the picture especially since I was the one holding the camera. I still thought this was just a bad joke but she started screaming and calling me names. Suddenly she aggressively touched my forehead and forcefully pushed me, I was shocked at the attack and told her not to ever touch me again. She got very aggressive and people had to hold her and tried to calm her down.

I stepped back and just started laughing because really it was just a confirmation of her character which I had long deduced from her Facebook status updates. But what was even more surprising were the words coming from her. She kept screaming expletives at me:

“You are a stupid feminist”75920_314654258613817_1360316121_n

“You are an idiot”

“Who made you the voice of LGBTs?

“You are a low class illiterate”

“You are mentally sick”

You are fat, ugly and obese”

“You look like a whale”

I just wondered why her chosen expletives had nothing to do with the supposed reason she was angry which was basically me not taking a picture of her when she demanded it.

People were shocked at the drama unfolding, they tried to calm her down and eventually had to escort her out of the room screaming and kicking, four different times. Concerned people had to hold her to stop her from physically attacking me. I basically just made a show of laughing and running to the other side of the room every time she broke free and came charging into the room screaming my name and raining abuses at me. I retreated to the far end of the room to stay away from her because I detest violence and I won’t demean myself by engaging in physical violence just because someone provoked me.  Also, I did not want to further cause commotion.

However, when she could not physically reach me from across the room, she took a swipe at my books that were on display for sale on a nearby table. She started screaming

“You are just deceiving those Europeans with your stupid books”301702_283425581732682_243461405729100_642724_2128331610_n

“Why are you even selling books? 

Is that your ploy to make money, you idiot. Go and find better way to make money”

For a second, I wondered why she thought my book was aimed at deceiving Europeans. For FSM’s sake, the target audience of the book are Africans! Afterall the book is titled Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality is Not Un-African!” And do I now get chastised for daring to write, publish and sell an advocacy book? Of course people say some stupid things when angry and these words were that of a bitter, angry, vile woman. I guess she was just so blinded by hate she totally lost the plot.

I lost count of the number of times she called me a stupid feminist idiot. She was taken away but after a few minutes she would rush in again and charge at me. She started screaming that I have a mental problem. I calmly told her from across the room that “Using mental sickness as an abusive word is ableist. It is ableism. You are further stigmatising mental patients, I have explained this so many times on my Facebook dear, call me names if you must, but don’t be ableist”.

This only got her further enraged, she screamed “You are a fat, ugly, obese whale, you stupid feminist idiot”. In fact at that point, she was basically chanting “You are a fat, ugly obese whale!” I smiled and told her “That is fatphobia, babe.”

I knew my laughter was getting her angrier but hey, it was all I could do to keep my sanity in a situation where my safety was truly threatened.  When she couldn’t reach me, she started swatting at my books. As they took her away again, she screamed that she would give me her number and her card so I could sue her. I just laughed and said “Don’t flatter yourself babe, you aren’t worth it.”

Making sense of it all

I couldn’t help but think that if I had been so attacked by a man, I most probably would have physically retaliated, not that i am proud of this possibility but my defence mechanism would probably had kicked in reflexively. Maybe her being a fellow woman also contributed to my restraint. I surely wouldn’t like to provide a reference point for the “Women don’t get along” brigade.

Also, I think if it was a man that physically attacked me the way she did and used those expletives, the situation would have been more strictly handled than it was. People kept asking me if we had a previous disagreement. They just could not believe I was meeting her for the first time. I had no physical contact with her prior to the event and we had actually never exchanged angry words on Facebook which was the only place we ever interacted.

Why such anger at a virtual stranger?

I recognised that what happened was a case of pent-up anger by someone who obviously vehemently dislike me.386497_204804872932090_863996334_n

She does not like my brand of feminism, hence her constant shouts of “You stupid feminist idiot”.

She does not like the fact that I call out mutual friends on their ableism and fatphobia.

She thinks I am arrogant and obviously felt slighted because I ignored her on Facebook.

When people flare up over otherwise insignificant arguments and sometimes end up causing serious bodily harm, we wonder how such a trivial argument could lead to a major catastrophe which could sometimes be fatal.

In her case, she was so ready to harm me, she was that angry. She physically attacked me. Kept heaping insults at me and had to be escorted out four different times. I could not even leave the room until they made sure she has left the premises, and fearing that she might be waiting to attack on the street, I had to wait for the organisers to pack up and walk with me just to be safe.

