Although #MeToo is perhaps one of the most high-profile examples of digital feminist activism we have yet encountered, it follows a growing trend of the public’s willingness to engage with resistance and challenges to sexism, patriarchy and other forms of oppression via feminist uptake of digital communication.
2. Research Context
2.1. Feminist Approaches to VAW
2.2. Social–Ecological Framework of VAW Prevention
2.3. Feminism, VAW Prevention, and Media
Social media platforms create public forums where feminists may collectively create discourses apart from the dominant narrative. These counter-publics may in turn garner attention, thus having the capacity to alter institutional policies in physical locations, like universities and workplaces.
2.4. Beyond Victims and Perpetrators: The Growth of Bystander Intervention
Another type of reactive bystander opportunities can be labeled low risk, which can be defined as situations in which negative attitudes toward women and/or sexual violence are expressed, but do not pose immediate or high risk of harm to potential victims of sexual assault. These bystander opportunities address the lower side of the continuum of sexual violence behaviors, such as calling out sexist language, questioning media portrayals that objectify women and girls, challenging the use of pornography, and confronting friends who rank girls’ appearances.
3. Materials and Methods
An interaction between an interviewer and a respondent in which the interviewer has a general plan of inquiry but not a rigid set of questions that must be asked in particular words in particular order. (p. 332)
3.3. Analytical Process
4.1. Engaging Wider Audiences and Raising Awareness
There is a sense among participants that social media is an effective way to push forward uncomfortable conversations about VAW, and to interject feminist research and advocacy into platforms where this knowledge may not be the norm. For example, one advocate working at an NGO explains that social media can help to push stories and conversations into a more central public view:because we are only a small project a lot of this is learning what people would want from us, because violence against women, we’re talking about topics that are pretty much always conversation stoppers, right?
I think [about] the ways in which we can have those conversations. So I think that, you know, rape culture and social media brings two-sides of the story at the forefront in public. And that’s where some really unintelligent conversations happen, and some really intelligent conversations happen. I think of Anita Sarkeesian,9and her Ted Video… [that] started off this conversation…I think another example is the #WhyIStayed10Twitter campaign. It starts to bring several conversations to light.
I feel like on Twitter I can actually reach people who are following certain hashtags, etc. and who are really engaged in the issues, either activists, activists, or communicators in some way.
I know people disdain hashtag activism, but I hardly know anyone who only does hashtag activism. Most of the people I know do hashtag activism in addition to other activism, so I don’t think people are doing it by and large and then saying, ok I don’t have to pay attention to this anymore. I think that it can be really effective in terms of raising consciousness about an issue really quickly and demonstrating that a critical mass of people experience this [VAW]…It is also really effective at generating traditional media attention, which really needs to happen.
I want VAW to be something people are horrified by, but it’s so commonplace it doesn’t even register. People are numb to it. Not everyone, but I get that feeling that as a culture we’re numb. Or culturally we are outraged at the way other countries handle VAW…for instance when the world got upset about the way India responds to rape without taking a look at it at home. It’s OK to be offended at the way other people in other countries treat women but we don’t take a look at ourselves. Like not looking at the high rates of violence against First Nations women as part of a socioeconomic issue, which of course it is.
I’m a huge believer in storytelling and the power of free media. So from that perspective, I think that the Internet is transformative in the fight against gender-based violence. Because, for the first time ever, women can step out of the isolation that they’ve always been subject to, and share their stories…I think [this] can really engage people more empathetically to understand the scope of what we’re talking about.
I will always think of that big moment when [a local newspaper] had a cover page about rape culture and had the word rape culture. And it wasn’t like “does it exist?” It was “what do we do about it?” … You know, [the story] lacked nuance and they quoted MRAs [Men’s Rights Activists] inside and all kind of other things, but it was the mainstream. The word rape culture in [my city] has hit the mainstream. Good, bad, or otherwise, when I say it now, people still get very defensive, and I still think it’s a really extreme word for a lot of people, but for me that was like, wow…So I think social media has for better or for worse allowed us to significantly speed up where we’ve come. I mean, speaking only on the issue of sexual violence, but I think we have made progress.
