Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Psychological Violence and the Bane of Cyber-Harassment against Women: An Experiential Inquest on Facebook

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Psychological Violence and the Bane of Cyber-Harassment against Women: An Experiential Inquest on Facebook

Article excerpt

Introduction

Studies have found out that the women are largely victims of cyberharassment, especially in this era where, pop culture has taken over the social life of youth (Li, 2005; Patchin & Hinduja, 2010; Olumide, Adams & Amodu, 2015). Cyber harassment on the social media can take the form of emails or messages that are used by individuals to unsolicited sexual advances and distribution of unwanted pornography, promises of career advancement in return for sexual favors and so on (Ybarra, West & Leaf, 2007; Olumide, Adams & Amodu, 2015). A young woman's reputation can be destroyed as messages quickly spread in a large social network. Importantly, the use of social media platforms to engage the act of cyberharassment can lead to psychological violence against women. In essence, the act of cyber-harassment has a negative snowball effect on the psychology of women. School administrators, parents, and communities have focused on cyber-harassment with recognition of the risks of emotional, psychological, and physical harm. In essence, cyber harassment leaves a psychological effect on victims, these effects includes depression, anxiety, and most likely suicide. For example, a 12-year-old girl, Gabrielle Molina was found hanged in her home had left behind a suicide note that mentioned internet bullies, following harassment and invasion of privacy via Twitter in May 2013(Boyette, 2013).

Also, on August 9, 2013 teenager Hannah Smith was found dead at her home in Leicestershire, she hanged herself after she was harassed on the website 'Ask.fm'(TheGuardian, 2013). Similarly, Linda Ikeji blog reported that an Australian T.V star and former model Charlotte Dawson committed suicide because a young man embarrassed her. Prior to her death, she tweeted "you win" to the man that cyber-harassed her on the social media (Webb, 2014). This is a snippet of many cases of cyber- harassment against women across the globe.

Statement of the problem

In the field of communication studies and media psychology, there have been several studies on the nature of cyber-bullying on social media platforms (Affab, 2008; Sheriff, 2009; Patchin & Hinduja, 2010), while some studies have focused on the statistics and survey on cyber-harassment against women(Pew Internet, 2014; Olumide, Adams & Amodu, 2015). Another stream of research examined hateful speeches and cyber-harassment against women (Willard, 2003; 2004). However, there is a paucity of research investigation on the patterns and methods of cyber-harassment and its psychological implications on women. This study investigated the different dimensions of cyber-harassment and its negative implications for psychological violence against women using Facebook as an example. In essence, this study x-rays the nature and patterns of cyber-harassment against women on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Objectives of the study

The specific objectives of this study are:

1. Determine the level of awareness of cyber-harassment on Facebook

2. To assess the recurrent context and pattern of cyber-harassment on Facebook

3. To assess the psychological implications triggered by cyberharassment on Facebook

Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:

Hypothesis One: There is a significant correlation between the intense use of Facebook and the awareness level of cyber-harassment

Hypothesis Two: There is a significant correlation between the recurring pattern of cyber-harassment and the psychological implication triggered by Cyber-harassment

Theoretical framework

For a better understanding on how cyber-harassment on Facebook negatively affects women, this study was anchored on the Uses and gratification theory. The theory coined by Katz, Blumler and Gurevitch is concerned with how people use the mass media and the gratification they gain from such usage. Uses and gratification is an audience-based theory. …

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