All that drama just because I refused to take a photograph of her? Surely it wasn’t just about the photograph.

It was about her pent-up anger and perception of me.

To her, my refusal to take the picture reminded her of my ‘arrogance’ on Facebook.

To her, it was me arguing again and gaining the upper hand.

To her, it was me trying to call her out.

It was no longer just about my refusal to take the picture, it was a trigger that let lose so many pent up resentments. And, that could be dangerous. I had never felt so much hate directed at me from someone I was meeting for the first time. Her eyes were darting red hot flames of hatred.

This also highlights the importance of privacy and security online. After seeing the blazing hate in my attacker’s eyes, I really would be worried if someone like her knows where I live. Hate is ugly, hate is violent. Hate is irrational, hate has no ethics or decency. Hates consumes and like ignorance, it fuels violence.

Seriously, everyone it is just Facebook! If you don’t like someone, just delete them, block them. Life is too short to waste over people you hate so much. If you don’t like me, delete me, unfriend me or better still, block me. All that pent up hate is not good for anyone. I wished someone recorded the whole drama, maybe she would feel ashamed of her behaviour.  Like someone said, “She called you a low class illiterate, but in all, she shWalking the talk!owed herself to be the low class illiterate thug.” I couldn’t agree more.

Actually I pity her, it must be a living hell to be that insecure, jealous, bitter and angry. She epitomised my suspicion that people who are so eager to put others down are often a bunch of insecure people suffering from inferiority complex. A friend wondered aloud why she kept calling me ugly, “But you are not ugly”, she said.  I explained that even if i was, it wouldn’t matter, she sees only what she wants to see. She wanted to hurt me in every way possible and calling me ugly was her pathetic way of trying to hurt my feelings. For some people, looks and the cost of your clothes defines who you are. People who value looks and appearances above all else would be crushed if they were called ugly, especially in public. To them, “You are ugly” ranks at the very top of the insult ladder. Personally, I consider it a useless insult with no sting. But for someone who is all about appearances, it is the highest insult they can attack a woman with. It is their vengeful way of trying to break another woman’s confidence.

If only she knew that calling me fat, ugly, obese and a whale was the least way anyone could insult me. For goodness sake, I moonlight as a plus size model!  I have participated in plus size pageants and was the first runner up in Miss Figure 8 contest. I was never ashamed of my curves, if anything, I use every opportunity to flaunt my curves. So, calling me fat, ugly, obese was simply childish.

SDC11662 Yemisi327261_2383401826853_1304957345_32034509_452051772_o-1

Also, because I call people out on their fatpbobia does not mean I am obese. The fact that some people advocate for LGBT rights does not mean they are LGBT, just same way speaking against deforestation does not make me a tree!

I did wonder why she kept screaming “You low class illiterate”. Considering my degrees, economic background, social and political achievements, calling me “a low class illiterate” seems so way off mark. The only assumption I could make is that she probably thinks people who organise political protests on the streets and hold rallies to demand for their human rights are low-class illiterates. I guess to her, this qualifies me as a low-class illiterate, plus the fact that I don’t speak English through my nose! Oh, she did say I have a headache inducing, banshee screeching voice in the comments she left on my Facebook wall after attacking me.

didi rants

You have got to be the most uncouth, illiterate low class person I have met in a very long time. Look and learn how to be a part of a panel. Your screeching, angry voice gave everyone a headache, you were communicating with only one person- yourself, screeching like a banshee that even the dead would wake up to. Ugly inside and outside. Feminist indeed. If you’re a feminist, I’ll renounce my feminism. Now go and write a blog about me.”

“Oh and go and get a proper job. There’s a reason your books are not shifting.”

As expected, I got home to realise she had posted angry comments on my Facebook wall where she further called me ugly, made fun of my voice, told me I suck as a panel member and according to her, I couldn’t shift my book. I don’t know how she arrived at that last conclusion, because I am sure she does not have my book’s sales records.

Why I made this public

Well, I wanted to ignore her but I thought since I have mentioned positive encounters with Facebook friends whom I ran into in real life, I should also425432_265441616863221_126894987384552_609382_453469780_n mention this negative encounter.

If the attack was carried out by a religious fanatic, I would no doubt write a blogpost about it. So why not mention this encounter with a self-identified atheist and feminist?

It was a sad, negative experience and I wish to put it behind me, however I am now aware that I must protect myself from such encounters.

