In 2016 The Respect Campaign formed. It was a loose idea about harnessing the power of community and bringing positive change to workplaces everywhere. It was as a result of two mothers simply wanting people to be nicer to each other in the workplace. It also was a very simple step in trying to address the ‘Donald Trump’ language and ‘locker room’ behaviour that outraged women around the world. Two women could not change the world, but we could at least try to bring about more respectful workplace interactions. To stand back and do nothing was not an option.
Then on 21st January 2017, it was obvious we were not alone in our outrage, 10000 Australians in Sydney marched with millions of other concerned citizens around the world to take a stand against sexism, racism, and bigotry. The Women’s Marches of 2017 were a history-making show of solidarity for human rights and justice.
We staged the 1st Cyber Health and Safety Summit in October 2017. Electronic Frontier’s had this to say about the event:
‘A Pew Research Centre Survey published this year found that around 4 in 10 Americans had experienced online harassment but this experience varies by age and gender and research by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner found that 1 in 5 of 16-50 year olds have experienced image based abuse. While men are more likely to be harassed online, women are most likely to experience sexual harassment with over half of young women surveyed receiving unwanted explicit photos. Political views, gender and race are the top reasons why people say they are harassed. Women are overwhelmingly the victims of image based abuse, popularly called revenge-porn and minority groups are disproportionately the victims of online hate.
Concerned with the erosion of civil behaviour online, Australians Belinda Kheir and Kathie Melocco established a grassroots movement, The Respect Campaign to help victims facing the devastating impacts of online abuse and ran the world’s first virtual summit focusing on cyber abuse as a workplace health and safety issue.
For their part, the government has put together the Online Safety on the Edge conference providing workshops to community groups and researchers alike as well as introducing laws and an education and online reporting platform to help women address the non-consensual sharing of images, stalking and other problems relating to our use of technology. But what is cyber abuse?
When Monica Lewinsky famously stated ‘Millions of people can stab you with their words‘ she was giving voice to the way in which technology is used to amplify abuse which may begin with a sole perpetrator but end up in permanent crowdsourced pile-ons of the kind that expose the very worst humanity has to offer.
Emma Jane became an expert in online abuse after being one of its earliest victims as a media professional. Dr Jane now researches online abuse at UNSW, producing work like the Online Rape Threat Generator that confronts the staid academic world with the gory realities of what her team calls ‘rape-glish’.
Online abuse or cyberbullying ranges across a spectrum from offensive online comments to impersonation, defamation and up to sextortion, doxing, Swatting or death threats. Cyber abuse is something that can affect victims in both their personal and professional lives. For those experiencing an unsafe family relationship, digital stalking, online shaming, defamation is being used make people suffer fear, anxiety and shame or even extort money from victims.’
The March continues: A year later, good men and women find themselves refueled and reignited to get back into the streets to speak up against the ongoing discrimination, harassment, and assault against women around the globe. On the 1 year anniversary of The Women’s March once again we will join to take a stand for women.
The Respect Campaign will once again be joining the ranks in the March.
On January 21st 2018, Women’s March Sydney is inviting everyone who believes in equality, safety, and respect to join us in creating a human chain of individuals linking hands through communities all across Australia. Our human chain will be a show of strength and solidarity. Our chain will stand as a statement that we are tired of being demeaned, bullied, and violated. Our chain will say no to the ongoing harassment and violence. Our chain will show that together we are unbroken.
The chain will start in Hyde Park, on January 21st 2018 at 11am.
The event will feature speakers and performers that will be announced over the coming weeks.
The January 21st Women’s March event is called City to Centre. We’ll begin a chain in the heart of Sydney City at Hyde Park with an aim to generate chains throughout communities across Australia leading all the way to the Centre- Alice Springs. Women’s March Sydney is partnering with the Tangentyere Women’s Safety Group in Alice Springs as well as Women’s March groups in Adelaide and Melbourne to build chains of solidarity around the entire continent! We invite any community interested in building a chain to contact us, we will provide a tool kit for building your own local chain. Around the Sydney metropolitan area we will have regional hubs where you can gather and be part of the chain.
For more information on this see our website: http://
2017 has been undoubtedly challenging. It has also been a year of strength, defiance and exposure. People around the globe have found inspiration and courage to stand up and speak out against inequality and injustice in unprecedented numbers.
This watershed has resulted in a widespread outing of media moguls, politicians, entertainers, and businessmen finally facing exposure for their predatory misogyny and harassment of women in the workplace. Galvanised by one another’s courage, women are coming forward to demand accountability for perpetrators and the institutions that have protected them for years.
This is a powerful moment for Women’s Rights. Women are demanding respect, dignity, and equality. No woman should have to suffer violation or humiliation in their workplace, community, or home. All women deserve to be safe and to have access to equal opportunities and the same protections as men.
Enough is enough. The misogyny, harassment, and violence must stop.
Note: This is a Repost from The Women’s March and extract from Rosie Williams, a citizen journalist who works on a range of issues, including data ethics and online safety. It was originally published on her The Little Bird blog See the original article. Rosie is also very active on Twitter @Info_Aus.