4.2. Narrative Shifts to Change Societal Norms
The first thing is just raising awareness. And particularly trying to cut through some of the MRA stuff that goes around about the “what about the men” kind of stuff. So trying to say, this isn’t it, we’re not trying to take away that it sucks about violence committed against anybody. The raising awareness about yes, this is still an issue, yes this is everybody’s issue, yes gender is still a factor. So I think that’s one really key thing.
I do [see it] in two ways. One, is I think social media, because it moves so fast. It’s both potentially powerful and potentially dangerous because it can really, you can perpetrate a lot of myths very quickly… But I think that social media is particularly important because of the speed and the momentum, but also the reach…changing those really fundamental narratives around sexuality of women is difficult, because a lot of why women have been subjugated over time has always been fear of female sexuality. And I think that that’s really hard for a lot of people to grasp: that something that’s about violence against women, you know, violence around sexuality, is actually rooted in fear of sexual power. That’s complex stuff, and it’s really hard to tweet about it.
The primary focus of our outreach online is just the awareness, the education component…that public education component as far as educating people about rape culture, and making them understand what comments they made that are actually reinforcing that, or the behaviour that they have witnessed or experienced or perhaps even committed themselves, that it’s actually unacceptable. That kind of component has to take the lead online.
You’re definitely right in recognizing that much of our counselling and outreach type stuff directly to women is done in person…we have different approaches, and most of it is done in person when it comes to the direct contact to the women in crisis. More of our online stuff is directed at the public per se, when it comes to prevention from that angle as far as how to not be an abuser, that angle tends to be a big focus online.
A lot of the campaigns around violence are still so shitty, they’re still really focused on women’s behaviour. And even with [our organization] I think a lot of the, I don’t want to say older, but I’m going to, are still- they really internalize those messages of “women, you need to stay safe” [and so forth]. And when I see that, I mean it makes me very angry, and so I try to correct it and say, you know this is really problematic. But there’s still not widespread agreement on what even needs to be done to stop violence against women, let alone how we need the media to better respond. And I am thankful for being able to talk back to what’s out there, because I’m not the kind of person who logs on to [a news site] and puts comments, that’s not me. But yeah, I will respond to something I see from the media that’s posted, or something within [my community] that I feel is a problem.
We’ve finally made that transition from talking to young women about—it was a form of victim-blaming when we kept telling girls “don’t dress this way” or “don’t walk alone at night” or “carry this with you”. Yeah, we’re trying to do harm reduction here, but at the same time it’s so important- we’ve finally moved away from that.
4.3. Mobilization around High-Profile News Stories
I’m kind of the dog and pony, the right poster girl. And they ask me for comments constantly. And I’ll respond of course, that’s my job. But I’m not in charge of what’s going on, I’m responding, reacting. And you must speak in sound bites. And you must be effective. And you really need to understand that what you’re saying, and the ways that you’re saying it, can change the tone of the story, because someone else is translating that for you. Or they’re translating it to a certain party or public, who then hear it in yet different ways.
Journalists don’t understand the nature of the crime. And they’ll tell you that right away…it’s the first, second, third, and fourth case that the journalist who has just graduated is sent out on. So they are using their own biases, their own language, and their own misunderstandings of the crime, and repeating and solidifying myths and stereotypes.
When a hashtag is covered in the mainstream media, when #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen11is a story, when #YesAllWomen- with that analysis of what happened in California,12that analysis would not have existed without social media. I firmly believe that people on social media forcing them to talk about misogyny is what made that part of the conversation.
People don’t realize that that’s the commitment they need to make to be able to respond and be timely, [otherwise] you lose the message. So I think the struggle for [our organization] is that I’m the only full time paid employee…we don’t have the resources to be as active as we can, so at times we have to choose. So it’s kind of some competing things, so you just react as fast as you can.
It’s hard to negotiate, because you want to have a voice, but having a voice requires a person to have that voice…there are these small windows that if you had a team of people doing it, you are going make a great change I think. Because people are seeing that, and people are reading those comments but the fact of the matter is that really the only choice sometimes that we’re given because of low staff and the high amount of time that takes, is not to answer [trolls and negative comments].
