Public cases of intimidation and intimidation against women in public have intensified in recent weeks, with abuses targeting politicians (most recently Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland) as well as activists and journalists. Important examples can also be seen.
For weeks, a group of journalists, particularly journalists of color, have publicly shared a series of closed, anonymous emails they received. These emails contained specific, targeted and disturbing threats of violence and sexual assault, as well as racist and misogynistic language.
“It was very insidious and the language around it was basically a perversion of progressive language that was being used to abuse and torture us. I was told it was done,” said Erica Ifil. She told CBC Radio, a columnist and podcast host for The Hill Times, The House of the segment aired on Saturday.
Online harassment crossed again to an in-person encounter on Friday when Freeland faced verbal abuse in an incident in Grand Prairie, Alta.
In a video that has been circulating widely on social media, Freeland and several others, one filming, approached Freeland as he and several others walked through Grand Prairie City Hall toward an elevator. You can see that there is
During the brief encounter, the man yells at Freeland, calling her a “traitor”, “f—ing b—h” and telling her to leave the state.
The couple are told to leave by others in the building and eventually exit into the parking lot.
Born in Peace River, about 200 kilometers from the Grande Prairie, Freeland spent several days traveling through Saskatchewan and Alberta, meeting with officials, businessmen and workers.
She confirmed the incident in a tweet on Saturday.
“What happened yesterday was wrong. No one, no matter where they are, should put up with treats and intimidation,” Freeland wrote.
“But Alberta, as I know it, is full of kind and welcoming people. Don’t let one unpleasant incident yesterday change that.”
LISTEN | The House hears from journalists, activists targeted by online harassment:
CBC News: House18:02Toxic Harm Online — What Can Fix It?
Harassment Condemned by Politicians
The video’s actions have been widely condemned by politicians and others across the country on Saturday. Conservative Party leader candidate Jean Charest called it a “terrible threat” and a “dangerous act” in a tweet. . Former liberal minister Katherine McKenna called it “pale.”
Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenny called the incident “reprehensible”, while Conservative MP Dan Albus said “what the Deputy Prime Minister experienced yesterday does not apply here in Canada”.
during a visit to Alberta yesterday @cafreeland The verbal harassment and threats directed at the Minister were reprehensible.
If you oppose politicians, be sure to exercise your right to protest. But screaming threatening words & laughter! Physical threats cross the line.
In an interview with CBC News, Grand Prairie City Councilor Dylan Blessey said the encounter was “totally ridiculous.”
“What we see across Canada, and in our communities, is no exception, there are people who feel disenfranchised, angry, and scared, but they’re doing it completely. You’re expressing yourself in an inappropriate way, and you’re not helping anyone.”
Legislation is just one piece of the puzzle: experts
Harassment has long been a problem for Canadians, especially women, in public. McKenna, for example, has been forced to put up additional security after being harassed, and many other members of Congress have made public threats against them.
One of the most extreme examples of online harassment took place in London, Ontario. Threats of violence sent in her name recently when transgender activist and Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti was forced to leave the country after a campaign of harassment, including instances of “swatting.” shows up at her door and arrests her when armed police show up without her knowledge.
Ahead of the 2021 elections, the federal government introduced legislation aimed at protecting Canadians from online harm, but the bill was repealed when the election was called and was met with widespread criticism. Later, a new law was negotiated again.
Laws governing how social media platforms deal with harmful content are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to online harassment, says Canadian research chair for cybersecurity law at the University of Calgary Emily Laidlaw said. Reforms in the legal system, education and other policy areas such as cybersecurity and privacy are all important, she said. The House.
“We have to deal with online harm in the midst of all kinds of laws and social silence, which actually makes it very difficult,” Laidlaw said.
Human rights and technology attorney Ewan Stevens likened the issue to smoking, and said education and awareness have led to both law reform and changes in public attitudes.
“I think we need a comprehensive approach in Canada that not only bans, bans and punishes this, but also addresses attitudes towards people of color, women, LGBTQ people, etc., and addresses the issue,” he said. I was. root causes of harassment, intimidation and violence.”
“It’s psychological warfare.”
Ifill, a columnist for The Hill Times, described how campaigns against her and other journalists have expanded from a few people to groups of a dozen or more, many of them targeting people of color. .
“Every time we send an email, it gets more complicated. They create scenarios based on past work and torture us,” Ifill told guest host Ashley Burke.
“This is more than just an email. It’s a focused effort. It’s a psychological game.”
The pattern of harassment against journalists is incredibly alarming and totally unacceptable. This kind of behavior has no place in our society. Journalists should not be intimidated for doing their job.
Raisa Patel previously worked for CBC News. The Housewas one of the journalists who received an email of her own after speaking out in support of a colleague.
She told Burke that although the emails contained racism and misogyny, “some of us didn’t feel any reaction to that element of these emails because it was Because that’s what we’re used to receiving as women and racist journalists…of this campaign.”
Journalists said they also struggled with the police response, including the difficulty of reporting the incident in the first place and persuading the police to take action.
“The highly coordinated nature of this campaign and some of the more serious threatening elements made it very difficult to get the police to look.I think the process has improved somewhat since we went public. increase. .