THE PROBLEM

No one wants to see a photo of your penis, and frequently these "dick pics" are sent without warning or permission. On his album Buried Alive!, comedian Aziz Ansari described how frequently men harass women by sending unsolicited photos of their dicks, which is also usually preceded or followed by other sexist phrases. However, Internet harassment, including cyberbullying, stalking, rape threats, and revenge porn, is no laughing matter.

According to a 2016 article published by C|Net, online harassment of women has become an international epidemic. The article cites a research report by digital security firm Norton, titled "Online Harassment: The Australian Woman's Experience," which surveyed 1,053 Australian women and found that almost half of the sample size (47 percent) experience online harassment -- a figure that rises to 76 percent for women under 30. Abuse, trolling, and cyberbullying are the top cause of complaints from women who spend time online -- most of whom spend at least a few hours a day on the Internet, whether they're 18 years old or 60+.

While the Norton research cites that both men and women receive nearly equal amounts of abuse online, the nature of harassments women receive tends to be much more violent and graphic in nature, and it can be triggering because it feeds into the higher rates of sexual violence and sexual harassment that women experience in the physical world as well. Women’s harassment is more likely to be gender-based and that has specific, discriminatory harms rooted in our history. The study pointed out that the harassment targeted at men is not because they are men, as is clearly more frequently the case with women. The harassment men experience lacks broader, resonant symbolism. Women are more frequently targeted with gendered slurs and pornographic photo manipulation because the objectification and dehumanization of women are central to normalizing violence against them.

The Time article explains there is no gender equivalence in terms of the denigrating, hostile and sometimes exceedingly dangerous environmental effect that misogyny has, online or off. It has a long history and cannot be isolated from actual violence that we adapt to avoiding every day. The fact that that violence has always suppressed women’s free speech is only now becoming too obvious to ignore.

 

1 UNBREAD MESSAGE

Heeding this call to action, author and visual artist Chelsea Cantrell launched a Kickstarter fund with contributing artists from around the world to self-publish a book bringing awareness to Internet harassment. In the book, each artist took messages and stories from many people and bring to light just what kinds of unsolicited messages harassment victims receive all the time. Each page contains the direct quotes of these harassers and contrasts them with the artist's chosen medium. The artists take that content and repackage it into paintings, embroidery, digital art, and drawings, that can tell its own story, as well as bread-burned text art. Below are some samples from the book:

 

YOUR CALL TO ACTION

With less than two weeks until the end of their campaign, the 1 Unbread Message Kickstarter project has received $7,215 pledged of its $10,000 goal. However, this project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 10:56 PM EDT. 

Please show your support for victims of Internet harassment and the artists who contributed work to this book by donating what you can. It takes big efforts such as this to cause enormous cultural change, and we applaud the work they have done. Consider backing this for not only the incredible artwork but also for the incredible cause behind it. Your donation can make THE difference. 

For more information and to follow the project, send them some love on social media through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 The post that started it all.