LIFESTYLE

Woman Receives Online Abuse For Saying She Doesn't Want To Have Children, But She's Fighting Back

26/11/2015 11:13 GMT | Updated 21/12/2015 11:59 GMT

When Holly Brockwell wrote about the fact that she doesn't want to have children, she knew her stance was controversial. But she never expected the sheer volume of backlash and abuse that would force her offline.

After 36 hours, she's back online and set on fighting the trolls for her right - for all women's rights - to express their opinions without fear.

The 29-year-old, who is founder of the women's tech and lifestyle site Gadgette, was commissioned by the BBC to write a piece about her - clearly divisive - stance on reproduction as part of their '100 Women 2015' series.

"As a woman, there are four little words I can say that invite more condescension than almost any others: 'I don't want children'," she wrote, before explaining that she's tired of having to explain her stance to friends and family.

"There's nothing about creating another human that appeals to me. That's an emotional thing, and translating it into rational reasons takes something away from its strength."

holly brockwell

Brockwell has decided that she wants to be sterilised, but has faced numerous obstacles in trying to secure the procedure.

"I don't need reversible contraception. There's a 10-minute keyhole operation that can solve this problem for good, and I can't believe that at the age of almost 30 in 2015, I'm still having to fight to get it.

"We can choose to get pregnant at 16, but not to decline motherhood at 29. It seems our decisions are only taken seriously when they align with tradition."

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Brockwell says the backlash started about 30 minutes after the post went live.

Before long she was getting messages to her personal email, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and even her LinkedIn and Instagram. She even received calls to her mobile.

Many criticisms she had heard before - that she'll change her mind and that she was selfish - but others took a more personal approach.

"People sought me out to say they were glad I haven't reproduced, that they're pleased there won't be any more people like me in the world. They cast aspersions on my mum and said I need psychological help," Brockwell told the BBC in a follow up report.

"One man said he wouldn't want to have sex with me (except he was far less polite about it). Some said the solution is for me to stay celibate which suggests they only ever have sex when they want babies, which is ludicrous."

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But while some reports have stated that Brockwell received violent threats and was sent a bodyguard by the BBC, she told HuffPost UK Lifestyle that neither of these claims are true.

"The bodyguard thing is a bit of a misquote. They had a security guard meet me at my car and walk me to the building. That wasn't at my request, I think they were just being cautious and kind. They hadn't received any threats or anything," she said.

"I felt like I had no choice but to deactivate my Twitter account because the messages coming in were really bringing me down," she tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle. "It feels like you're being absolutely bombarded. On Sunday night I was sitting at home by myself, crying, and I realised I just didn't need to see any more of it."

She said she only got the courage to reactivate her Twitter account after her mum said she "shouldn't let the trolls win".

"All the trolls want is to stop women like me from having a voice - we can't let them get away with that. It's so important that people who feel this way speak up - how else are we going to be taken seriously?

"If no one hears from people who've carefully considered their decision and know their own minds, and even more importantly, people who said they didn't want kids in their twenties and feel exactly the same way in their sixties, then they'll continue to make ignorant comments and refuse treatment.

"Since I've written about it, so many people have got in touch to say they're really glad someone's speaking out for them, that it's helped them. And that makes the trolling totally worth it."

Celebrities Who Have No Children