The worst, the two worst incidents I ever had, one was after I blocked comments on YouTube, someone [found me online] and basically said, “You’re a liar, and I hope that someone kills you, I hope that it will be me”. So I had to call the police about that, which was fun… And then another time, someone on Twitter said, “someone on Facebook is using your picture, and you should really get it taken down.” And I found that someone had used my headshot as the front picture for this [harassment page]…when I found my picture, there were 600 comments, about how I should head butt a gun, how someone should rape me with a watermelon, all these rape threats, how no one would have sex with me because I’m so ugly and I’m a pig, and I’m fat…And I was very close to just quitting, because it was really awful.
There’s definitely stuff that has been threatening—I mean someone, somehow got my number and I got all these threatening phone calls last week. But I think to me it’s more- it’s just exhausting. It’s more exhausting…I think the threatening is maybe 5 percent of it and the rest is just like really, fuck off.
In terms of the sort of cycle of raising awareness about an issue and getting people equipped, I think with sexual violence we’re at that bystander intervention and tactical [stage], like practical “this is what we can do to stop it”. Whereas with online violence, we’re still trying to convince people that it’s a thing.
5. Discussion and Conclusions
Ecological theory also reminds us that processes like bystander intervention are not static or linear and likely change over time with shifts in community experiences, attitudes, or policies. This next level of analysis is critical, as it helps us think more about the larger context around individual bystanders. Influential variables at these broader levels may become leverage points for change themselves.
Conflicts of Interest
- Mendes, K.; Ringrose, J.; Keller, J. #MeToo and the promise and pitfalls of challenging rape culture through digital feminist activism. Eur. J. Women Stud. 2018, 25, 236–246. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Fileborn, B.; Loney-Howes, R.E.; Hindes, S. #MeToo Has Changed the Media Landscape, but in Australia There Is Still Much to Be Done. 2019. Available online: https://theconversation.com/metoo-has-changed-the-media-landscape-but-in-australia-there-is-still-much-to-be-done-111612 (accessed on 15 March 2019).
- Brunner, E.; Partlow-Lefevre, S. #MeToo as Networked Collective: Examining Consciousness-Raising on Wild Public Networks. Available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14791420.2020.1750043 (accessed on 12 July 2020).
- ElSherief, M.; Belding, E.M.; Nguyen, D. # NotOkay: Understanding Gender-Based Violence in Social Media. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, Montréal, QC, Canada, 15–18 May 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Smart, C.; Smart, B. Smart for rape: Reality and myth in press reporting. In Women, Sexuality and Social Control; Smart, C., Smart, B., Eds.; Routledge: Abingdon, UK, 1978; pp. 87–104. [Google Scholar]
- Tierney, K.J. The battered women movement and the creation of the wife beating problem. Soc. Probl. 1982, 29, 207–220. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Cancian, F.; Ross, B. Mass media and the women’s movement: 1900–1977. J. Appl. Behav. Sci. 1981, 17, 9–26. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Van Zoonen, E.A. The Women’s Movement and the Media: Constructing a Public Identity. Eur. J. Commun. 1992, 7, 453–476. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mendes, K. Reporting the women’s movement: News coverage of second-wave feminism in UK and US newspapers, 1968–1982. Fem. Media Stud. 2011, 11, 483–498. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Heise, L.L. Violence against women: An integrated, ecological framework. Violence Against Women 1998, 4, 262–290. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dahlberg, L.L.; Krug, E.G. Violence a global public health problem. Ciênc. Saúde Coletiva 2006, 11, 277–292. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- McMahon, S.; Banyard, V.L. When Can I help? A Conceptual Framework for the Prevention of Sexual Violence Through Bystander Intervention. Trauma Violence Abus. 2011, 13, 3–14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jewkes, R.; Purna, S.; Garcia-Moreno, C. Sexual Violence. In World Report on Violence and Health; Krug, E., Dahlberg, L., Mercy, J., Zwi, A., Lozano, R., Eds.; World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2002; pp. 147–182. [Google Scholar]
- Grauerholz, L.; Baker-Sperry, L. Feminist Research in the Public Domain. Gend. Soc. 2007, 21, 272–294. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sprague, J.; Laube, H. Institutional Barriers to Doing Public Sociology: Experiences of Feminists in the Academy. Am. Sociol. 2009, 40, 249–271. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- The World Health Organization. Understanding and Addressing Violence against Women. 2012. Available online: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/77432/WHO_RHR_12.36_eng.pdf;jsessionid=FAAA311FDAA60D6408466198F743070F?sequence=1 (accessed on 17 April 2020).
