Anti-Social Media – The OverTake Article

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“Social media has been a powerful ally for women in the past month. The online outcry about sexual harassment shocked the world into seeing abuse towards women as distressingly commonplace. In this instance, Twitter served as an empowering space – it provided solidarity and an encouraging environment where women could break their silence. It can achieve a tremendous amount of good.

We must not forget, however, that social media is also a toxic enabler. The inequality and violence that women still face in our society is often replicated within these online communities. Charlie Brooker may have exaggerated the deadly power of Twitter in a horrifying episode of Black Mirror but the capability of social media to enable violence is a frighteningly real issue.”

…”By allowing online abuse to continue on this scale, we risk a generation of women who refuse to challenge the status quo in order to preserve their mental health. Criado Perez urges women subject to online abuse to try their best to keep going.

“These threats come from a place of fear. These men are scared of our voices. The only way to get over this is to keep speaking up until women speaking in the public sphere is so normal, it’s no longer seen as a threat.”

… “East London politician Seyi Akiwowo had a similar experience of unsolicited abuse in response to an online video of her speech at the European Parliament. She explains the emotional impact of the misogynistic and racial abuse.

“I was so overwhelmed by it all. Looking back, even though I went into fighter mode, wellbeing wise – I wasn’t okay. It was obvious that the harassment affected me which is surprising because I have always been a big believer in the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ This is so not true. Words hurt and hateful words lead to hateful action,” she says.

In 2011, Copenhagen student Emma Holten awoke to her private naked photos and personal information uploaded onto the internet for the world to see. The images were distributed across multiple websites and she received hundreds of sexually explicit threats. Holten tells The Overtake about her mental health following the distressing experience.”

Full Article on The Overtake

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