You might recall that way back in, er, October the United Nations published a report on Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls.
Two things happened. First much of the media regurgitated its claims without question, and then a few bloggers started pulling apart the report, which was replete with errors, phoney assertions and even a citation that linked to the author’s C Drive.
The whole saga was catalogued by the feminist writer Christina Hoff Sommers, who debunked the stats and slammed the “totalitarian” recommendations of the report.
One might forgive the time-strapped media for uncritically parroting the claims. The UN is an allegedly respectable organisation.
But what is less forgiveable is when the BBC, a mostly exemplary public service broadcaster, seeks to reheat the claims of the UN about “cyber violence” against women without even referencing the fiasco that was October’s report.
And so it is that on Wednesday the Beeb published the claim that social media “fuels gender violence” as part of its 100 Women 2015 series.
For the most part the article is a knot of overlapping anecdotes, ranging form subjects like GamerGate to actress Emma Watson’s speech to the UN, to the Fappening, in which nude pictures of (mostly) female slebs were plastered across the Internet in 2014.
At this point one can sense the nebulousness of the term “cyber violence” is unlikely to be just superficial. And so it proves as, citing the campaigning group Take Back the Tech, the “forms of violence” are outlined in a handy infographic:
- Online harassment from abusive SMS messages to tracking movement through geolocation
- Intimate partner violence – for example, threats of disclosure of intimate communications or “revenge porn”
- Culturally justified violence – from forwarding a sexist joke to starting a Facebook group that promotes rape
- Sexual assault – technology is used to lure women into situations that result in rape or other forms of physical violence
Violence has a common meaning in English, but apparently the writers at the UN are not privy to it.
One thing this meaning does not include is sending nasty text messages. Likewise revenge porn, the practice of disclosing sexy clips or pics against the will of their subject, although unpleasant and rightly illegal, is not “violent” in the sense the man or woman on the street would grasp.
But it’s at the point where “forwarding a sexist joke” is mentioned in the same continuum as promoting rape – and, given it’s a “form of violence”, as on the same continuum as rape itself – that we know the Beeb has fallen for the feminazis.
What Valeria Perasso, the reporter behind the piece, has written is not an objective piece of journalism that gives an accurate picture of the facts, but a slanted piece of feminist propaganda.
As an example, the piece goes on to claim that “95% of all aggressive and denigrating behaviour in online spaces is aimed at women”, in another stat from the UN much repeated around the Internet even though its original source seemingly cannot be found.
(How one would measure such a thing, especially given the large number of anonymous traffic on forums, is not explained either.)
The absurdity only deepens further when another infographic claims one in three women worldwide experience some form of violence in their lifetime, a figure that is both stupid (everyone experiences some form of violence in their life) and lacks the comparison to violence on men which would set it in context.
In a final blunder for what must rank as one of the daftest articles the Beeb has ever published, our reporter
“A recent UN study asks industry players such as internet service providers, mobile phone companies, social networking sites, gaming sites and websites to play the part of digital gatekeepers.
“The report says tech companies need to ‘explicitly recognise cyber violence against women and girls as unlawful behaviour’ and provide ‘relief to victims and survivors’.”
There’s no doubt that women do face actual violence, and that something should be done to stop it. But if the Beeb wants to maintain its reputation for credibility it should do its homework rather than taking feminist propaganda on trust.