Personal reflections from a woman in the extremist underground

I started binge drinking shortly after his death as an escape. I was still deep into the heavy metal scene, however I didn’t feel it was enough to fill the void of loosing someone that close to me; I felt I needed something more.

My entry into the movement started similarly to any of the men’s stories. I met the individual who recruited me into the extremist underground on an online platform dedicated to death metal music fans. I received a message one day from an unfamiliar profile asking me “I was wondering if you are NS or just listen to NSBM?”. I responded, not wanting to sound stupid and said “I’m not NS, just listen to NSBM”. I didn’t know what he was talking about, so assumed NSBM was just a sub-genre of black metal.

I struck up a conversation with this person and gave him a list of all the black metal bands I liked. He later asked me what my heritage was and I told him what I knew of at the time; English, Irish and Italian. I withheld the fact that I didn’t know anything about one of my grandparents. He said “that’s a fine European background… I hope you’re northern Italian by the way, as I do not consider southern Italians to be pure enough”. I said nothing in response to that, wondering why this guy was so interested in my heritage. I later received more friend requests on facebook from friends of his, asking me the same questions. Still they seemed friendly enough to me and I never really had people take such an interest in getting to know me before this, despite what they were asking.

Our online interactions soon turned into in person meetings. In an effort to demonstrate this white genocide notion, he took me through the more diverse neighbourhoods of Toronto. It was easy for him to tell me that the white race was going extinct while walking through one of these places.

The fear mongering became a little more gender specific within a short amount of time. It’s very common for female members to be exposed to fear based tactics that involve threats of sexual assault. I often heard “immigrants and minorities are out to steal our women and they want to get in your pants. You don’t actually matter to them, they’re trying to groom you”. This essentially sent me the message that I needed this group for protection.

Every time I heard this, it brought me back to this same place of raw fear from a traumatic encounter I once had where someone tried to sexually assault me. I defended myself, however, I still walked around with paralyzing fear that it could happen again. The individual was white, but that didn’t make a difference to me as he was not a member of the group, hence I felt that this close knit circle was the only thing I could trust.

I would go on to adhere to this hateful rhetoric, constantly replaying all my negative life experiences thus far and relating it to the propaganda I was teaching myself. The first gang I was affiliated with had very loose expectations when it came to gender roles; they encouraged females to be just as violent as the males. I was dating another member within this group and naively moved in with him after only two weeks of dating. Neither of us had a permanent residence; he had no contact with his family and at this point it was the same story for me. I learned within a short amount of time that since he was on a power struggle and not getting a sense of dominance over the rest of society, that his anger would be directed towards me. I experienced verbal threats, yelling and intimidation. Our relationship ended within a matter of months after I packed up all my belongings and left for a youth shelter.

Fast forwarding a few months down the road, I met a much larger far- right group. I was invited to a white power concert they hosted and didn’t need to pay for my own beer the entire night. I had guys offering to buy me alcohol every which way I turned. I made it clear that I had absolutely no intention of sleeping with anyone that night, to which many of them said “a good decent woman, I like that”. I enjoyed all the praise I was receiving from them as it was totally different from the shaming I experienced in my youth. I got into the mosh pits at their shows and I was praised for this at first; Part of me knew I was sending signals to them that I was committed to this cause.

As time went on, I found someone I liked within this new group. He was the drummer for one of the bands and we bonded over our shared hatred of society and love of music.

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