Cyber Bullying is an act of harassment by the use of digital media, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. It is an aggressive act or behavior that shares three features:
- a) these acts are willful;
- b) these acts involve a power inequity between an aggressor and a victim;
- c) these acts are repetitive in nature and nonstop;
- d) these acts are projected by digital media;
While this definition provides an excellent rationale, definitions can and do differ greatly and don’t necessarily support academic and research definitions.
Jurisdictional difference but target same
Legal definitions of bullying and harassment vary by jurisdiction and the term bullying most frequently involves the targeting of girls, children, and teens.
Why focus on women?
Because abuse directed at women is qualitatively and quantitatively unalike, and inter-sectionality matters when determining how and what to do about it. Gender-based harassment is marked by the intent of the harasser to malign the target on the basis of sex. It is characterized by sexist sarcasm and, frequently, the expression of violence.
Women, the majority of the targets of some of the most severe forms of online assault rape videos, extortion, doxing with the intent to harm – experience abuse in multi-dimensional ways and to greater effect. They are the vast majority of the victims of nonconsensual pornography, stalking, electronic abuse, and other forms of electronically-enhanced violence.
Women are more likely to experience more gendered and substantial abuse. They are more frequently harassed, online and off, for sustained periods of time, in sexual ways and in ways that incorporate stalking and manipulation. They are more likely to be pornographically portrayed and subjected to repute damaging public shaming.
The abuse women experience online is intersectional. Women all over the world are experiencing misogyny online, but rarely is it experienced along only one dimension. Women who are targeted because of their race, ethnicity, sexuality, or disability face abuse on multiple fronts and report higher rates of emotional and psychological harm. Sometimes, sexism is married to race, others to caste, others to sexuality; the overlap has a compounding effect.