A mum was left “shaking” after receiving a torrent of abuse for defending the existence of Wigan Pride on social media.
Rachel Palmer, from Springfield, found herself in the firing line for lewd and sexually-motivated messages in the comments section of a Wigan Council social media post about the Pride event which took place last weekend.
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Most of the comments made towards the 35-year-old came from one man, who the Wigan Post has decided not to name.
Comments, which have since been deleted, included “you want to be dominated, don’t you?” and “you want me to show you a real man buttercup?” and were made in a long-running thread which included racist and homophobic comments made by others.
She said: “The council posted about Pride potentially being cancelled because of the poor weather, and there was a comment from [the man] saying ‘good, I hope it’s rained off’.
"He was then making all these comments that were awful, but not something I’d get myself wound up about. But it went on and on and on. But he was quite eloquent, I felt like that kind of person does influence people more, so I tried to counter that.”
She added: “I could feel myself getting madder and madder, so I said his fragile masculinity was showing, to which he replied ‘I need you to meet up with you and show you what a real man can do’.
“It was so vile, I replied telling him he made my skin crawl and his response was along the lines of ‘I’ve just been just looking through your pictures’.
“It stinks of rape culture,” Rachel said. “All this ‘I know what you want’ etc, nobody called him out on it.
“I have a 16-year-old daughter who is on social media, I don’t want her to stumble across that and think this is how society is.
“I didn’t want to give this man the pleasure of making me feel vulnerable, but I did. I was shaking, I felt mocked by all the people who had responded to his comments with likes and laughing emoji faces. I think that made him feel powerful, which made me feel horrific. I shouldn’t have to feel like that.”
A spokesman for Wigan Council said: “We do not and will not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour on or off our social media channels which is why we have developed strict user guidelines which sets out what is and isn’t acceptable. Wigan Pride celebrates equality and inclusion across our borough and although it is disappointing to see comments of this nature, they should not detract from what was a fantastic event.”
The man was also banned from their page, they said.