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Violence in the Real and Online World

// Posted by on 03/24/2014 (1:48 PM)

After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly… Read more

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After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly believed that certain aspects of online behavior only mattered in the online world and could remain there. After reading an article series by Quinn Norton about women on the Internet and the responses they often receive, I started to think differently about the idea of separate lives online and in real life. The main portion of the Hess article that struck me was when she was describing a situation in which she called the police to report death threats that people had been commenting on her twitter account. The police officer that responded to the call was hesitant to take action against the threats due to the potential infidelity of the situation. He raised the point that these threats could be coming from anywhere in the world and therefore could actually not be an imminent threat.

While it is true that this threat could be coming from thousands of miles away, should that matter? Is tangle nature of the threat the most important issue? I believe that this situation blurs the ability to separate the real world from the online world. While the threat could be impossible to physically happen, the real issue is the treatment of women in ALL arenas of life, both online and in person. This situation brings light to greater issue of why people, men particularly act aggressive and violent towards women. Violence towards women is a large issue supported by many different organizations throughout the world. Online is the next frontier for tackling this issue. I believe that the divide between online life and real life is what is causing online violence towards women to be devalued. It is imperative for our society to view violence towards women as one homogenous issue, not one that can be split into two different worlds. Online threats are just as damaging to the physical and emotional bodies of women as threats in person.

These issues open up questions of where our legal system will. As new technologies develop, our legal system must try it’s hardest to keep up in order to protect our citizens. The Internet and its global capabilities pose new threats to our legal system. The idea of humans as “netizens” raises the question how to regulate people in a realm without borders and clear lines of the authority. Despite the ambiguity of authority online, there is a obvious problem that needs a solution. Violent language and threats made to women, regardless of in person or online, are a dark side of communication and need to be prevented. As we move forward into a world that blends both in person and online interactions, how we will enforce law and order?


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