I have learnt once again not to welcome people into my space simply because of the tags they wear. I welcomed my attacker into my space simply based on her identity as an atheist, feminist and pro lgbt. This same person with all her tags, physically and verbally attacked me and posted hate comments on my wall. Character is what defines a person, not their beliefs or tags.

A friend at the event wondered if her erratic behaviour was down to some underlying health issues we are unaware of.  While this might be a possibility, the fact remains that people are capable of being vile and hateful without suffering from any mental health issues. She had it in for me, an opportunity came for her to lash out and she did. Hate is a dangerous trigger.

Also, she did request that I blog about it. So girl, here is your five minutes of fame, bask in the ignominy.

Final remarks to my attacker

Seriously babe, chill out, it is only Facebook.

And dear, you really have no inkling what feminism is about.

Your violent behaviour was despicable, it would be despicable anywhere but even more so at an atheist event.

You kept screaming that I was a low class illiterate but you must remember that:

YOU were the one that had to be restrained like a dog to prevent you from physically attacking me.

YOU were the one who kept calling another woman a “fat, ugly, obese, mentally ill, stupid feminist idiot”

YOU were the one who threw an unwarranted tantrum and perpetrated violence at a public event, not me.

Girl, you aren’t no feminist. I knew this just after a few interactions with you on Facebook. And your violent attacks aimed at me proved to everyone who witnessed your rant of shame that you are nothing but a low life thug.

You are one very ugly woman inside. Hate by its very nature is ugly and no amount of cosmetics can hide the ugliness that is Hate.

Hate leads to violence. Control that hate, violence does no one no good.

Hate is ugly. You don’t do yourself any favours by allowing hate to take over your whole being.

If you hate someone you only met on Facebook so much that you were willing to physically attack them, your real life must really suck.

BTW, I hope you won’t make it a habit to stalk me at atheists/humanists events.

156145_309054585840451_1059051947_n 383946_203577736388137_192116174200960_463961_1674859760_n

 

Comments

  1. hoary puccoon says

    How terrible for you! It’s sad that some people are attracted to social justice movements because it gives them an excuse to be angry, not because they really care about the social justice. (And, of course, they are the ones the opponents of social justice will quote endlessly.)

    As far as noticing people’s clothes, I felt guilty for an instant, and then I realized my interest in other people’s dress has nothing to do with class. It’s about people’s creativity. If you’re wearing the exact same dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore last week-- yawn, boring. Why should I ask anything? Your message is loud and clear.

    But if you’re wearing an unusual Nigerian pendant that might have cost just a few pennies,with, say, a Guatemalan jacket you found in a street market-- and they look great together-- I can’t wait to ask you about them! It’s all about your unique style, not what class you’re in (or, for a lot of people, pretending to be in.)

  2. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @F [i'm not here, i'm gone]- Thanks, it was an ordeal. Although I was not sure i wanted to address it publicly and a few friends did ask me to just ignore her and forget about it but the fact that so many things about it kept reminding me of tactics bullies use to silence people, convinced me I needed to talk about it. It is also a reminder that as activists, we need to be more careful when we post information online about events we are physically attending. It was an ordeal, I did not want to recognise it as such and just wanted to dismiss it as nothing serious but I had to recognise it for what it was and address it.

  3. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @hoary puccoon Thanks, no doubt some people see social justice as just an avenue to be angry and talk down at people, without taking the time to examine their own behaviour. Unfortunately, they become the reference points for people who hate social justice activists.

    Let me shed more light on the ‘pendant’ thing. I appreciate that there are people who would generally admire what one is wearing, not for the cost but for the creativity and beauty. However, I come from a society where appearance is considered everything. People understand that what you wear to social occasions could make or mar you. Fellow Nigerians would break their bank accounts and often borrow just to wear the most expensive things they can to social occasions. They know they will be judged based on the worth of their clothes, shoes, jewellery and handbags. And they know they will also be doing the judging. It is how it is.

    Families and friends would advise that one wear the most expensive things to social events just so you don’t end up as a laughing stock amongst backbiters. Just a few days ago, i was telling a fellow Nigerian friend that i plan to attend a social event which would bring me in contact with some of our Nigerian ‘friends’ whom we have not seen for some time and not particularly in good terms with, he immediately advised that I should make sure I was dressed to the nines so as not to give them something to hit me with behind my back. I appreciate his concern and what he said would be the same thing my mum would say, but as I told him, i intend to dress according to my mood and the British weather. And whatever i chose to wear won’t be determined by an attempt to come across as “I don arrive” (Nigerian slang for “I am now very rich, check me out!”).

