In con­junc­tion with Amnesty, we are pub­lish­ing an open let­ter to Twit­ter, ask­ing them to take de­ci­sive ac­tion on on­line abuse against women

Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot Stories -

HOW DO YOU feel when you hit ‘post’ on Twit­ter? Ner­vous, wor­ried, vul­ner­a­ble?

A new sur­vey by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional found that 78% of Bri­tish women who used Twit­ter didn’t think it was a place they could share their thoughts with­out vi­o­lence or abuse – a stark in­dict­ment of the of­ten misog­y­nis­tic so­cial me­dia land­scape. To top that, only 9% said they felt Twit­ter was do­ing enough to stop vi­o­lence and abuse.

Threats of mur­der, rape and phys­i­cal abuse are a re­al­ity for many prominent women. So Twit­ter’s #Hereweare ad cam­paign dur­ing the Os­cars, de­signed to ‘stand with women around the world to make their voices heard’, was sur­pris­ing. Twit­ter have re­peat­edly claimed they’re work­ing on the prob­lem of abu­sive trolls. Was this a valiant ef­fort by them, or a cyn­i­cal cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion on the #Metoo move­ment?

To­day, Grazia pub­lishes a let­ter, signed by UK women, who think it’s the lat­ter. Model Leomie An­der­son (right), one of the sig­na­to­ries, told us, ‘ Women are of­ten told to suf­fer in si­lence. They face on­line vi­o­lence and abuse for speak­ing out. Amnesty’s re­search shows that this of­ten makes women cen­sor them­selves on­line – and enough is enough.

‘Speak­ing out to­gether can be pow­er­ful. Let’s help more women be heard.’

Dear Jack Dorsey,

You say you want us to use Twit­ter to make our voices heard; to join you in say­ing #Hereweare. Well, Jack, Here We Are…

We’re ex­hausted, Jack. We’re tired of pow­er­ful men like you claim­ing to be our al­lies but not do­ing what is in their power to stop vi­o­lence and abuse against women. We want deeds, Jack, not words.

We’re fed up of hav­ing to ask for change and ac­tion. But, here we go again.

This is where we are. This is what’s re­ally hap­pen­ing on your plat­form.

Twit­ter is fail­ing us. It’s a toxic place for many women; a place where too many of us feel un­safe. It’s a place where the trolls are winning and where vi­o­lence and abuse against women is rife.

Ev­ery day on Twit­ter women are re­ceiv­ing misog­y­nis­tic abuse and threats of phys­i­cal and sex­ual vi­o­lence.

On­line trolls are us­ing your plat­form to try and be­lit­tle, shame, in­tim­i­date, harass and si­lence us.

Our bod­ies, race, eth­nic­ity, gen­ders, sex­u­al­i­ties, dis­abil­i­ties and opin­ions – our very iden­ti­ties – are the tar­get of vi­o­lence. Jack, you’re fail­ing us. You’re not prop­erly en­forc­ing your own rules. Your re­port­ing sys­tem isn’t work­ing ef­fec­tively. You’re not dis­clos­ing how many re­ports of vi­o­lence and abuse you’re re­ceiv­ing. And you’re not be­ing trans­par­ent about how your com­pany is in­ter­pret­ing and re­spond­ing to these re­ports.

We’re strong, brave, pow­er­ful peo­ple. We have the right to speak equally, freely and safely, with­out fear of at­tack.

We want to speak out on Twit­ter. We want to say #Hereweare. But we want to say that with­out fearing for our safety.

Jack, you have the power and priv­i­lege to make real change here and set an ex­am­ple for how so­cial me­dia com­pa­nies can tackle vi­o­lence and abuse against women. Use it.


Kate Allen, di­rec­tor, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional UK Dr He­len Pankhurst, CARE In­ter­na­tional UK Laura Bates, founder of the Ev­ery­day Sex­ism Project Car­o­line Lu­cas MP, co-leader, Green Party of Eng­land and Wales Lau­ren May­berry, Chvrches singer, song­writer So­phie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equal­ity Party Leomie An­der­son, model and founder of LAPP the Brand Amna Ab­dul­latif and Shaista Aziz, co-founders, In­ter­sec­tional Fem­i­nist Foreign Pol­icy Leanne Woods AM, leader of Plaid Cymru and assem­bly mem­ber for the Rhondda Jen­nie Ker­mode, chair of Trans Me­dia Watch Iman Abou Atta, OBE, di­rec­tor Tell MAMA Bee Rowlatt, chair Mary On The Green Cam­paign Cllr Seyi Aki­wowo, Ne­wham coun­cil­lor and founder of Glitch!uk El­lie Hutchin­son and Katie Scott, co-di­rec­tors, The Em­power Project Sam Smethers, chief ex­ec­u­tive, The Fawcett So­ci­ety, End On­line Misog­yny Dr Mary-ann Stephen­son, di­rec­tor, UK Women’s Bud­get Group V Irene Cock­roft, women’s suf­frage his­to­rian Pro­fes­sor Anna Birch, Mary On The Green Cam­paign Deb­o­rah Frances-white, The Guilty Fem­i­nist Pod­cast Amelia Wo­mack, deputy leader, Green Party of Eng­land and Wales Joanna Cherry, QC, MP Women’s March Lon­don Kezia Dugdale MSP, former leader of Scot­tish Labour and co-founder of Women 50:50

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