Workshop, Other than women: Exploring harassment and difference online, Rightscon, Belgium

From Gender and Tech Resources

Category Privacy Advocacy Gender and Tech
Start 2017/03/27
End 2017/03/27
Hours 5
Scale World level for international activities
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Organisation Tactical Technology Collective
Target audience We had people from Latin America, India, Spain. They worked in gender/women's rights, privacy, tech.
Number of participants 12
Context and motivations Tactical Tech is interested in the problem of online harassment as a barrier to political participation in quantified societies, and in terms of the harm it causes those targeted. We have been working to customise tactics of resistance and support to communities/individuals who are working online and are exposed to, or are at risk of, harassment.

This Satellite Session at Rightscon is fashioned as an intervention into ongoing advocacy, research, and practical support efforts, and seeks to interrogate a wide range of possible framings of (as well as responses to) online harassment.

A growing body of evidence shows that in addition to gendered and sexualised harassment, Islamophobic, racist, trans- and homophobic harassment equally take place online. We observe, however, that the sexist, misogynist and anti-feminist harassment ciswomen (of relative privilege and visibility in their social contexts) face is noticeably more visible in public discourse, media, research, and advocacy than any other form of online harassment. We are interested in how our work as researchers and advocates may become more intersectional, may focus more fully on gender rather than conflating gender with women, and forge connections with and/or support marginalised groups working in specific contexts. We will take critical approaches to Islamophobia, ethnicity, and race as they intersect with gender and sexuality to help understand localised experiences of harassment.

Topics harassment, mitigation, categories
Media [[File:]]
Agenda We have a number of questions we would like to address through this newer line of work and these will inform the framing of the session:

What can and cannot be learned about online harassment through the approaches, tools, and responses we've developed globally in response to harassment faced by women? What do we know about the contexts and shapes of harassment faced by different communities/groups of people marginalised because of their religion, ethnicity, gender identity or race? Is it problematic to think about harassment along identity categories? What might it afford us, what in turn prevent? What are the spaces and forms that identity-based harassment takes (f.ex. Reddit threads, Twitter abuse, images, memes, fanfiction)? How is online hate speech and harassment directed at specific religious, ethnic, linguistic, or political communities experienced? How might an intersectional lens affect our working definition of online harassment? How does expanding our focus beyond women affect our thinking about responses to online harassment (f.ex. in terms of design, tools, policy, research methodologies, activism, etc.)?

We see this session as an opportunity for discussion and reflection, and to contribute to an agenda that is more specific and contextual with respect to responding to targeted online attacks. We invite people working on online harassment, advocates of freedom of expression and participation online, those working on human rights, as well as interested technologists, activists, and researchers to attend this session. We especially welcome civil society organisations based in Brussels.

This session will consist of an introductory presentation to frame the issues and the terms of the debate, a plenary brainstorming session to collaboratively identify further relevant topics/question around online harassment, breakout group discussions, and conclude with a plenary discussion to consolidate the outcomes of our work as a group.

Methodologies [[Methodologies for training::After some intros and background stuff, we did quite a revealing post-it exercise where we asked people to answer three questions:

a story/hashtag/incident of harassment they witnessed or observed or experienced that happened to someone who was *not* a woman, or is a woman AND [from some other identity] ; gaps and barriers in understanding harassment faced by other groups online; questions they'd like to ask about how harassment happens to different people online (not women, or women AND)

Some interesting things that came up in discussion:

-How to be an ally / how to feel comfortable speaking as a person of privilege for and on behalf of people who are not as privileged as you are

-Need more documentation and case studies into the dynamics of harassment in other contexts. We were already able to identify some dynamics in specific contexts and it isn't like what happens to women at all, unless they're women AND .. - Motivations for harassment in different contexts and with different groups, and who harassers are is quite different when you move away from just looking at harassment faced by women.

- We may need new names and terms: "harassment" is sometimes more visibly "discrimination". "Harassment" is sometimes actually "hatespeech" (when it comes to other groups that are not women)]]