- Dobash, R.E.; Cavanagh, K.; Lewis, R.; Dobash, R.P. Not an Ordinary Killer—Just an Ordinary Guy. Violence Against Women 2004, 10, 577–605. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dawson, M. Intimacy and violence: Exploring the role of victim-defendant relationship in criminal law. J. Crim. Law Criminol. 2006, 96, 1417–1449. [Google Scholar]
- Rasche, C.E. Early Models for Contemporary Thought on Domestic Violence and Women Who Kill Their Mates. Women Crim. Justice 1990, 1, 31–53. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sev’er, A.; Dawson, M.; Johnson, H. Guest editors’ introduction: Lethal and nonlethal violence against women by intimate partners: Trends and prospects in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Violence Against Women 2004, 10, 563–576. [Google Scholar]
- Garcia, L.; Soria, C.; Hurwitz, E.L. Homicides and Intimate Partner Violence. Trauma Violence Abus. 2007, 8, 370–383. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Crenshaw, K. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanf. Law Rev. 1991, 43, 1241. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Collins, P.H. Healing Identities: Black Feminist Thought and the Politics of Groups (review). Hypatia 2000, 20, 227–230. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Potter, H. An Argument for Black Feminist Criminology. Fem. Criminol. 2006, 1, 106–124. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- hooks, bell. Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism; South End Press: Boston, MA, USA, 2007. [Google Scholar]
- Bronfenbrenner, U. The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Johnson, H.L.; Dawson, M. Violence Against Women in Canada: Research and Policy Perspectives; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- World Health Organization/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Against Women: Taking Action and Generating Evidence; World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2010; Available online: https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/violence/9789241564007_eng.pdf?ua=1 (accessed on 17 April 2020).
- Dewing, M. Social Media: Who Uses Them; Library of Parliament: Ottawa, ON, Canada, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Jewkes, R.; Flood, M.; Lang, J. From work with men and boys to changes of social norms and reduction of inequities in gender relations: A conceptual shift in prevention of violence against women and girls. Lancet 2015, 385, 1580–1589. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Ellsberg, M.; Arango, D.J.; Morton, M.; Gennari, F.; Kiplesund, S.; Contreras, M.; Watts, C. Prevention of violence against women and girls: What does the evidence say? Lancet 2015, 385, 1555–1566. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Berns, N. Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media, and Social Problems; Aldine DeGruyter: New York, NY, USA, 2004. [Google Scholar]
- Fairbairn, J.; Dawson, M. Canadian News Coverage of Intimate Partner Homicide. Fem. Criminol. 2013, 8, 147–176. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Benedict, H. Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes; Oxford University Press on Demand: New York, NY, USA, 1993. [Google Scholar]
- Moore, S.E.H. Cautionary tales: Drug-facilitated sexual assault in the British media. Crime Media Cult. Int. J. 2009, 5, 305–320. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- O’Hara, S. Monsters, playboys, virgins and whores: Rape myths in the news media’s coverage of sexual violence. Lang. Lit. 2012, 21, 247–259. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Bullock, C.F.; Cubert, J. Coverage of Domestic Violence Fatalities by Newspapers in Washington State. J. Interpers. Violence 2002, 17, 475–499. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Carlyle, K.E.; Slater, M.D.; Chakroff, J.L. Newspaper Coverage of Intimate Partner Violence: Skewing Representations of Risk. J. Commun. 2008, 58, 168–186. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Ryan, C.; Anastario, M.; DaCunha, A. Changing coverage of domestic violence murders A longitudinal experiment in participatory communication. J. Interpers. Violence 2006, 21, 209–228. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Bullock, C.F. Framing Domestic Violence Fatalities: Coverage by Utah Newspapers. Women Stud. Commun. 2007, 30, 34–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dobash, R.E.; Dobash, R.P.; Cavanagh, K. Out of the blue: Men who murder an intimate partner. Fem. Criminol. 2009, 4, 194–225. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Campbell, J.C. If I can’t have you, no one can: Power and control in homicide of female partners. In Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing; Radford, J., Russell, D., Eds.; Twayne Publishers: Woodbridge, CT, USA, 1992; pp. 99–113. [Google Scholar]
- Howe, A. The War Against Women. Violence Against Women 1997, 3, 59–75. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Meyers, M. News Coverage of Violence against Women: Engendering Blame; Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 1996. [Google Scholar]
