Virtual Violence is Still Violence
Megan Powell is a freelance writer, editor and digital content creator. She also works as the blog content writer for Neighbours, Friends and Family as well as Make It Our Business. She especially loves working with non-profits and creative organizations.
Thoughts on Donald Trump’s tweet promoting violence against Hillary Clinton
Violence against women is, sadly, still highly prevalent. As we’ve talked about before, domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, age, race or occupation. Even women in some of the most prominent places in society are not immune to domestic violence.
In today’s technological-heavy society, a new form of abuse has emerged that quite often has devastating results. It’s called online violence. This type of violence can take many forms. Uploading intimate or nude photographs of a current or former partner without their consent, for instance. Encouraging readers to evoke violence against someone else. Stalking someone online. Threatening or harassing someone through email or social media. While some people may believe that hiding behind a computer doesn’t constitute these actions as serious, that’s far from true. Just because the harassment or violence is virtual, doesn’t make it any less serious.
Take, for example, the most recent escapade by President Donald Trump. Although most of us are already aware that he is an avid Twitter user with no filter, his latest tweet, or retweet, is one of his most inexcusable, unfathomable and most disgusting actions to date. The leader of one of the most influential countries in the world has promoted violence against women. Furthermore, he has promoted, laughed at, and agreed with violence against the first female contender for president of the United States, his former “opponent” in the most recent presidential election. What happened? Donald Trump re-tweeted a doctored gif (moving image) of Hillary Clinton being hit with a golf ball by Donald Trump. The image shows the current president hitting a golf ball, striking Clinton in the back and knowing her down. While Trump himself did not create this gif, the fact is that not only did he acknowledge it, enjoy it and find it humorous, he then went ahead and shared this with his almost 40 million followers. The current president of the United States promoted violence not only against women, but against a female political rival. While he and others may try to minimize the incident as purely a joke, it’s not. It’s disrespectful. It’s immature. It’s inherently wrong. It’s disturbing. And it’s online violence.
We need the Donald Trumps of the world to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of just reporting on the numerous accusations of sexual assault against the current president, we need to be doing more. As a society, we can no longer continue to just shake our heads. As long as we continue to condone this behaviour and violence, men like Donald Trump will continue to get away with their despicable and shameful actions. We need to stop accepting this childish and violent behaviour. We need to stand up, as women and, even more importantly, as men. We need to explain to our children and each other that this is wrong, that actions like these are still considered abuse, even if they are virtual.
In the meantime, share with others the warning signs of violence, what friends, family or neighbours can do to help, and the role that bystanders can play. Read up on how to talk to abusive men. We can all play a large part in ending violence against women, virtual or not.
You also might enjoy the following posts: