The world now lives in a global village. Most of the world is connected on the internet, and most are on different social media platforms. Every second that passes by, people from different spheres of the globe are interacting and sharing ideas. What you should know is that, during this same time, someone is experiencing gender based violence online.
No longer is gender based violence an issue of physicality. This is because as humans depend on the internet more, the more ways we have found to violate each other. This is a problem experienced by both genders. Unfortunately, women experience the worst of it all.
Like I said, we have gotten dependent on the internet. In the same way, some have found ways to harm others online.
Have you ever experienced online gender based violence?
Some will say, you do not know that you are experiencing GBV in life until you remove yourself from the situation. Sometimes, that is the same with online GBV.
Internet trolls are some of the worst perpetrators of online gender based violence. Those that will bash others for no exact reason.
I remember once when a troll made fun of someone I know. They made fun of her childhood scars that are visible on the legs. The tweet had a number of likes and retweets from others. All of which were trying to bring her down. That did not move her though, she was tough with it.
That is just an example of what women go through online. Sometimes, they are masked under the name bants. But, have you ever thought of the impact of such words on girls and women.
Online gender based violence has the same impact and trauma as the physical
Let me go back to the example I wrote above. Assuming her insecurities were eating her up, what would have been the effects of his negative comments? I could give a long list.
However, one effect that is loud is silencing of victims. When one violates you online, they want you to be just extra cautious of yourself. With her example in mind, she becomes more self-aware. So, the next she wants to post a picture of herself in a short dress. She will start thinking not to, scared of the next person that will bash her. After time, not only will she be scared of posting pictures in her stork skirts, but she’ll refrain from wearing them.
That’s right. And that is because what may start as online gender based violence, will transfer offline. What might start as online self-censorship, will also transfer offline. That is what every abuser wants.
Abusers will always want their actions to be long lasting. So that each time you are alone, you are reminded of their actions.
There should be consequences, the stringiest kind
It is unfortunate that a lot of harassment cases I have gotten to see build online have not been made serious. However, everyone that feel they are being abused online or cyber bullied, should be able to take it to the courts.
Not only does it set example, but it gives courage to more to come out and express their own stories. It should be a way for anyone to take control of their online presence. And not to exist online based off of a precedence set by someone else.
It is time to take control. Let it be now.