- Welch, M.; Fenwick, M.; Roberts, M. Primary Definitions of Crime and Moral Panic: A Content Analysis of Experts’ Quotes in Feature Newspaper Articles on Crime. J. Res. Crime Delinq. 1997, 34, 474–494. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jiwani, Y.; Young, M.L. Missing and Murdered Women: Reproducing Marginality in News Discourse. Can. J. Commun. 2006, 31, 895–917. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Carlyle, K.E.; Orr, C.; Savage, M.W.; Babin, E.A. News Coverage of Intimate Partner Violence: Impact on Prosocial Responses. Media Psychol. 2014, 17, 451–471. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Moral, P.G.-D. Representation as a Technology of Violence: On the Representation of the Murders and Disappearances of Aboriginal Women in Canada and Women in Ciudad Juarez. Can. J. Lat. Am. Caribb. Stud. 2011, 36, 33–62. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. Victims and the Media. Available online: https://crcvc.ca/publications/media-guide/victims-and-media/ (accessed on 22 May 2020).
- Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women. Reporting On Rape and Sexual Violence: A Media Toolkit for Local and National Journalists to Better Media Coverage. 2012. Available online: http://www.chitaskforce.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Chicago-Taskforce-Media-Toolkit.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2015).
- Femifesto. Media Toolkit. 2013. Available online: http://femifesto.ca/home/media-toolkit/ (accessed on 1 February 2015).
- Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Reporting on Sexual Violence: A Guide for Journalists. 2013. Available online: http://www.mncasa.org/index_451_3523309454.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2015).
- Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (n.d.) Telling the Full Story: An Online Guide for Journalists Covering Domestic Violence. Available online: http://dvonlineguide.org/en/ (accessed on 1 February 2015).
- Bissler, D.; Conners, J. The Harms of Crime Media: Essays on the Perpetuation of Racism, Sexism and Class Stereotypes; McFarland Co., Inc.: Jefferson, NC, USA, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. 2011. Available online: http://iwmf.org/pdfs/IWMF-Global-Report.pdf (accessed on 15 March 2020).
- Padovani, C. Speaking Truth to Power about Gender and Communication: International and Regional Policy Developments Towards Beijing+20. Fem. Media Stud. 2014, 14, 318–322. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kingston, M.L. What can feminism learn from new media? Commun. Crit. Cult. Stud. 2014, 11, 293–297. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lokot, T. #IAmNotAfraidToSayIt: Stories of sexual violence as everyday political speech on Facebook. Inf. Commun. Soc. 2018, 21, 802–817. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Korn, J.U.; Kneese, T. Guest Editors’ Introduction: Feminist Approaches to Social Media Research: History, Activism, and Values. Fem. Media Stud. 2015, 15, 707–710. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Zaleski, K.L.; Gundersen, K.K.; Baes, J.; Estupinian, E.; Vergara, A. Exploring rape culture in social media forums. Comput. Hum. Behav. 2016, 63, 922–927. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Garcia, C.K.; Vemuri, A. Girls and Young Women Resisting Rape Culture through YouTube Videos. Girlhood Stud. 2017, 10, 26–44. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Powell, A. Configuring Consent: Emerging Technologies, Unauthorized Sexual Images and Sexual Assault. Aust. N. Z. J. Criminol. 2010, 43, 76–90. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Salter, M. Justice and revenge in online counter-publics: Emerging responses to sexual violence in the age of social media. Crime Media Cult. Int. J. 2013, 9, 225–242. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dodge, A. Digitizing rape culture: Online sexual violence and the power of the digital photograph. Crime Media Cult. Int. J. 2015, 12, 65–82. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Potter, S.J.; Moynihan, M.M.; Stapleton, J.G.; Banyard, V.L. Empowering bystanders to prevent campus violence against women a preliminary evaluation of a poster campaign. Violence Against Women 2009, 15, 106–121. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Minow, M. Upstanders, whistle-blowers, and rescuers. The Bystander Dilemma: The Holocaust, War Crimes, and Sexual Assaul. Utah Law Rev. 2017, 2017, 815–837. [Google Scholar]
- Banyard, V.L. Who will help prevent sexual violence: Creating an ecological model of bystander intervention. Psychol. Violence 2011, 1, 216–229. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hayes, B.E. Bystander Intervention to Abusive Behavior on Social Networking Websites. Violence Against Women 2018, 25, 463–484. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Naab, T.K.; Kalch, A.; Meitz, T.G.K. Flagging uncivil user comments: Effects of intervention information, type of victim, and response comments on bystander behavior. New Media Soc. 2016, 20, 777–795. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Banyard, V.L.; Moynihan, M.M.; Plante, E.G. Sexual violence prevention through bystander education: An experimental evaluation. J. Community Psychol. 2007, 35, 463–481. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Cook-Craig, P. Youth Sexual Violence Prevention. National Resource Centre on Violence Against Women. 2012. Available online: http://www.vawnet.org (accessed on 15 June 2016).
