“I wouldn’t f*** you,” one message begins. “I would f*** the s*** outcha. Erry day. Morning noon and night. Till ya black and blue. Then tell ya I lub ya.” NSFW? Try not safe, acceptable, or even believable, for life. And yet messages like these are just one of thousands that professional violinist Mia Matsumiya and newly minted Instagram celebrity has received over the last decade. And the worst part? She’s far from alone.
For the past decade, Matsumiya has been the recipient of a seemingly endless barrage of online harassment, clogging up her email, MySpace, and Facebook inboxes. She’s the daughter of a scientist, from whom she inherited a love for cryptozoology, or the study of “hidden” animals (a la Bigfoot). She tells 3News that she loves collecting teeth and that she has a “passion for the obscure — specifically transhumanism and nanotechnology.”
But despite all these fascinating interests — all these unique components of her identity, the last 10 years have created a different label that she now wears and posts about on Instagram: perv magnet. “I’ve archived 1,000-plus messages from creeps, weirdos, and fetishists over the past 10 years,” Matsumiya writes on her Instagram account. “I’ve decided to post them all.”
About a month ago, Matsumiya decided to leverage the 400 million strong audience of Instagram to her advantage and shed light on the very real abuse women (and some men, to be sure), suffer at the hands of the collective Anonymous on a daily basis. Soon, she’d developed a stunning following, and today, she boasts over 50,000 Instagram followers and trending status on Facebook.
“I thought for sure that the messages were going to stop at some point,” she told BuzzFeed. “But they’ve persisted to this day.”
If the content isn’t enough to turn stomachs, it’s the sheer volume that is truly breathtaking. Even spaced out over the course of a decade, the consistency with which Matsumiya received sexually explicit, racist, stalking messages is simply stunning. One of her harassers was even arrested for stalking another Asian woman, and as she told BuzzFeed, “When the police arrested him at the public library, he was found with a hard drive containing a bunch of pictures of me and hundreds of pages of stories he had written about stalking and raping me. It was really terrifying.”
And this terror is, for many women, a simple reality of existing online.
In creating the Instagram feed and releasing these messages, the musician said, she wanted to stress that neither she nor other women deserve to be treated this way on or offline. “I sincerely want the attention to be focused on the messages, and not myself,” she said. “I want these messages to demonstrate the crazy, awful, and unacceptable things women receive” every day. And if it’s going to take an Instagram feed to do that, then so be it.