Sexual Violence Won't Be Silenced
Sexual Violence Won't Be Silenced
After receiving a series of explicit rape and death threats on the social media platform Facebook, my friends and I reported the incident to the police. The police were unsure of procedure surrounding online harassment and offered little support to our case.
One in four young women have experienced online sexual harassment.
There are currently few education programs in place that enable law enforcement professionals to respond appropriately to online harassment and sexual abuse.
Please join us in calling on the Australian and NSW Parliaments to get up with the times and deal with online sexual violence!
To the Honourable President and Members of the Senate assembled, and to the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in Parliament assembled:
We, the undersigned, note that online sexual harassment, particularly online sexual harassment with the intention of actual bodily harm, is a large problem in today’s society and that victims are not properly supported by our legal system.
We urge you to ensure that appropriate laws exist, that police have proper training, and that appropriate resources are available and processes are in place so that people are safe from cyber harassment.
On Tuesday 25th of August 2015 my friend had a screenshot of her Tinder profile posted publically on a stranger’s Facebook profile. She was called a slut, told her behaviour was disgusting, and asked what her parents would think.
When we began to defend her, commenters began to threaten the said women’s safety and the safety of all women involved. We were told -
“Do me a favour go home and slap your mother obviously your father never did it enough”
“I’d rape you if you were better looking”
“If I could fuck your mother if I seen her”
“If anything you’ve proven the only good thing a woman’s mouth is good for is to get face fucked till she turns blue and then have a man hot load shot straight down it”
Two of the young women went to the police. The police had no idea how to handle the situation. They said that they were “not sure how to prosecute this” and that “these cases are hard”.
66% of online harassment occurs on social networking websites, to both men and women.
70% of 18-24 year olds have experienced online harassment.
26% of 18-24 year old women have experienced online sexual harassment.
22% reported the offense to the online platform, only 5% reported the offense to law enforcement.
Harassment that occurs online is as distressing and as real as any that occurs offline.
Harassment that occurs online constrains an honest and open public conversation.
Harassment that occurs online requires a response that takes into account the complexities of online forums, the importance of public conversation, and the experience of the victim.
We’re calling for better training and education for law enforcement professionals so that they can address harassment online. We’re asking the NSW and Australian Governments to start having an honest conversation about addressing online sexual harassment. Signing this petition is just the beginning of creating a safer and more inclusive online space.
Statistics were sourced from 2014 Pew Research Centre survey into Online Harassment. Learn more at http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2014/10/PI_OnlineHarassment_102214_pdf1.pdf