- Bivens, R. Digital Currents: How Technology and the Public Are Shaping TV News; University of Toronto Press: Toronto, ON, Canada, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Rentschler, C. #Safetytipsforladies: Feminist Twitter Takedowns of Victim Blaming. Fem. Media Stud. 2015, 15, 353–356. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Rentschler, C.A. Bystander intervention, feminist hashtag activism, and the anti-carceral politics of care. Fem. Media Stud. 2017, 17, 565–584. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- McPhail, B.A.; Busch, N.B.; Kulkarni, S.; Rice, G. An Integrative Feminist Model. Violence Against Women 2007, 13, 817–841. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Bertaux, D. From the life-history approach to the transformation of sociological practice. In Biography and Society: The Life History Approach in the Social Sciences; Bertaux, D., Ed.; Sage: London, UK, 1981; pp. 29–45. [Google Scholar]
- Marshall, B.; Cardon, P.; Poddar, A.; Fontenot, R. Does Sample Size Matter in Qualitative Research? A Review of Qualitative Interviews in is Research. J. Comput. Inf. Syst. 2013, 54, 11–22. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Charmaz, K. Grounded Theory: Methodology and Theory Construction. In International Encyclopedia of the Social Behavioral Sciences; Elsevier BV: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015; pp. 402–407. [Google Scholar]
- Bowen, G.A. Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: A research note. Qual. Res. 2008, 8, 137–152. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Fairbairn, J. Ecologies of Change: Violence against Women Prevention, Feminist public Sociology, and Social Media; 2015. Available online: https://curve.carleton.ca/system/files/etd/d0d9e7fa-cc2f-480d-a3cd-ae0911b3981c/etd_pdf/70773da2a4eb7936581d0d4176f19fb8/fairbairn-ecologiesofchangeviolenceagainstwomenprevention.pdf (accessed on 6 March 2019).
- Oakley, A. Subject Women; Pantheon Books: New York, NY, USA, 1981. [Google Scholar]
- Babbie, E.R.; Benaquisto, L. Fundamentals of Social Research; Scarborough: Toronto, ON, Canada, 2002. [Google Scholar]
- Smith, D.E. The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology; Northeastern University Press: Boston, MA, USA, 1987. [Google Scholar]
- Risman, B.J. Gender As a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism. Gend. Soc. 2004, 18, 429–450. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Letherby, G. Feminist Research in Theory and Practice; McGraw-Hill Education: New York, NY, USA, 2003. [Google Scholar]
- Stacey, J. Can there be a feminist ethnography? Women Stud. Int. Forum 1988, 11, 21–27. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Opie, A. Qualitative Research, Appropriation of the ‘Other’ and Empowerment. Fem. Rev. 1992, 40, 52–69. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Karaian, L. Policing ‘sexting’: Responsibilization, respectability and sexual subjectivity in child protection/crime prevention responses to teenagers’ digital sexual expression. Theor. Criminol. 2013, 18, 282–299. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sutherland, G.; McCormack, A.; Easteal, P.L.; Holland, K.; Pirkis, J. Media guidelines for the responsible reporting of violence against women: A review of evidence and issues. Aust. Journal. Rev. 2016, 38, 5–17. [Google Scholar]
- Gilmore, J. Fixed It; Penguin Books: Melbourne, Australia, 2019. [Google Scholar]
- AlJazeera. Feminists on Twitter Say #Solidarity Is for White Women. Available online: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201308122356-0022973 (accessed on 12 August 2013).
