The virtual world is getting more and more real, isn’t it? We use it to communicate and socialize with our friends, post our life, see what’s new in other people’s lives, get informed, watch videos, etc.
So how can we say that whatever happens in virtual world is not real? That it doesn’t affect us? Technology and social media can be useful to us or can have a negative effect on us. Just because its virtual it doesn’t mean its less real. Any form of violence or abuse perpetrated through technology is cyber violence/abuse. There is violence on social networks, chat apps, gaming platforms or anywhere on the Internet when communication occurs.
Cyber violence can be perpetrated by people who know you, a partner or someone you don’t know.
This violence, even though online, can cause physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm to the people exposed to it.
It can start online and continue offline, or it can be the continuation of violence that started offline.
There are no blurred lines...
Many judge victims of cyber violence for “allowing” their abuse to happen because of their behavior.
“They didn’t say no”… “She was asking for it because of what she was wearing”… “You shouldn’t have taken those pictures”.
You are entitled to consent to one thing and not another! You can consent to sending your nude pictures to someone you trust, but this does not mean that you consent to them being shared.
This is known as specific or selective consent.
We understand and frequently utilize the concept of specific and selective consent. However, when it comes to sexuality and the human body people attempt to blur the lines around consent and place blame on victims, excusing perpetrators from the crimes they have committed that this point gets blurry. That’s why we should not forget that the only one to blame is the abuser!
Always remember when it comes to consent, there are no blurred lines!
Cyber violence can take many forms
Who’s affected the most?
Though cyber violence affects both women and men, girls and boys, data show that women and girls are most frequently the victims of this form of violence and that they are exposed to especially violent forms of aggression, such as stalking and sexual harassment. Estimates are that in Europe, 9 million girls have experienced some kind of cyber violence by the time they are 15 years old.
NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY!
It is important to realize that consequences of cyber violence can be just as dangerous as if the violence occurred offline. Consequences can vary – from fear, anxiety, lack of concentration to sleep disturbances, depression, isolation, or even suicide.
A victim can report the crime to law enforcement. Victims can also contact websites directly to block abusers and have harmful materials taken down.
“Still, victims often carry around the fear of another post or another e-mail going up worrying and waiting for another attack.”