    While i don’t mind appreciating creative, pretty and unusual things people wear regardless of its price tag, what gets on my nerves is when appearance is used as a sort of social control, making people feel insecure to further entrench classism. I already knew this lady was a classist based on her status updates and I truly felt uncomfortable when she was admiring my pendant, I would not be surprised if the close scrutiny she was paying it was to determine if it was a fake! Lol! :)

  4. hoary puccoon says

    Yemisi @4--

    I had no idea any Nigerians had that attitude toward clothes and appearance. The last time I went to a party I wore some earrings I had bought from guys from Niger (not Nigeria) who were making and selling them from a stand on the sidewalk. And I got a nice compliment on the earrings from my hostess. That’s the kind of emphasis on clothes I enjoy.

    I’m sure, from looking at the pictures you post, that whatever you wear to the upcoming party, you’ll look chic, anyway.

  5. Jackie says

    I’m so sorry that happened to you, Yemmi. That’s scary. What is with these people who are classist, ableist, fatphobic and violent thinking that they are progressive allies? They aren’t helping. They do not belong at events celebrating or educating about progressive causes.

    It’s true not everyone who supports LGBTQ folks are LGBTQ. Still, people assume it isn’t. There have been so many rumors and side eyes directed at my husband and I over the years because of that attitude.

  6. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Jackie -Thanks! It is quite worrying when people who we become friends with because they identify as progressives start spewing racist, sexist, fatphobic or ableist remarks. It is appalling when self-identified feminists engage in bodyshaming or rape apology.

    Some people just don’t get it that it is possible to be passionate about a social justice cause even when we are not directly affected. When i speak out for gay rights, i get the “you must be gay” or “your son must be gay” attack. When I speak out against body shaming and fatphobia, i get the “you are obese, fat and ugly” comments, when i speak out against Ableism especially invisible illnesses, it is assumed that I have a mental illness i am ashamed to admit to! If only people would care about the message as much as they care about the messenger!

  7. abear says

    Good to hear you weren’t hurt.
    It is all too common for women calling themselves feminists and social justice activists to engage in vicious, hateful behavior. If you need evidence, read some of the commenters on Pharyngula, they are a frightening bunch!

  8. Abbie says

    You’re right, lol, “you’re fat” or “ugly” is right up there with “that’s why you can’t get a man”, people think are insults projecting their own personal insecurities. Tells you a lot about a person too. Also, all this over a picture? Yeah, that was pent up rage over some slight -probably manufactured. Weird. Glad you fought back with intelligence, calling out ableism, fat shaming and everything else. Way to go! That’s maturity!

  9. says

    I’m trying to figure out the game theory here, but isn’t something like if you think you’re a social justice warrior and you’re attacking a woman you’ve got a 75% chance of being wrong to start with? ;)

  10. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @abear- Thanks, i wasn’t hurt and i did get some exercise sprinting across the room to avoid her fist. But that did not protect me from her malicious words. Plus, i did lose some hours of sleep writing about the ordeal so i could deal with it and move on.

    I will never understand women who identify as feminists but use every opportunity to attack fellow women by engaging in victim blaming, body shaming, rape apology etc. They are not only a “frightening bunch”, they are part of the problem and they constitute a stumbling block towards gender equality.

  11. watermeloneekwa says

    Reading this brings back memories, I hadn’t wanted to face in a long time. Things I buried in my past, but I needed to examine things from the perspective of another woman. And, you are right. There are so many people who sum you up by what you have on or what you look like. I h ad the same experience with a real “IDIOT” that I was dating who did the same thing to me, it was a guy I’d actually fallen in love with. He sold himself as some Army military hero and an all around nice guy.He was a very fake person, I came to find out. He’d been in the military for 20 years, a nd even though I”m not a stick, when I first got together with him, I never judged him on his large size. The things is he called me fat, even though I’d modeled in the past, and I wasn’t fat, I was a size 10. YEs he had a fat phobia, but the funniest part about that was that this dude was about 500 pounds! I’m not even exaggerating. Like I said, I never judged him on his weight, because I look a t people from the inside out. It is one thing to be fatphobic, but it’s another thing to be a FAT fatphobic. I looked at him and asked, ” How is it that YOU are a fat fatphobic? well that’s new?” So here I am a lot more in shape at a size 10 only 165 I work out every day and eat a lot better than this guy does, and this guy who is actually way bigger than I would be if I were man, and he was actually bigger than MOST men, had the audacity to call ME fat ? I was totally blown away? Shocked was more like it. And I mean he was literally close to 500 pounds I kid you not! He pretty much attacked me out of no where for no reason? Just s tarted irrationally calling me names? His behavior is irrational and uncalled for. I also noticed tha he liked to put people down, while pretending he is the salt of the earth, and such a nice guy.,yet his own life is a mess.. I found out later that he h ad several women pregnant and had child support out t he ying yang, A WIFE, yest a WIFE, that he claimed he was going through a divorce with and hadn’t seen her in years. HE was basically a broke, LOSER, who’d been busted down in rank in the Army. The funniest thing was, I’d done nothing to him. Unfortunately, the situation DID turn out for the worst.But I survived. I was devastated by how things turned out.

