Known feminist Shira Tarrant posted an article on the blog Ms. Magazine where she writes about students from California State University, Long Beach who concerned about online harassment came up with their own guide on how we can all work together to make online spaces for women safer. Men’s harassment of women is an ongoing problem that pushes women into silence in online communities. The main issues of this is that the clear intent is to “silence women” says feminist author Soraya Chemaly. Five ways this problem can be prevented, according to this students at Long Beach is to:
1. Keep speaking out about online harassment. As an online user your right to free speech matters.
2. When posting online comments, critically analyze the ideas, not the person. Free speech does not include harassment.
3. Take threats seriously. If you experience or witness online harassment, report it to the proper authorities. This may include consumer relations, hosting services or law enforcement.
4. Encourage top-down policy regarding online threats and abuse. Contact media outlets, corporations and hosting sites to demand they create anti-harassment regulations.
5. Make it real. Start conversations about what harassment is and how we can interrupt it. Consciousness-raising is the first step to social change.
These five suggestions create a very effective plan of action if done regularly by everyone. I applaud the students of California State University, Long Beach for their efforts to stop this growing issue.