Twitter, the Online World and Many Faces of Gender Based Violence

This is a piece I wrote a little while ago about the ways in which I have seen gender-based violence discussed and play out on Twitter.

“As our understandings of gender based violence evolve, it is clear that it is no way limited to spaces where physical interaction occurs. It can take other forms including emotional abuse and harassment. Harassment of women and men who don’t confirm to heteronormative norms as well as those who identify elsewhere on the gender spectrum is relentless and incessant online.  This is a complete contrast to the early promise of technology and the Internet, which was supposedly built on the principle and promise of neutrality. What we have is a flawed Internet, one in which women are routinely harassed and threatened.

The anonymity of the internet brings out all the haters out of the woodwork. As online tools and platforms evolve and take new forms, so does the harassment online. Within this Internet live a host of equally, if not more, flawed tools. Spaces for discussions about gender-based violence are also spaces where gender-based violence takes place. It is reflective not only of the rot in our societies but also the denial in which we are steeped, that we do not consider online violence as ‘real’ as we consider violence offline. Since its launch in 2006, Twitter, an online social networking site, has grown tremendously. Users across the world are responsible for over 500 million tweets each day. If you are an active user and retweeter, consider checking out Twee-q to find out what proportion of men and women you are retweeting (a lot of users disproportionately retweet men).”

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