Warning: Bullies are Moving from the Office to the Web. Get Ready to Fight Back!
When we typically think of online harassment or cyber bullying, we think of teenagers and college age students being impacted by this crime. However, although we seldom discuss it, WOMEN are greatly at risk of being impacted by ONLINE HARRASMENT.
Pew Research statistics reveal that almost half of the female population, 37%, struggles and/or will struggle with potentially severe forms of ONLINE HARRASSMENT; 1 out of 5 women has been called an OFFENSIVE NAME online; 1 out of 10 has had a STALKER make her life a living hell; 1 out of 12 women has been SEXUALLY HARASSED via technology. While, thankfully, you may not be part of these statistics, you can’t necessarily say the same about your friends.
We at Bully Proof Diva REFUSE to let your unlimited, brilliant potential be undermined and encourage you to take an active role in preventing any negativity directed toward you.
What Women Need To Know About Online Harassment
What is Online Harassment?
Online harassment is a frightening, demeaning and dangerous form of virtual abuse with far-reaching implications beyond the internet. According to Halt Abuse Online, ONLINE HARASSMENT is “the intentional crossing of your emotional or physical safety boundaries [online].” While some choose to CROSS those boundaries by targeting a person or group through a THREATENING picture or text, others rely on indirect comments, pictures or threads to highlight another’s INFERIORITY.
The internet affords cyber bullies at WORK, HOME or via THEIR MOBILE DEVICES with ONGOING and unparalleled anonymity, where they can be seduced quickly into going beyond the boundaries of abusive language typically restrained by in-person interactions. As a result, CYBERSPACE has become the new arena for bullies to chip away at the person WITHIN, leaving its victims struggling with ongoing DESPAIR, DEPRESSION, FEAR, and UNCONCIOUS plummeting self-esteem.
How Do Females Experience Online Harassment?
Statistics from Pew Research Center indicate that 37% of WOMEN face online harassment through:
- Tweets, comments, posts and threads about a specific woman or group of women that may involve debasing and offensive gender-based content
- Games portraying stereotypical or offensive language or actions associated with women
- Surveys available in different media formats
- Email marketing messages or private emails from known or unknown sources
- Social media threads, messages or instant messages
How Does Online Harassment Differ Between Targeted Males and Females?
Online harassment plagues both males and females. While up to 1 out of every 3 males and females has received physical threats, there are TWO distinct ways that cyber bullying impacts the female gender:
- Although more males experience online harassment than their female counterparts – ALL FEMALES are prone to experience MORE SEVERE forms of harassment.
- While men are limited to name-calling and embarrassment, women are likely to be at greater risk for stalking or sexual harassment, often characterized by threats of violence and various forms of sexual assault.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Online Harassment?
Each time you go online, you EXPOSE yourself to online harassment in different ways. In fact, you can find yourself being targeted at any time. To limit your chances of being attacked online, consider these important points when creating a social media profile inventory:
- Are you sharing too much personal information?
- Are your pictures easily “out there” and too accessible for all to see?
- Is your address or phone number listed?
- What specifics about your job have you shared on social media?
- Can potential harassers learn about your schedule or favorite hangouts?
Analyze your profile for ALL potential details harassers can use against you.
It can be incredibly frightening to find yourself being targeted by online harassment and/or as you face the possibility of being targeted. These experiences can often tempt you to remove yourself from cyberspace and all forms of online communication. However, ISOLATING yourself can lead to further forms of victimization. And why should you HIDE? All of this can be scary, but you have us and the Bully Proof Diva to stand behind the brilliant and confident woman within you.
Share your online experiences on the Bully Proof Diva Blog and let us give you the support you need to overcome this new generation of BULLIES to truly stand strong and confident.