- Feeny, N. The Most Powerful #YesAllWomen Tweets. 2014. Available online: http://time.com/114043/yesallwomen-hashtag-santa-barbara-shooting/ (accessed on 1 February 2015).
- Teotonio, I. Women Find Power in #Been Raped Never Reported Hashtag. Toronto Star. Available online: http://www.thestar.com/life/2014/11/05/women_find_power_in_beenrapedneverreported_hashtag.html (accessed on 5 November 2014).
- Wade, L.; Sharp, G. Sociological images: Blogging as public sociology. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 2013, 31, 221–228. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Barak, A. Sexual Harassment on the Internet. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 2005, 23, 77–92. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Megarry, J. Online incivility or sexual harassment? Conceptualising women’s experiences in the digital age. Women Stud. Int. Forum 2014, 47, 46–55. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lumsden, K.; Morgan, H. Media framing of trolling and online abuse: Silencing strategies, symbolic violence, and victim blaming. Fem. Media Stud. 2017, 17, 926–940. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Edwards, D. Ending Violence One Green Dot at a Time: Instructor Manual. 2009. Available online: https://www.anokatech.edu/StudentServices/GetInvolved/~/media/E5C4D63431314AA08BC351DDD0C191FC.ashx (accessed on 12 April 2020).
- Moynihan, M.M.; Eckstein, R.P.; Banyard, V.L.; Plante, E.G. Facilitator’s Guide for Bringing in the Bystander: A Prevention Workshop for Establishing a Community of Responsibility, Revised Version; University of New Hampshire: Durham, NH, USA, 2010. [Google Scholar]
- Christensen, H.S. Political Activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or Political Participation by Other Means? Available online: https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3336/2767 (accessed on 10 July 2020).
- Fairbairn, J. Rape threats and revenge porn: Defining sexual violence in the digital age. In E-Girls, E-Citizens: Putting Technology Theory, Policy, Education into Dialogue with Girls’ and Young Women’s Voices; Bailey, J., Steeves, V., Eds.; University of Ottawa Press: Ottawa, ON, Canada, 2015; pp. 229–251. [Google Scholar]
- Powell, A.; Henry, N. Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence Victimization: Results From an Online Survey of Australian Adults. J. Interpers. Violence 2016, 34, 3637–3665. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Palasinski, M. The roles of monitoring and cyberbystanders in reducing sexual abuse. Comput. Hum. Behav. 2012, 28, 2014–2022. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- van Bommel, M.; van Prooijen, J.W.; Elffers, H.; van Lange, P.A. Intervene to be seen: The power of a camera in attenuating the bystander effect. Soc. Psychol. Personal. Sci. 2014, 5, 459–466. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lewis, R.; Rowe, M.; Wiper, C. Online Abuse of Feminists as An Emerging form of Violence Against Women and Girls. Br. J. Criminol. 2016, 57, 1462–1481. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Rape culture refers to an environment where sexual violence is expected, tolerated, and/or encouraged, and where women and girls are held responsible for their safety and/or blamed for their victimization .
According to Minow  (pp. 817–818), “an upstander may speak out publicly against bigotry and injustice. An upstander may be a whistle-blower, who exposes wrongdoing in the hope of stopping it. An upstander may resist the temptations of silence and passivity by expressing and offering support directly to victims of bigotry and injustice. An upstander may provide immediate aid to victims of bigotry and injustice through physical rescue or other help…An upstander may speak out publicly or may instead engage in secret resistance. An upstander may rescue individuals who are in danger—through secret or overt actions.”
17 participants use Facebook in their work, 15 use Twitter.
