In Quebec, 42% of online hate is based on sexism and misogyny. Like elsewhere in the world, systemic online violence affects mostly women and girls.. Women belonging to a gender minority, like transgender women, or women from minority ethnic or religious communities, are particularly vulnerable to cyberviolence. The same applies to women who receive a lot of media exposure, are involved in politics, or in social or feminist fights. They, too, are exposed to online violence.
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This online violence is intrinsically linked to society’s power structure. Unlike men, women are specifically attacked on intimate aspects of their lives, like their sexuality, their appearance, and other personal aspects. This tendency is indicative of a deeply rooted sexism that seeks to demean women by reducing them to limited stereotypes.
It is crucial that we acknowledge this reality and implement measures to fight these forms of online violence, while working to deconstruct the power structures that perpetuate them.
Online violence can take on many forms, from defamation and derision of physical appearance to the dissemination of intimate photos, sextortion, and rape and death threats. The consequences of these acts of violence can be serious, from women and gender minorities withdrawing from spaces and platforms for expression and debate, to a loss of self-confidence, the development of mental health-related problems, and even suicide. Physical and relationship repercussions can even be significant, particularly for young victims of cyberbullying.
More than half of young Quebecois aged 10 to 18 years have already been victims of cyberbullying,according to a 2018 study by the Office de la protection du consommateur (Quebec Office of Consumer Protection). These children report having been insulted, excluded, victims of rumours or racial intimidation. It is also worrying that 24% of young Canadians state that they have already deleted a social network account to escape cyberviolence, which demonstrates the impact this type of online violence can have on a youth’s daily life.
These data highlight the importance of continuing to raise awareness and educate people about the consequences of online violence. It is crucial that we work together as a community to create an online environment that is safe and inclusive for everyone.
YWCA Montreal offers several initiatives to fight online violence:
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By donating, you allow YWCA Montreal to take action in schools with youth and their intervention workers, raise their awareness of gender inequalityand provide support to women, girls and gender-diverse persons so they can escape cycles of violence.
Mobilize your networks and collect funds for the campaign from your friends, your family or your colleagues.
Nadia est parvenue à quitter son conjoint après plusieurs années de violence conjugale.
Pendant cette période noire, elle a interrompu sa carrière et perdu son autonomie financière. Elle a dû repartir de zéro : trouver un endroit sécuritaire où vivre, rebâtir sa confiance en elle, reconstruire des liens sociaux et professionnels, comprendre ses droits pour pouvoir affronter son ex-compagnon en Cour.
Grâce au toit sécuritaire et aux divers services dont elle a bénéficié au Y des femmes de Montréal, Nadia ose aujourd’hui croire qu’un futur sans violence, sans discrimination, sans inégalité est possible pour elle.