    As for being fat, I personally feel my Curves are beautiful, YOU are beautiful so there is nothing to waste your time with here. Everyone is built different and that brings to mind Jacky from 227 who was a bigger woman and waas very beautiful with a great body and curves all day. Not to mention talented. I have always admired curves and bigger women like Raquel Welsh, and Delta Burke. Some people just don’t get that? It’s ashamed that we live in a society that expects women to fit into what is seen on TV. I’m sorry you had to go through that, I also had met the guy who verbally attacked me on FACEBOOK too, and was in his life for a year, and all the sudden he just attacked me. I found out later on he was still married, no separation or divorce papers filed, and his wife and he were living together and she was pregnant, so it makes me wonder about this lady who attacked you? I think many times, it’s to make themselves feel better about their own jacked up attitude and they get off on putting people down because they are worse than insecure a nd really don’t have a true friend in the world, and they d on’t h ave real friends because of their negative outlook on life. She sounds just like the angry Army guy I fell in love with and yet again there are people who just get off on hurting others for no good reason?

  12. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Abbie- Thanks! Yeah, people tend to project their insecurities on others. I remember an occasion where I called out an fb friend on her post which reeks of fatphobia , I wrote a post about it titled:
    Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting
    On that friend’s wall, this my infamous attacker chimed in saying something i truly couldn’t make heads or tails of. She claimed my view was that of a feminist author who I have not even heard of, so I don’t even know if that was a good or bad compliment. However, she ended her comment by telling us all, or me in particular, that she was going jogging right now!

    What i found ridiculous was the fact that she specifically tagged me in that comment even though we had not been interacting on facebook for a while. She addressed her comment to me, tagged me to demand my attention, but I totally ignored her comment and never responded to the tag. I guess that must have contributed to her pent-up anger.

    Also, during the event shortly before she attacked me, some of the organisers were passing cakes and biscuits around, she remarked that eating the cake would make her feel guilty and that she has to go to the gym. If the remark was from someone i knew nothing about, it wouldn’t ring any warning bell, but knowing how fatphobic she is, I innocuously slipped out of hearing shot of her. Yes, people portray their insecurities on others and that is very pathetic.

  13. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Marcus Ranum- I wonder what the game theory is too or maybe there is no game theory? Maybe they truly think they are feminists or “social justice warriors”, which of course would mean they know next to nothing about feminism or the social justice cause they claim to be fighting for? Unfortunately, there are too many of this kind of people making noise on social media , derailing feminism and social justice activism.

  14. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @watermeloneekwa- I am so sorry to hear about your awful experience with someone you loved but who turned out to be a lying, cheating asshole. And the phrase “Fat Fatphobic”, very apt! In the case of this “fat fatphobic” army guy, i would say he comes across as a sexist asshole who expects women to look a certain stereotype way to qualify as ‘beautiful’ but can’t apply same standard to himself, because ‘hey, i am a man, i have a dick and that makes me superior’. He probably feels he does not have to work on himself, being a man is already a social privilege he enjoys and to him, that excuses his behaviour to you. It certainly seems like he loathes himself and he was portraying his self-hate on you. Glad that you survived that toxic situation especially since he was someone you loved.

    There are so many people who just enjoy hurting others. In the case of my attacker, there were information she posted on her Facebook status that i could have thrown at her in public, just to humiliate and hurt her, but that would have been demeaning, not to her but of me. Hurting people just for the pleasure of seeing them hurt says a lot about our character. It demeans us and makes us vindictive human beings. Unfortunately many take pleasure from deliberately hurting others. And my infamous Facebook friend who attacked me is an example of such pathetic people.
    Stay strong and thanks for the support.

