Women scholars’ experiences with online harassment and abuse: Self-protection, resistance, acceptance, and self-blame

Veletsianos, G., Houlden, S., Hodson, J., & Gosse, C. (2018). Women scholars’ experiences with online harassment and abuse: Self-protection, resistance, acceptance, and self-blame. New Media & Society, 20(12), 4689–4708.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444818781324

Open access: No (post-peer review version of the paper available here: https://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/harassment_coping_postPrint.pdf

Notes: In this article, the authors study women scholars’ experiences of online harassment. This research is done in a context where women are increasingly subject to harm in online spaces. In the results, the authors found four themes of strategies for coping: self-protection, resistance, acceptance, and self-blame. Overall, what is most notable (although not particularly surprising) here is that, even as the women scholars who took part in this study are members of an institution (academia) that is regarded as of high esteem in society, this does not seem to prevent them from experiencing harassment—instead, the logic of power evidenced here highlights the need for intersectional lenses that contemplate the multiple ways in which they suffer across gender and academia: “Women scholars cope with harassment in ways that are consistent with how women in general cope with it, although scholars may face institutional and peer pressures to be online due to their work.” (p. 14)

Abstract: Although scholars increasingly use online platforms for public, digital, and networked scholarship, the research examining their experiences of harassment and abuse online is scant. In this study, we interviewed 14 women scholars who experienced online harassment in order to understand how they coped with this phenomenon. We found that scholars engaged in reactive, anticipatory, preventive, and proactive coping strategies. In particular, scholars engaged in strategies aimed at self-protection and resistance, while often responding to harassment by acceptance and self-blame. These findings have important implications for practice and research, including practical recommendations for personal, institutional, and platform responses to harassment, as well as scholarly recommendations for future research into scholars’ experiences of harassment.

Join the ConversationLeave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *