Woman are Harassed more online – why this is a problem for all of us
Over the last number of years, there has been increasing calls for social media “giants” and platforms to do more and more about online abuse, which affects everyone worldwide – male and female – of every race, creed, and demographic. There have been continued and ever-increasing calls asking them to act immediately to address the issue of online abuse which research shows is skewed towards more women (and girls) being more harassed online than their male counterparts.
We need to be passionate and unrelenting to make sure that the online world is not only a safe one for everyone but, at the same time, a positive space where people of all ages are free to express themselves.
The fact that women are harassed more online than men is not an opinion, it is an indisputable fact, borne by a myriad of surveys worldwide. Online abuse affects a disproportionate number of women and girls for simple reasons – their vulnerability resulting in significantly more sexual harassment than men, etc. While abuse affects everyone, it is a particular phenomenon affecting women and girls of all ages, race, and creed, across the board. The worldwide evidence shows that, for example, the political arena is a particular example of this abusive behavior with the result being that many women decide ultimately not to stand for election or public office as the price of their “celebrity” and high profile is simply too high itself.
We know the impact of being sexually harassed online (both men and women) not only has a deep impact on those being targeted but can also allow a harmful, silencing culture to develop, where others are worried they could become future targets.
In Ireland and the UK, in particular, the crux of the issue centers around the “faceless trolls” who, more often than not, can have an anonymous identity. The solution is simple – ensure that the internet provider (Twitter, Facebook, whomever) should have their real name and address – rendering them not ultimately faceless. The fact that these people are completely anonymous has seriously exacerbated this situation – and all victims suffer enormously at the hands of these faceless abuses.
So, if and when anyone receives abusive posts, tweets or whatever and they try to get the bottom of who’s behind that abuse by reporting it to the police, the police then try and track down the people who are abusing them, but they find they can’t identify them because the internet provider doesn’t have their details filed in the first place.
The solution is simple: If Twitter, Facebook, and any online provider had the people’s real name and address, and that person was guilty of such abuse, the police in all jurisdictions would be able to trace them and crack down on this. Simply put, there would be clear consequences for this intolerable behavior which is causing misery to many people – men and women.
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