  15. Meggamat says

    I agree, she was behaving abominably, but as you say, none of her insults meant anything. these idiots would call you a volcano if they thought it would have an effect. I hope your paths never cross again.

  16. Myra Greenwood says

    I have a funny hypothesis, when someone calls you a name they are actually talking about themselves.

  17. Anne Fenwick says

    Wow! Well, as you can imagine, I am completely shocked and horrified to hear of this. I never would have believed such as situation could develop so quickly. And over such an insignificant triggering event as a photograph? Just wow!

  18. schokogold says

    Well,after reading how you reacted to and managed your “attacker”,i am convinced that you are a great and matured mind.
    .I may not agree with all of your ‘advocacy’ though,but that does not take a thing out of your person. …Drive on….

  19. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    I started out with sympathy for you, but then I realized you were tossing gasoline on the flames of her public meltdown.

    I am now aware that I must protect myself from such encounters. Given your public profile, there WILL be a next time, maybe even a rematch. Perhaps it was because you were caught off guard, perhaps you and your friends never had any training in dealing with enraged, drunk and/or insane individuals, but you need to handle it better the next time.

    As the purportedly sane adult in the encounter, it’s up to you to defuse and control the situation. Quietly telling your friends “The sight of me seems to be setting her off. I’ll be back when she calms down or leaves.” should do it if you do it early.


    I basically just made a show of laughing and running to the other side of the room every time she broke free and came charging into the room screaming my name and raining abuses at me. I retreated to the far end of the room to stay away from her because I detest violence and I won’t demean myself by engaging in physical violence just because someone provoked me. Also, I did not want to further cause commotion.

    By your own admission, you were making a commotion, “making a show of running away and laughing”. That is how you escalate a confrontation with someone who is not in control of themselves … you taunt them. Stay in sight, laugh at them and evade them, gleefully shrieking “Nyah, nyah, can’t catch ME”.

    Rule One of disengaging from a conflict with an out of control individual is to DISENGAGE! Unless you have to protect someone else long enough for them to get out of danger, get out of sight. Leave the area calmly and inconspicuously. No flounce, no comment, just leave.

    If she had come charging back into the room the first time and not seen you, laughing at her and scurrying away, she might have calmed down a lot sooner.

    “She started screaming that I have a mental problem. I calmly told her from across the room” …. How loudly did you have to calmly speak for your voice to carry across the room? “This only got her further enraged, ” Of course it did.

    Rule Two for not escalating a conflict with an out of control person is “do not respond to verbal attacks.” If you are the target of someone’s rage, there is nothing you can say to defuse the situation because every word out of your mouth will be taken the way their rage filter sees it. Shut up, get out of the area and let others do their thing.

  20. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Meggamat- Thanks! I know her sole intention was to hurt and humiliate me in public with her words, unfortunately for her, her words couldn’t sting me., and she ended showing her true colours to the appalled audience. I do hope i never cross paths with her again, i certainly do not need such toxicity and negativity in my life.

  21. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Myra Greenwood- Thanks! Yes people do portray their self hate and insecurities on to others, and most times they aren’t even aware that they are doing so. When people attack me or call others names, it is most times borne out of fear, ignorance, envy and/or plain malice.

    Thanks, i truly felt brave fr not calling out the pigs on her. One other reason I did not call the pigs on her was because setting out to hurt another just for the pleasure of seeing them hurt would demean me. I cannot take pleasure in deliberately setting out to hurt another, i think such action is truly demeaning and barbaric.

    There were factual, non-made up information about her which she posted on her facebook wall that i could have thrown at her just to hurt and humiliate her, but if i had done so, i would have hated myself. in fact if i had, i would still be loathing myself right now because it would have been a set back for me in my human psychological evolution. I am glad that i truly have evolved beyond malicious acts. Her provocative attack tested my patience and i am happy i passed that test. :)

  22. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Anne Fenwick -- Yeah, just wow! Pent up anger and hate can be triggered by the most insignificant things, and this was a perfect example. I think it is better to talk things out and agree to disagree and even part ways than try to pent up our true feelings towards another. If we feel such strong hatred towards another, we shouldn’t even try to mask it with smiles because in the end, it will all come crashing down and someone might get hurt. And that was what happened in her case. Her true colour and feelings towards me came crashing through at the most insignificant trigger.

  23. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Tsu Dho Nimh-

    I started out with sympathy for you, but then I realized you were tossing gasoline on the flames of her public meltdown.

