Beyond #GamerGate and #CelebGate, Online Harassment is a Very Real Problem

We recently found this infographic to help explain online harassment, especially sexual harassment of women. The problems extend beyond celebrities and prominent figures being hacked or harassed online, but those are the stories that make the news and initiate conversation.

It's all too easy to dismiss stories about celebrities being hacked and their private photos stolen because we tend to think, "Well, what did they expect?" However, that attitude not only ignores the fact that celebrities are still human beings entitled to privacy, it places the blame on the victim. Almost no one is surprised when something like this happens, but that doesn't make it acceptable.

Another recent example of online harassment is  #GamerGate. It  seemed to me that only my friends in the video game industry were very engaged with what was happening while the rest of the world dismissed it as a bunch in-fighting nerds.   However, more and people play videos games and increasing numbers of young girls could be considered "gamers." It's mainstream culture now.   I recommend reading this  The Washington Post column   to understand the controversy, but essentially prominent women who spoke out against some of the sexism in gamer culture received serious death threats to point of being forced out of their homes or having to cancel speaking engagements.   Male celebrities such as Seth Rogan, who spoke out about the treatment of these women were not targeted in the same way.

Both #CelebGate and #GamerGate point to a cultural problem that needs to be fixed. The good news is that, according to this infographic most people want it fixed.