On one frightening occasion, Mrs. Patten said she was confronted by a person outside her house who was yelling at her as they cycled past.
“The people in my office get calls from minute to minute with people just shouting insults at them and calling us all sorts of names,” Ms. Patten said.
“There are people now knocking on our door and filming us while abusing the staff.”
The 2020-21 annual report from Victoria’s Department of Parliamentary Services noted that members had become “targets” for those who oppose lockdowns and COVID restrictions.
“This led to a 50 percent increase in security incidents in Victorian polling stations,” the report said.
“Protective security has seen a significant increase in activity, with members and staff often targeted by protest activity and serious security incidents that are growing significantly.”
A man was sentenced to three months in prison last November after making a video of Mrs Patten threatening to shave her head and pull her “naked up the street” to support COVID-19 laws .
The man described Mrs Patten as “sitting in bed” with Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, whom he called a “communist” and a “fucking dog”.
Overwhelmed by the escalating violent and sexist nature of the comment, Ms. Patten decided to take a break from social media earlier this month.
Ms Patten said the comments had become “so toxic” that her supporters could not defend her without being targeted themselves, creating a “calming effect”.
“She’s right up there with that Andrew’s maggot. She should have stayed in the brothel where she clearly belongs,” read a comment.
“Die Nazi outcasts,” sounded another.
“You do not deserve any recognition. Go to oblivion with you.”
Ms Patten said she manages comments and turns them off if the conversation becomes toxic.
She said she has quite “thick skin” and has been in politics for a long time, but the escalation of the abuse has reached new heights.
“I am concerned and my family is concerned that these threats are turning into actual violence and actual attacks,” she said.
“It’s not just people in my community who do not agree with me or are in favor of a different position.
“It’s people who are in coordinated organized campaigns who are being instructed in harassing and intimidating myself and my office.”
A question that is “over politics”
The suffering of misogyny that women face in public is not limited to one political party, according to Ms Patten.
Ms Patten said she has spoken to between 20 and 30 female politicians in the past week, who have thanked her for posting the video in which she called online abuse.
“Ministers down to the backers down to independents, we all get this kind of gendered attack,” she said.
Liberal MP Nicolle Flint made headlines in March when she called for women’s security to be ‘above politics’.
Mrs Flint is the only female Liberal MP to represent South Australia in the House of Commons and the first woman to represent Boothby.
She claimed she was persecuted and photographed by a man and had her office vandalized with graffiti, calling her a “prostitute” during the 2019 election campaign, an incident she described as “the scariest in her life”.
Ms. Flint also accused the GetUp activist group of aggressive “bird-dogging” campaign tactics, which refer to the act of intercepting candidates and filming them while asking them questions.
This is not the first time Mrs Flint has spoken out about sexism. Last July, she carried a garbage bag in a video posted on social media to shout “garbage views” she had received about her appearance, saying it was time for women to be judged on “what they stand for, not how they look “. “.
The role, race and gender play in online hatred
In 2018, Mehreen Faruqi became Australia’s first Muslim senator, but she said the abuse she has received every day since then was something she had not expected.
The senator from the Greens said she has been subjected to horrific assaults by people who believe she is not a “real Aussie” and does not “belong” in the country.
“These attacks on women are becoming much more toxic to colored women because we live our lives at the intersection of racism and sexism,” she told SBS News.
“And it is the combination of these two visceral forces that really multiplies the poison of hatred many times over.”
Source: Provided by Mehreen Faruqi
Ms Faruqi said responding to these comments instead of keeping quiet was “cathartic”, but the abuse worsened after she moved from the NSW Senate to the federal.
“We get the kind of messages that basically tell you that you have no right to be in politics in Australia,” she said.
“It’s basically not just about what I say, but … what my cultural background or my religion is.
“So it has the effect that you feel like you do not belong in a place that is basically your home.”
Ms Faruqi said the Green MP Jenny Leong and the Victorian senator for the Greens and Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe have also experienced similar racist backlash.
But she said it should not be up to colored women to speak out against the abuse they receive.
“It’s a very different story if you’re a straight white man in politics, or if you’re a brown, migrant Muslim woman. It’s chalk and cheese, ”she said.
“It is not just us who have to comment on it. It really is a responsibility of everyone who thinks it is unacceptable to comment on it. “
Ms Faruqi said the government needs to put in place a parliamentary code of conduct and a strong “anti-racism strategy” to tackle this issue at the societal level.
“For me… it’s about making life easier for others like me who might want to go on the same journey. It is about opening the door, which has been tightly closed, to people of color who want to be in politics or in decision-making, ”she said.
“So that’s what keeps me going and fighting back on these issues.”
“It doesn’t help when you’ve got someone who calls someone else a liar or a cheater or good for nothing,” she said.
“If you look at Denmark, New Zealand, you do not see that type of behavior in their parliaments or in their media.
“I believe that the media, politicians, public figures, must all take personal responsibility for this, and that we need to lead by example and try to act compassionately.”
If this story has brought anything to your attention, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Readers seeking mental health support can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyondblue.org.au. Embrace multicultural mental health supports people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.