    I did not write this post because I wanted sympathy, i wrote it because I wanted to acknowledge the violence i faced, deal with it and move on. Also, in the post, there is a subheading titled “Why I made this public”, eliciting sympathy did not make the list.

    No, she was not having a public meltdown. She was in control of her senses. People are very much capable of violence, malice and hate while they are in control of all their senses. I am truly tired of people trying to excuse her behaviour away as someone who has underlying health issues or calling her mentally ill. Humans are capable of vindictive actions without suffering from any mental impairment. She was just a person who had it in for me and went for it in public for maximum effect.

    You advised:

    As the purportedly sane adult in the encounter, it’s up to you to defuse and control the situation. Quietly telling your friends “The sight of me seems to be setting her off. I’ll be back when she calms down or leaves.” should do it if you do it early.

    She was also a sane adult. We were all sane adults. Please stop trying to excuse her violent, malicious behaviour as the action of an insane person. To the best of my knowledge, she was not certified insane, if she was she wouldn’t be allowed out in public without at least supervision. If she was, she would be a threat not just to others but to herself as well. Her actions were that of a sane but vindictive, vengeful, violent and malicious person.

    Also, it is not my responsibility to take anger management classes when I am not the one with the anger issues. If the sight of me sets someone off, it is their burden to bear. It is not my responsibility to disappear or hide away just because someone can’t bear the sight of me.

    Also, as I said in the post, i could not even leave the room because every time they attempted to restrain and calm her down, she ended up coming back into the room, charging at me.
    It was not fun for me to have to run across the room to avoid her.
    It was not fun to have to wait for the organisers to make sure she was not only out of the building but also not within immediate visibility before i could leave.
    It was not fun seeing her swat at my books.
    It was not fun not being able to leave a room at my own time and leisure.
    It was not fun waiting for others to escort me to safety.
    All i could do was grin and bear it. Sometimes, we can’t physically walk away from a threatening situation even if that was what we wanted to do.

  24. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Tsu Dho Nimh- You wrote

    By your own admission, you were making a commotion, “making a show of running away and laughing”. That is how you escalate a confrontation with someone who is not in control of themselves … you taunt them. Stay in sight, laugh at them and evade them, gleefully shrieking “Nyah, nyah, can’t catch ME”.

    Once again, if someone considers my presence as taunting, it is their burden to bear, not mine. And yes, I was aware that my laughing in the face of her physical and verbal abuse was making her angrier as I said in the post

    I knew my laughter was getting her angrier but hey, it was all I could do to keep my sanity in a situation where my safety was truly threatened.

    I am not a robot that is immune to emotions. And I knew her intention was to hurt me, not because she was mentally ill, but because she was a vindictive adult woman who just wanted to cause me harm. The best way I could not let her bait me into a violent reaction was to laugh at her words. Her words lost any sting it could have had in the face of my laughter. Not many women would laugh at being called an ugly, obese, fat whale and stupid feminist idiot‘ in a room full of people. I would hardly consider my laughing at her words to be me “ gleefully shrieking “Nyah, nyah, can’t catch ME”.” NO, that was definitely not it.

    You advised:

    Rule One of disengaging from a conflict with an out of control individual is to DISENGAGE! Unless you have to protect someone else long enough for them to get out of danger, get out of sight. Leave the area calmly and inconspicuously. No flounce, no comment, just leave.

    Again, sometimes we are actually incapable of physically leaving a threatening situation.

    You wrote

    “If she had come charging back into the room the first time and not seen you, laughing at her and scurrying away, she might have calmed down a lot sooner.

    I reject this implied attempt to blame me for her continued violence just because I was within visibility of her or dismissing her words with my laughter. No, it was not a game of “hey, can’t catch me”, it was a violent attack where my safety was truly threatened. No, I was not having fun “laughing at her and scurrying away”, it was a traumatic experience for me. It is not everyday people physically attack and verbally assault me in a public event I was speaking at. So no, stop implying it was a fun affair because it wasn’t.

    You wrote

    “She started screaming that I have a mental problem. I calmly told her from across the room” …. How loudly did you have to calmly speak for your voice to carry across the room? “This only got her further enraged,” Of course it did.

    Actually, as a panel member, I spoke at the event to a room full of people without needing a microphone and so did a few other panel members. So yes, it is possible to calmly speak to someone across a room without having to scream at them.

    Of course many people get enraged when called out on their fatphobia, racism, sexism, victim blaming or rape apology. So, does that mean we should stop calling them out? No, I don’t think so.

