For Immediate Release
December 15, 2016
PANSOW Launches #LiftHerUpNL in Response to Online Harassment of Women
St. John’s, NL – While online harassment of women has long been a reality, the recent proliferation of social media platforms has created seemingly unending forums for gender based cyberbullying, threats, and abuse. In response, the Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) joins the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) in their online campaign #LiftHerUp by launching #LiftHerUpNL.
Women in politics, leadership positions, and the media are regularly subjected to harmful harassment, sexist rhetoric, and threats. Moreover, far too many women are similarly targeted for simply having an opinion online. This experience is not new, however the volume and intensity of such violence is increasing as we saw recently with Journalist, Tara Bradbury, and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Cathy Bennett.
Cyberbullying, stalking, revenge porn, and abuse are not things that just happen online. They spill over into the real world, affecting every aspect of the lives of women, resulting in poor mental health and leaving women fearful for the safety of their families and themselves. Many have their voices silenced when they leave social media as a last resort. The online harassment of women is indeed gender-based in that it is rooted in misogyny, using fear based silencing tactics, degrading comments about women appearance and threats of sexual violence.
PANSOW is concerned about the effects on young boys and girls and gender variant youth that continually witness this harassment of women. We are concerned about the mental health of those who are subjected to it. And, we are concerned that this level of harassment is a major deterrent to women wishing to enter leadership positions. We must act now to ensure the voices of women in our communities do not go silent.
We believe that every member of our community has a personal responsibility to take action against online harassment. We invite everyone reading this statement to help change the conversation by using the hashtag #LiftHerUpNL to show that you believe, support, and respect the women of our province.
PANSOW provides a grassroots, feminist and non-partisan provincial voice on the status of women on broad issues related to gender equity and justice. PANSOW is a network of all eight Status of Women Councils throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. For more information, contact:
PANSOW Co-Chair Jenny Wright
PANSOW Co-Chair Janice Kennedy