A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2016, on page A1 of the New York Times.
For just about 2 months now, I have periodically blogged about online attacks on women who either use or are targeted through the use of social media. One dealt with the statistics associated with cyber-bullying. Another announced a Congressional briefing held on this issue on April 15. Another dealt with a proposed piece of legislation that might help reduce this form of violence. And the first one dealt with use of rape myths and social media by a fraternity at Penn State University to allegedly harass young college women.
Today I thought I’d share a video I stumbled across. It’s called “Feminists Read Mean Tweets.” The text describing this video tells the story of why mic.com created this video last fall:
A Mic Video original: Jimmy Kimmel’s Angry Tweets is on to something. When it comes being trolled, many people on the Internet have it bad. But feminists in particular are often singled out for vitriol.
The lethal combination of being a woman and having an opinion about the patriarchy is a recipe for a troll cocktail.
This video shows how women who challenge the status quo are treated online on a daily basis. While many have tried to describe what it’s like to be the target of constant, horrible abuse online, sometimes it’s easier to just show, not tell.
As the last sentence says: “Sometimes it’s easier to just show, not tell.” So here’s the “show.”
Be forewarned: there is a lot of rude and nasty language as well as threats of violence directed at these women.
Now that you’ve seen the video, you might also want to read the background story on Mic.com.
Invite you to a Special Briefing
Cyberstalking and Online Threats
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
2237 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
Danielle Keats Citron, Lois K. Macht Research Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace
* Interested advocates who can’t attend the meeting can watch a live stream via twitter. On Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., tune into the National Center for Victim’s of Crime’s twitter site @CrimeVictimsOrg. Go to the link in the post that says #Periscope and click on the random letters and the video should appear.
For folks who do not use Twitter, go to www.twitter.com and follow the instructions on the website to create an account. Once you have logged in, type @CrimeVictimsOrg into the search box in the upper right corner to find NCVC’s page. Each Tweet is similar to a Facebook post, but the number of characters are limited. Click on the link in the post that says #Periscope to view the video. Do NOT click directly on #Periscope; the link you want to click on is the string of random characters following the word.
Thanks to Pat Reuss, who works for both the National Task Force and NOW for forwarding this information regarding the briefing and for her work with members of NOW, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Council of Women’s Organizations, and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence that are helping to spread the word about cyber stalking and bullying of women and who are advocating for improved legislation and law enforcement to end this form of abuse against women and girls.
On March 14, I wrote a blog entitled “The “Unholy Alliance” that May Defeat Comprehensive UN Call to End Gender-Based Violence.” I talked about an alliance between the Vatican, Iran, Russia and a couple of other countries that were attempting to eviscerate the comprehensive plan being created at the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) to end gender-based violence and fully comply with all of the universally agreed-upon agreements (treaties, resolutions, and statements). These previous agreements include the Women’s Rights Treaty (commonly known as CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1993)) as well as the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).
I am happy to say that this didn’t happen. Thanks to the bloggers, news media, Tweeters, NGO’s attending CSW57, and several official Member States, the amendments to the document were voted down on Friday during the final day of the 2-week convention.
Iran was the only country that voted against the final, comprehensive document. The Vatican did not get to vote because of its status as a “Permanent Observer State” rather than as a voting “Member State”. And Russia backed down and voted for the final document along with all of the remaining UN Member States.
People around the world heard about these attempts to deny women and girls safety from all forms of violence. We spoke out and acted.
As a result, unlike last year, we FINALLY have a strong document that
“condemns in the strongest terms the pervasive violence against women and girls, and calls for increased attention and accelerated action for prevention and response.” (Source)
This document has a strong prevention focus since the best way to end violence against women and children is to stop it BEFORE it happens. It also addresses inequalities in the political, economic, and social spheres that engender violence. And it takes action to provide services and justice for victims of violence around the world.
Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women summarized the comprehensive coverage of this powerful statement to end this type of human rights violation in her closing statement of the conference:
During the past two weeks, discussions centred on matters of urgency to people around the world — eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, ending impunity for perpetrators, fully engaging men and boys, and advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality to prevent and end these human rights violations….
Important and timely matters were addressed — ending child and early forced marriage, protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, and providing justice and critical services for survivors of violence.