  25. Miss E aka Ekuba says

    Wow what an asshole! Obviously, Ms ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ was incensed that you dared to refuse her command. & how utterly childish of her. I think that there are several people who call themselves ‘feminist’, ‘atheist’, ‘lgbt rights supporters’ etc. that do so just to make themselves feel good but don’t have the qualities one would expect of a ‘feminist’ ‘atheist’ etc. In her case, the mere fact that she looks down on other women & is willing to call them fat & ugly shows that she was never a feminist anyway. Besides, it seems that she doesn’t even believe in lgbt rights since she thinks that you are ‘deceiving Europeans’. I bet she’s one of these Africans that deep down believe that homosexuality is ‘un-African’ & so she thinks that all that you wrote (which is historically accurate) is false. Please block her & forget about her. What a loser.

  26. Miss E aka Ekuba says

    oops! please bleep out my 1st sentence, i realize it goes against the ‘no personal insults’ comment policy. sorry….

  27. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Miss E aka Ekuba- Thanks for your concern and support. Yes, so many people join the ‘progressive’ bandwagon just to feel ‘modern’ and portray a ‘civilised’ image to the world, but deep down they have no regards for the values of their progressive tags. The words that came out of her mouth and the abusive messages she left on my wall after attacking me, shows she does not even understand what feminist means. I can’t believe she still refers to herself as a feminist after her show of shame.

    She is already blocked. I came home after the attack and saw that she already left abusive messages on my facebook wall, and blocked herself. I double blocked her just to be sure she never came back to leave more abusive messages on my wall at her will.

    BTW, that first sentence in your comment is not a personal insult. In her case it is a statement of fact. She behaved like an asshole and she really is an asshole. So no editing needed. :)

  28. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Hello everyone, thanks again for your concern and support. I have been informed that the woman who physically and verbally attacked me has been looking up people who commented on my blogpost and Facebook note and sending them unsolicited emails. I didn’t know she was looking up people who commented on the blog and sending them emails. I know she was harassing a few people with unsolicited emails and at a point she even demanded that the post be taken down down. She has even taken to publicly posting abusive messages about those who advised her that maybe what she needs to do is to apologise for her public attack and verbal assault on me.

    I have not had any contact with her nor received any message from her until a few days ago when she made an attempt to comment on my blog. Her comment basically consisted of her claiming I exaggerated what happened and then she proceeded to further attack my book. In the comment, she claimed she got angry because she thought I was going to attack her, but in the emails she was sending people, she claimed I attacked her and that was why she got angry. Being a first commenter on my blog, her comment went into moderation, I simply made a screen shot of it before consigning it to the trash can.

    It is obvious she is losing it, and I do have proof in her own words that I never attacked her. I have a screen shot of her own words to that effect. Also, many at the event witnessed her attack on me, they were almost as shocked as I was when she attacked me.

    What I wrote is an exact narration of what happened at the event, and the abusive words she posted on my wall shortly after attacking me is a screen shot of her own abusive posts on my wall. There were witnesses who saw everything that went down at the event, including the organisers who tried many times to calm her down and tried to keep her away from further attacking me or vandalise my books. If she didn’t like seeing a public narration of her behaviour and abusive words, she should not have publicly attacked me or publicly haul abuses at me. She can’t run away from her public action, it is one she will have to live with.

    She is throwing tantrums and frantically looking up people’s contact addresses and sending them unsolicited emails and this erratic behaviour is definitely not portraying her as a stable person.

    Many have basically written her off as unstable and advised that I steer clear of her as one never know how violent she could become. However, I know people are capable of being malicious, vindictive and violent even when they have no mental health problem. I still think she is just hateful and vindictive.

    It seems her public actions and the abusive words she publicly posted on my Facebook page shortly after attacking me is coming back to bite her in the butts and she is desperately losing it.

    So if she contacts you, please feel free to ignore her or respond to her as you deem fit.

    I have chosen to ignore her and i moved on from the unfortunate episode immediately after writing about it, but it seems she is still consumed by it and totally consumed by the thought of me every waking minute of her life.

    I cannot help her but I surely will make sure the police gets involved if she ever attempts to physically attack me again.

    Hate is an emotional disease and I do wish her a quick recovery. :)

  29. Ms Woman says

    Some years ago, I happened to come across a showdown on fb involving this same person. The biliousness she possesses, Oh My Cod! Unbelievable, really! She was going from group to group stirring things up. I guess some people never grow! Shame.

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