Women speak out about online abuse
Posted on November 7, 2011
I was one of those who contributed to the New Statesman piece last week about the abuse women writers and bloggers are subjected to online, and I’m really pleased to see how that piece and others have helped kick start a wider debate on the subject.
Unfortunately though, this isn’t the first time this debate has been had: and that’s because rape threats and other threats of violence towards women who write online are not new phenomena. Many of you will have been around long enough to remember the attacks on Kathy Sierra for instance, as well as being fully aware of some of the concerted campaigns against radical feminist bloggers, including Julie Bindel who for some inexplicable reason has been completely ignored in this latest round of discussions.
Online abuse is a subject Jessica Valenti has written eloquently about in the past, and indeed, one of my own earlier pieces for Comment is Free way back in 2007 – Speaking truth to power – was about the abuse women receive when they venture online. I asked then: “Is it really any wonder that women are so reluctant to contribute, when all we get for our pains are campaigns of harassment and intimidation?”
Sadly that’s a question that’s still being asked today.
But let’s be optimistic, maybe this time around someone will actually come up with some workable solutions, and this sudden interest in and concern about online misogyny won’t turn out to be a flash in the pan.
But anyway, without any further ado, here’s a collection of pieces on the subject from across the web, many of them personal testimonies of the abuse individual bloggers have experienced. Please add any you think I might have missed in the comments: