Do you think the only downside of social media is bullying? Do you think that harassment can not be done digitally through the advancing social media templates? Well, think again.
According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 41 percent of adults are subjected to online harassment; 18 percent of which were severe harassments: that is one-in-five people. In addition, the percentage seems to have increased by 10 percent towards the end of 2017. What is more shocking being the fact that 61 percent of adults have seen people being harassed online and decided to stay silent and not talk about it.
After further analysis of this study, it was shown that, out of the 41 percent, the percentage of women being harassed online is 41 percent; that is three our of four women. Meanwhile, men stand with a percentage of 22, which is almost half that of women.
Aside from all these statistics, let’s talk about real life, or as we say in Egypt خلينا نتكلم بالبلدي كدة) ). On daily basis, Egyptian women receive harassment messages, starting from (ممكن نتعرف) and ending with inappropriate and unpermitted sexual talk. As a matter of fact, it keeps getting worse. Not only do they invade your privacy, they believe that you should be responsive. You should reply to their messages and have a delightful conversation with them, even if you do not want to.
It becomes infuriating when they would not stop sending you messages. Messages saying “Hi”, asking you to respond, complementing you in an obnoxious way, and insisting that you respond. In fact, that is not where it stops; they could have the audacity to call you online. That’s when they start insisting that you answer them back, following the same technique they followed during texting you.
You start filling up with wrath, and you decide you can either respond to them, explaining your rejection for their rather tempting offer, or blocking them right away. Unfortunately, at the end of both ways might be an impasse. How is that possible? Let me tell you.
Let’s discuss the first option; responding with rejection. You simply decline their offer respectfully and ask them to please back off and leave you alone. However, they do not seem to take no for an answer. They become persistent on getting you to talk to them, as if it is an obligation. It becomes as if you owe them a conversation. If you continue to reject them, they will spill some crap into the chat. Suddenly, all the harassment, under the name of sweet talk, turns into verbal assault and bullying. They could call you a narcissist, a faker, or even a b**ch. Regardless of the fact that most women learn to ignore such talks, it is still an issue. It is still a talk that I would rather not read. It is still a message carrying negative vibes in order to undermine my self respect and belittle me. It is still an attempt to wreck my self confidence. It still should not be accepted or tolerated.
Now, let’s take a look at the other option; immediately blocking them. Despite the fact that blocking them does not change the fact that they had sent you a message earlier, blocking them, in some cases, infuriates them. They feel it as a slap to their pride, which makes them want to pay you back. They do so by asking other men of the same kind to message you, either in the same way or spilling the crap talk right away. Although you’ll just block them all anyway, it is still laborious to keep blocking harassers and turn a blind eye to what they said.
In conclusion, it is clearly not enough that 93 percent of Egyptian women are harassed on daily bases on the streets, they need to face cyber harassment as well. It burdening how you have to deal with such negativity and misogyny more than you should; especially when you are blamed for it. Yes, newsflash, you get blamed for that too. They accuse you of wanting such perverted conversations just because you have a certain profile picture, or your account is not private, etc. You try to be optimistic, but you feel the pure sorrow when you know that this just does not stop.