Violence Against Women in Politics (#VAWP) – The Antithesis of (Online) Equality
Increasingly, online participation is being threatened through manifestations of online violence, especially online violence against women. Such behaviours reflect the normalization of inequality offline and are online reflections of offline patriarchal tendencies. This directly undermines the scope of the Internet, which should be a foundation for challenging the everyday normalization of abuse and inequality but is increasingly becoming a tool for reinforcing inequality and silencing women online. This has become particularly evident through the phenomenon of online violence against women in politics (OVAWP).
As evidenced by the number of threats received by female politicians in the lead up to the 2017 General Election, online, gender-based abuse is experienced by all women across the political spectrum. More recently, Jess Phillips, a Labour MP received rape threats from the UKIP candidate, Carl Benjamin which are now being investigated by the police. In the same week, SNP MP Joanna Cherry received a high volume of offensive and threatening tweets and emails after questioning social media representatives about the lack of protection for women on their platforms.
The issue of threats against MPs has been gaining increasing attention…