Monday, April 30, 2007

Women Bloggers Harassed

A depressing piece in today's WaPo looks at the harassment women receive while online. What has happened to too many while in chat rooms has moved to blogs. Some women have given up their blogs in reaction to rape and death threats.

The story quotes two studies, as well as stories from a variety of women bloggers. The studies:

A 2006 University of Maryland study on chat rooms found that female participants received 25 times as many sexually explicit and malicious messages as males.

A 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the proportion of Internet users who took part in chats and discussion groups plunged from 28 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2005, entirely because of the exodus of women. The study attributed the trend to "sensitivity to worrisome behavior in chat rooms."

One successful technical blogger, Kathy Sierra, has stopped blogging for the moment after --

Someone typed a comment on her blog about slitting her throat and ejaculating. The noose photo appeared next, on a site that sprang up to harass her. On the site, someone contributed this comment: "the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size."

Some women have contacted police, only to be told that it's no big deal, just online talk. This is more than a case of women needing to adapt to working in a man's environment. This is a basic human rights issue. Men attacking male bloggers don't threaten them with rape or sexual harassment. This is a sad, depressing, state of affairs in the 21st century. That some men continue to believe that women can or will stand to be treated like that.


Blogger TomCat said...

Making a threat like that in Oregon is a form of assault that carries a 7 1/2 year prison term. I trust the laws exist elsewhere. The real issue is that they are being selectively non-enforced.

2:36 PM  

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