Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Online Threats Against Women
I am not an internet novice. I've been online for over twenty years. I've seen some very nasty instances of internet behavior. Yet this blog post brought me almost to tears.
The old saying goes: On the internet, no one knows you're a dog. (well, it's old in internet years.) A corollary is: On the internet, no one knows whether you're a psychopath.
The relative anonymity of some online forums emboldens some men to use the threat of violence as a tactic of power against women. In face-to-face debate in front of an audience, such threats would usually be matched by public and physical intervention. The threatener would be identified and note taken. But on the internet, identification is more difficult, particularly if the man is fairly adept at covering his tracks. (If you're offended at my generalization of this being specifically a tactic of men, I'd love to see statistics that less than 99 percent of such cases are perpetrated by men. Really. Show me.)
In the US, public opinion runs heavily against battering women or even threatening them. Yet men's impulses to control women, to keep them from being strong voices anywhere, finds an outlet. And if some man thinks he can get away with it without repercussion or consequence, it apparently still seems like a viable tactic.
If you want to talk about terrorism, try talking about this everyday, commonplace kind of terrorism. It's all around us.