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Inside the Dark World of Online Harassment Against Women

Submitted by Tyee Staff, Yesterday

Jody Paterson, a B.C. writer and the first female managing editor at Victoria’s Times Colonist, recently shared in the Tyee the hate she received when she first wrote columns.

It caught me “completely unaware,” she wrote. “Sometimes they insulted me for whatever race they thought I was – which was never the right one – or for my body type, my clothes, my supposed naiveté.”

Paterson’s piece comes on the heels of Leslie Jones’ recent departure from Twitter. Jones is an actress who stars in the recent Ghostbusters remake, and was the target of racist, hateful tweets.

Jones’ experience is by no means isolated. The Internet has proven to be a dangerous place for women who became publically known as a result of their work or opinions.

This episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes a look at the dark world of online harassment towards women, a world with rape threats, death threats, and revenge porn – when intimate photos by ex-romantic partners are shared online, often with details like names and addresses.

Maryland English professor Annmarie Chiarini was a victim of revenge porn who attempted suicide. You can read her Guardian op-ed here. She encourages victims of harassment not to stay silent: “Since I don’t have that peace, I still face some of the fears I did the day I first brought my case to law enforcement, but I have embraced my role as the voice for those who have not yet found their voices. And I will speak up.”


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