The day after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., I started a Facebook page aimed at uniting American mothers in a fight against gun violence. Married and living in suburban Indianapolis, I was a stay-at-home mom of five and not in any way political, aside from voting. But I'd seen the difference the women of MADD made around drunken driving. Why, I wondered, couldn't we do the same?
I was wholly unprepared for the blowback headed my way.
Within hours of speaking out about our nation's lax gun laws, I received my first threats of sexual violence and death. Over the next several months, my phone throbbed with angry texts and phone calls, often in the middle of the night. My fledgling Twitter feed -- which I didn't really know how to use yet -- was on fire. I started getting letters mailed to my home, complete with cut-outs from magazines to spell out threats to my life.
My email was hacked; my Facebook photos were downloaded and distributed publicly; my phone number and home address were shared online; my children's social media accounts were hacked and the names of their schools shared online.