The survey was sent to a list of 380 potential participants assembled from: 1) VAW organizations and service providers where email addresses were publicly-available; 2) academics/researchers and government agencies with publicly-available email addresses identified as part of a larger literature review and policy scan on VAW research and prevention programming; 3) individual and organization contact drawn from a Google alert for “Canada violence against women” and “social media violence against women” for fourteen months prior to the launch of the survey. Additionally, the author posted the survey link on Twitter as well as through two listserves whose hundreds of members include feminist activists, advocates, researchers, academics, journalists, and policy analysts (among other roles). While by no means exhaustive, this initial process represented a solid starting point from which to snowball sample for additional participants. When circulating this invite, the author requested that participants also circulate the survey among their networks in order to get broader distribution into local networks that may not have prominent online presence and/or who would perhaps be more likely to respond if they received the survey invitation from a known contact.
To accommodate one interviewee’s request, one interview was conducted in writing by Google chat in synchronous communication. This interview was approximately 90 minutes in length.
For further discussion of the coding process, see Fairbairn .
Hashtag feminism is “one of the most popular forms of feminist activism and involves using hashtags (the # symbol followed by a thematic word of phrase) to produce communities of conversation among disparate Twitter users”  (pp. 237).
Following Opie  (p. 367), quotations were selected using six criteria: (1) the intensity of participant’s speaking voice (indicating emotional attachment/importance); (2) the contradictory moment (where participants may contradict themselves or acknowledge the contradictions of their actions); (3) emotional content or tone (indicating emotional attachment/importance and complexity of message); (4) and the extent to which the participant uses whole sentences, rather than the more usual recursive/repetitive speech patterns (which may indicate certainty and/or a strong belief). In addition to Opie’s criteria, quotes were selected that (5) eloquently and/or explicitly stated things that other participants talked about less eloquently or obviously, as well as quotes that (6) help to define where boundaries are constructed or challenged (e.g., “we do a, but not b”), since this is a preoccupation of my research.
Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist media critic and media literacy video creator who has been the target of large-scale online harassment campaigns and violent threats, including death threats that forced her family to go into hiding in 2014.
#WhyIStayed was a 2014 hashtag that challenged victim-blaming myths around intimate partner violence, in response to National Football League player Ray Rice’s video recorded physical assault on his fiancée Janay Palmer (now Janay Rice).
An AlJazeera  blog entry explains that the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen “was originally coined by blogger Mikki Kendall during a Twitter debate about Hugo Schwyzer, an American academic and self-described male feminist. Schwyzer has been accused of harassing non-white female bloggers and recently wrote that his critics drove him offline.” The hashtag gained worldwide attention as Twitter users criticised the exclusion of nonwhite women from mainstream feminism.
#YesAllWomen was started as a response to the case of Elliot Rodgers who killed six people in Santa Barbara, California before taking his own life. Prior to the killings, Rodgers had posted a (now removed) YouTube video with a manifesto “promising revenge on all the women who had rejected him”  (para. 1). As Feeney  (para. 4) explains, “Rodgers comments inspired an online conversation…around the #YesAllWomen hashtag to criticize the way society teaches men to feel entitled to women at the expense of their health, safety, and in Rodger’s case, lives.”
#BeenRapedNeverReported was co-created by Toronto Star reporter Antonia Zerbisias and Montreal Gazette justice reporter Sue Montgomery, who decided to publicly share their own experiences of assault on Twitter on October 30, 2014. There were tens of millions of tweets, retweets and replies and national and international media outlets reported on it .
|Individual||Biological and personal history factors that may increase the likelihood that an individual will become a victim or perpetrator of violence.||Gender; age; attitudes and beliefs supportive of VAW.|
|Relationship||Factors that increase risk as a result of relationships with peers, intimate partners and family members.||Sexually aggressive peers; family environment characterized by violence; privileging patriarchal values above women’s safety.|
|Community||Community contexts in which social relationships are embedded such as schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.||Norms tolerant of VAW; weak community sanctions for perpetrators; lack of support from police and courts.|
|Societal||Larger, macro-level factors that influence sexual and intimate partner violence such as gender inequality, belief systems, societal norms and economic or social policies.||Norms supportive of VAW; male superiority and sexual entitlement; weak laws and policies related to sexual violence and gender equality.|
© 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).