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Amanda Hess: 'We have been thinking about internet harassment all wrong'

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Hacker (STOCK)
Hacker (STOCK)

Writer Amanda Hess, in the cover story for this month's Pacific Standard, writes at length about the problem of online rape culture, and the challenges women face in both experiencing and reporting it. As one who's suffered the abuse of online stalkers, including everything from rape to death threats, she writes from a position of particularly personal relevance. She's far from alone in that position: according to the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 percent of people who report harassment online are female. However, her piece comments on how impotent local law enforcement and Silicon Valley platforms like Twitter are in responding to harassers — often because it's much harder to discern if an online threat is real when compared to real-world ones. As she writes, "...when anonymous harassers come along — saying they would like to rape us, or cut off our heads, or scrutinize our bodies in public, or shame us for our sexual habits — they serve to remind us in ways both big and small that we can’t be at ease online." Read the whole piece at Pacific Standard.