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Troll tally

New project will document online harassment directed at women

February 18, 2016

The problem of women being harassed online — both on social media and in the gaming world — continues to be a tricky one for technology and Internet companies to deal with. At Women in the World, we’ve devoted time on our stage to the subject. During last year’s New York Summit, Ashley Judd and Anita Sarkeesian participated in a panel discussion on what some of the root causes of online trolling are, and shared ideas on how the problem can be curbed.

Ashley Judd at the 2015 Women In The World Summit. (Women in the World)
Ashley Judd at the 2015 Women In The World Summit. (Women in the World)

Now, the Women’s Media Center has launched an initiative that will track occurrences of abuse and harassment online. Soraya Chemaly, the writer and director of the project, says it was born out of her personal experience with online harassment. A blog post that she’d written had drawn a flurry of abuse — not just people taking issue with what she’d written, but people actually making threats of violence against her. “It’s one thing to insult someone or call them stupid,” Chemaly, 49, said. “It is a totally different thing to threaten people with violence that is linked to real threats of violence. Things like rape — women just have to take rape threats seriously.” Chemaly teamed up with Ashley Judd, who in addition to having been the subject of fierce online harassment, is herself a rape and incest survivor, on the project. One troubling thing Chemaly noticed in conversations with other women is how normalized it’s become for women to be threatened online, and counteracting that phenomenon is one of the goals of her project.

Read the full story at The Daily Dot.