I’m coming back from an intensive weekend of sex therapy education at U Mich’s Sexual Health Certificate program. The weekend gave me a lot to think about, and a lot to unpack that I’m not yet in a space to do justice to on this blog. So today, I’m going on a slight tangent to talk about #gamergate. I’ve been passively following the controversies for some time now. But then, this post came up on my Twitter feed.
To me, there is a very big difference between pestery trolls making asinine comments and something like this. Instead of looking at this from a feminist activist lens (there are many bloggers who are way better at articulating those arguments than I am), I look at the issue from my social work lens. How do we get these kinds of people help? How can we, as individuals and communities, be empowered to effectively push back and carve out some semblance of physical safety?
The only solution I can think of is for folks to come together and create grassroots support structures. What are people’s rights and what legal recourses are available? What mental health services and support groups can people utilize to process the emotional strain of becoming a target du jour? What other supports can we help people find both in cyberspace and real life?
If we can put together organizations for DV and sexual assault survivors, why can’t we organize something similar for victims of internet predation? To my lawyer friends, is there currently legal recourse for internet harassment, especially since the harassment is not limited to verbal taunts? Do you think it’s possible that there are lawyers who would be willing to take on these types of cases for pay/sliding scale/pro bono?
Anyway. Food for thought.