The Internet is a big place. Some women had to learn where it is safe to go

One-third of New Zealand women have been subjected to online abuse and harassment, with half of the victims fearing for their personal safety, according to a new Amnesty International survey.

The global Amnesty International poll looked at the experiences of 4000 women between the ages of 18 and 55 in New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and USA.

About a third of the New Zealand women surveyed said they had experienced online abuse and harassment. Of those women who experienced abuse, 75 percent said they had not been able to sleep well afterwards, while 49 percent feared for their physical safety and 32 percent feared for the physical safety of their families.

Amnesty NZ spokesperson Meg de Ronde said the survey results showed the internet could be a “frightening and toxic place for women”.

“It’s no secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this poll shows just how damaging the consequences of online abuse are for the women who are targeted.”

Those experiences did not end when women logged off, she said.

Some would say it was counterintuitive for a hard-hitting blog like this to become a safe place for women to participate.  Other major media sites continue to have problems.  As for Facebook and Twitter… literally, don’t go there.

The solution is the same online as it is in the real world:  don’t go to shady places, and don’t talk to shady people.   Find communities that suit your interests and your level of security.

And accept that the world is full of stupid young men, stupid old men, and lots of misogynistic foreigners who are mostly from non-Western countries that will treat you the way they believe you should be treated.  And most of those are online and can reach you if you make yourself visible.

In the end, if you can’t cope with a bit of drive-by abuse, you are probably not suited for a trip around the Internet and you better stick to a number of carefully moderated sites.

 

– RNZ

 


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