Online misogyny as a hate crime: #TimesUp

Barker, Kim and Jurasz, Olga (2021). Online misogyny as a hate crime: #TimesUp. In: Zempi, Irene and Smith, Jo eds. Misogyny as Hate Crime. Routledge.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003023722-4

Abstract

The legal system has yet to recognise explicitly the impact online harassment can have on those on whom it is inflicted. Although misogyny in itself is not a new phenomenon, the Internet and technology enables the migration of misogynistic behaviours to the online realm. It is proposed that online misogyny should be viewed as a form of online hate (here being defined as an online expression, encouragement, stirring up or incitement of hatred or acts of violence against women). This paper will advocate for the reform of hate crime laws to protect gender as a standalone characteristic. Gender must be incorporated as a protected characteristic into the hate crime legislation in order to capture (and prosecute, where applicable) instances of online (and offline) misogyny. Whilst current protected categories include sexual orientation and transgender identity, the current hate crime legislation does not provide legal avenues for addressing misogyny as a hate crime. This not only stands in contrast to equality legislation in the UK, but also raises significant concerns from the perspective of preventing and combating violence against women and ensuring gender equality.

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