Research conducted by the European Women’s Lobby to better understand online abuse uncovered some startling, if not entirely unsurprising, statistics:
In Europe, 9 million girls have experienced some kind of cyber violence by the time they are 15 years old; and despite the rapidly growing number of women experiencing online violence, only 26 percent of law enforcement agencies in the 86 countries surveyed are taking appropriate action.
Seyi Akiwowo is working hard to change that. She first came to international attention when a video of her calling for reparations at the European Parliament Youth event in 2016 went viral. But more than the content of her speech, it was the torrent of racist and sexist abuse she received that became the focus of media attention. She says that in that moment she had the choice to fight or run. She chose to fight. In the weeks that followed, she founded Glitch — a not-for-profit to end online abuse — and became the very visible face to an emerging and important movement to classify online abuse in same real-world terms as offline abuse.
She is, of course, more than the face of a movement and our conversation is one of learning to understand who we are, what we believe in and what we fight for; not being a martyr; and the nuances of self-care. We discuss the rise of online abuse, how we combat it and the hope behind Glitch — in the end, she and the team at Glitch still believe in the power and beauty of the internet as a tool to connect, empower and enlighten, and they are working hard to combat the darkness and violence that stops the internet from working to its fullest potential.
Seyi Akiwowo is the founder of Glitch — a young and ambitious not-for-profit that exists to end online abuse. They believe our online community is as real as our offline one and that we should all be working together to make it a better place. Fix the glitch now for a safer web tomorrow.
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