There were debates on ending sexual violence in conflict, tackling human trafficking, protecting sexual and reproductive rights, and on the role of culture, religion and the family.
You had many intense late-night negotiations, going over every single word and paragraph, debating long and hard in order to come to [this] strong agreement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, immediately after CSW57, released a statement showing the commitment of the United Nations to fully implement this new document. It says, in part:
Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage. No matter where she lives, no matter what her culture, no matter what her society, every woman and girl is entitled to live free of fear. She has the universal human right to be free from all forms of violence so as to fulfill her full potential and dreams for the future.
States have a corresponding responsibility to turn that right into reality. The Secretary-General hopes that all the partners who came together at this historic session and others around the world will now translate this agreement into concrete action to prevent and end violence against women and girls. The United Nations system is fully committed to leading this global effort.
So now I say, THANK YOU! Thank you for creating this statement. It is one more step towards realizing the rights, dignity, and humanity of girls and women throughout the world.
Last week, on International Women’s Day (March 8), I participated in the 24-hour Global Tweet-a-Thon to end gender-based violence. This event was held in conjunction with the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) that is being held in New York City. The theme of this year’s session is the “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”
I participated as a host for one hour of this event to facilitate the global conversation between people around the world and those attending the unofficial Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) programs at the UN as well as to send a message to the official UN delegation. Our message was that advocates around the world are looking for a strong draft statement calling for the full elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls as directed by the theme of this two-week conference.
Here are a few of the many tweets I sent out that either addresses the situation of violence in countries around the world OR that calls on governments, including the UN, to create best practices to end gender-based violence:
@JoeBiden “40% of all mass shootings started with the murderer targeting their girlfriend, or their wife, or their ex-wife.” #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
The first sexual experience for 24% of women in rural Peru was forced. #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
In Latin America & the Caribbean, abused women reported higher incidents of miscarriage and induced abortion. #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013 (Source)
In South Africa, women who were abused by their partners are 48% more likely to be infected with HIV than those who were not. #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
To #EndVAW, governments must enact legislation that addresses violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. #CSW57 #IWD2013
To #EndVAW governments must fully fund health services for survivors of violence, including #HIV screening & emergency contraception. #CSW57 #IWD2013
To #EndVAW, governments must ensure girls and women have access to abortion in cases of rape and incest. #CSW57 #IWD2013
Providing young people with human rights-based, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and information helps #EndVAW. #CSW57 #IWD2013
Respecting, protecting, and fulfilling girls’ and women’s sexual rights can minimize the violence they face. #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
Promoting girls’ and women’s sexual rights is a key tool to #EndVAW, address women’s inequality, and achieve sustainable development. #CSW57 #IWD2013
Domestic laws to #EndVAW should align with international best practice and reinforce the protections found in #humanrights treaties. #CSW57 #IWD2013
There is no country where women and men are equal in all spheres of life. You have the power to can change that! #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
That last tweet is a call for individuals, organizations, countries, and the United Nations to pull together to create and execute a comprehensive plan to end gender-based violence and fully comply with all of the universally agreed-upon agreements (treaties, resolutions, and statements), including the Women’s Rights Treaty (commonly known as CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1993)) as well as the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)
I had hoped the draft document that is supposed to be finalized and signed on March 15 – the final day of the two-week deliberation – would help strengthen these treaties. Instead on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, I received an email from two NGOs – the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutger’s University and International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)—indicating that
“the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is wavering in its commitment to advance women’s human rights as demonstrated in the constant negotiation of the language in the outcome document.”
The next morning, I saw a New York Times editorial called “Unholy Alliance.” This article clearly lays out what was going on in the official deliberations. Apparently, the Vatican (which, btw, is a “Permanent Observer,” not a “Member State”), Iran, Russia, and a few other Member States have spent the their entire time at CSW57 trying to eliminate language in the draft communiqué to “duck” their obligations – and thus the obligations agreed to by most of the world – to eliminate all gender-based violence.
Their excuses? Religion. Custom. Tradition.
What are they objecting to specifically? Any reference to abortions or contraception. Any mention of reproductive or sexual health. Any reference to forced sex as rape by either a spouse or other intimate partner. And even any reference to women’s rights in general from the aforementioned international agreements; in this case, they claim that either religious or cultural traditions must take precedence over ending any form of gender-based violence.
