The online harassment of women is unacceptable and it must be condemned

The online harassment of women is unacceptable and it must be condemned July 27, 2016

Jessica Valenti, award winning feminist author, had to step away from social media because the constant abuse she received. When someone threatened to rape her 5 year old daughter, that was understandably too much for her. I’m a big fan of Valenti and her writing had a huge impact on me when I was started learning about feminism. Now, I can no longer keep up with her work on Twitter along with the thousands of other followers she had.

Sadly, Jessica Valenti is just one example. Women have to deal with this bullshit all the time. It’s never ending and you don’t have to be a celebrity to experience it. Just existing on the Internet as a woman will likely make you experience some form of harassment and is becoming an established norm. This needs to stop.

Of course all harassment is bad, whether it happens online or offline, or to men, women, or any other gender. But for this post, I’d like to specifically call out online harassment of women because it’s simply an epidemic. The Internet makes doing many things easier and that unfortunately includes harassment.

Because it’s largely men who are harassing people, I think it’s on other men to call them out on it. This is the crux of my post: if you see another man bothering a woman online, do not be silent. Use your voice for good. Call him out. When you remain silent, you are tacitly approving his behavior. 

If we have enough men regularly calling out this kind of behavior, I believe we should see a cultural shift. If men face consequences from doing this by their peers, they should stop. Of course this won’t be the entire solution. If many men are still holding some misogynist ideas in their head, they may lash out at women, especially when they are talking about feminism. However, having more people call out their behavior is the least we can do and everyone (especially men) should be doing it.

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