These “reservations,” by the way, are the same reservations raised by essentially the same countries at the 56th session of the CSW conference in 2012. As a result, that session ended without any agreement and women, once again, were left without a comprehensive UN plan to help improve their lives.
I am appalled. Gender-based violence is a crime against humanity. Whether that crime is perpetrated by a government (for example, when military units carry out gang rapes and other gender-based war crimes for ethnic intimidation, ethnic cleansing and terrorizing a community). Or when that crime of violence is perpetrated by individuals.
After learning all of this, I contacted the National Organization for Women (NOW) chapters in Pennsylvania. Within 24 hours, Pennsylvania NOW along with South Hills NOW (Pittsburgh area), East End NOW (part of Allegheny County just east of Pittsburgh), Northeast Williamsport NOW, Ni-Ta-Nee NOW (my chapter here in Centre County), and Montgomery County NOW all co-signed the letter created by CWGL and IWRAW Asia Pacific.
This letter was signed by 281 organizations from 57 countries and 129 people from around the world and delivered to the conference on March 14. FYI, since some of the organizations do not include the country of origin in their names, there may be — and probably are — more than 57 countries represented on this letter.
Here’s the letter that we signed.
I along with all of these organizations and individuals want to see a comprehensive UN program to end violence against women and girls. We want to strong enforcement of all international agreements.
Patriarchy has no right to quash human rights. Let’s hope that the official delegates hear our voice and stop this “unholy alliance.” If allowed, the result will be more, not less gender-based violence.
If not, then I believe that like last year there should be no UN document signed by the United States or any other Member State participating in the 57th CSW conference. Going forward with a strong plan to end all forms of violence is the best plan. Going backwards is appalling and should not be condoned. Better nothing than something that moves us backwards.
Let’s just hope they hear our voice and “do the right thing.”
March 8th is International Women’s Day. This year, thousands of voices will come together on Twitter under the hashtag #EndVAW in a 24-hour, global Tweet-a-thon to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
Our aim is to strengthen the work of advocates gathering at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as they urge governments to fulfill commitments to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Who is participating? Individuals, media outlets, and international and local organizations whose work focuses on feminism, women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, sustainable development, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Tweet-a-thon campaign partners will rotate hosting the Twitter chat on March 8th: Some hosts may engage participants in a conversation by asking intriguing questions about gender-based violence, while others may simply post facts about gender-based violence.
If you would like to join me in being a host of the Global Tweet-a-thon to #EndVAW, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we will end gender-based violence!
Follow these hashtags: #EndVAW #CSW57 #IWD2013
And thank you to Mandy Van Deven, Online Administrator at the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) for organizing this event and for sending me the information contained in this blog.
El 8 de marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer, miles de voces se unirán a través de Tuiter (Twitter) bajo el hashtag #EndVAW durante 24 horas, en un Tuiter-a-tón a nivel global para crear conciencia sobre la violencia de género.
Nuestro objetivo es fortalecer el trabajo de los defensores reunidos en la 57 ª sesión de la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer (CSW), ya que instan a los gobiernos a cumplir los compromisos de eliminar la violencia contra las mujeres y las niñas.
¿Quién participa? Individuos, medios de comunicación y organizaciones internacionales y locales, cuyo trabajo se centra en el feminismo, derechos de las mujeres, derechos LGBTQI, el desarrollo sustentable y salud sexual y reproductiva y derechos.
El 8 de mazo en el Tuiter-a-tón de la campaña los socios se estarán alternando para ser anfitriones de diversas charlas: Algunos de estos podrán involucrar a los participantes en una conversación haciendo preguntas insidiosas sobre violencia basada en género, mientras que otros simplemente puedan publicar datos sobre el tema.
Si desea unirse a mí en ser anfitrión del Mundial Tweet-a-thon a # EndVAW, envíe un correo electrónico a email@example.com.
¡Juntos, vamos a poner fin a la violencia de género!
Y gracias a Mandy Van Deven, Administrador línea en la International Planned Parenthood Federation / Región del Hemisferio Occidental (IPPF / WHR) para la organización de este evento y por el envío de la información contenida en este blog.