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Areas which produce a lot of misogynistic tweets are more likely to have higher incidences of domestic and family violence against women, finds a study.
Tracking such tweets using Big Data can help determine where violence against women is likely to occur, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
“That information could be useful for not only law enforcement, but also for public health interventions which may intervene to counteract norms of misogynistic violence,” said Siobhan O’Dea, a doctoral researcher at the School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, in Australia.
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The researchers noted that even if the person posting a misogynistic hate speech is not violent, it can create an atmosphere where violence towards women may be more likely.
“We found that misogynistic social media may not be harmless,” said Tom Denson, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales.
“It contributes to norms of violence towards women and a hostile worldview that may slip into real-world violence,” Denson added.
The study, published in Psychological Science, not only found this connection with domestic and family violence getting carried over from one year to the next but also occurred despite the ‘usual suspects’ of domestic violence, such as alcohol and inequality.
The team used Big Data to predict domestic violence from misogynistic tweets across a two-year period. And then it compiled all of the data reported by the local law enforcement agencies in the US to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on arrests for domestic and family violence. (IANS/KB)
If you saw an act of violence being committed against a woman in a public space, would you step up and intervene? As per data from a recent report by Breakthrough India, 55.3 percent have observed the discomfort of the woman/girl facing violence, and almost as many have intervened in an incident of violence against women in a public space.
“What I understand by bystander action is, you see something happening to someone and you’re not comfortable with it, it might be overt or not, but at that point of time, speak out or try to come between the perpetrator and victim through some strategic move. Ally with the person going through the suffering,” Sohini Bhattacharya, President and CEO, Breakthrough, explained to IANSlife. Swift and effective action by an onlooker can, then, prevent acts of violence, and possibly injury, and even death.
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A good example of this is Breakthrough’s popular ‘Bell Bajao’ or ‘Ring The Bell’ campaign from 2008, which showed men and boys stepping up and ringing the bell to interrupt when they overheard domestic violence behind closed doors.
The latest survey on bystander intervention was conducted in states such as Jharkhand (Hazaribagh district), Bihar (Gaya district), Haryana (Jhajjar district), Delhi, Maharashtra (Mumbai), Telangana (Hyderabad), and Kolkata, covering over 721 respondents. Most participants, particularly women, identified violence as a broad term, consisting of physical, mental, verbal, and sexual abuse. In the survey, 78.4 percent of respondents say that they have experienced violence in public spaces, while almost 7 out of 10 experienced violence in public transport.
Why do people intervene? The survey found that the urge to do the ‘right’ thing often drives bystanders to intervene. A handful of respondents revealed that they were victims of child sexual abuse and domestic violence. But they could not resist their perpetrators at that time. It was this unresolved rage at their own helplessness that pushed them to intervene later in their lives. The respondents also said that better knowledge and awareness about gender issues also helped them intervene.
When it comes to techniques of bystander intervention, the survey revealed some interesting methods: swapping seats with the survivors/victims; giving one’s mobile number to connect later; taking the survivor for medical help; physically escorting someone home when she is being harassed, and employing patriarchal scripts like “Don’t you have a mother and sister?”.
As per Bhattacharya, it is very important to know how to actually intervene, based on the situation’s specific context. “It doesn’t have to direct calling out, always”. “Often, we think someone else is going to take action, and that stops us from taking action. If more and more people have this urge to do the right thing’, maybe the rates of daily sexual harassment which is often normalized, will come down,” said Bhattacharya.
The survey also reveals that building safer public spaces for women requires work at several structural and systemic levels. An important aspect among them is bystander support. The lack of positive action from bystanders is not just because they do not care. The fear of being blamed for the violence, of getting stuck in the police, and legal processes are some challenges that stop people. Not knowing what to do in such situations is another hurdle that bystanders often face.
“The survey respondents who have had the experiences of bystander intervention expressed their exasperation at the ‘silence’ of most victims of abuse and sexual violence. A few of the respondents acknowledged the critical role played by structural and social conditioning in influencing female behavior and choices. They pointed out how girls were taught from childhood to be submissive and not challenge their surroundings, at least not overtly. The silence of the victims often discourages bystander intervention in public spaces,” says Breakthrough. (IANS/SP)
As some people try to digitally control the lives of their intimate partners, nearly 4,627 mobile users in India have been found to be the victim of a stalker by mobile spyware — a secret surveillance spyware software used in the field of domestic violence, a new report revealed on Tuesday. This figure would have had been much higher in absence of lockdowns and the pandemic that led millions to stay indoors in the country.
Stalkerware apps are generally disguised under a fake app name with suspicious access to messages, call logs, location, and other personal activity. For example, an app called “Wi-Fi” that has access to your geolocation is a suspicious candidate, according to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
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“We see the number of users affected by stalker was has remained high and we detect new samples every day. It’s important to remember that there is somebody’s real-life story behind all these numbers, and sometimes there is a silent call for help,” said Victor Chebyshev, Research Development Team Lead, Kaspersky.
“It is clear that we all need to share what we are finding so we can further improve detection and protection for the benefit of those affected by cyber violence,” comments Victor Chebyshev, Research Development Team Lead, Kaspersky. Stalkerware is a form of cyberviolence and a global phenomenon that affects countries regardless of size, society, or culture.
In 2020, a total of 53,870 mobile users were affected globally by stalker were. In 2019, Kaspersky discovered 67,500 affected mobile users. “It is unsurprising that the yearly curve of users affected by stalker was global shows a decline in reports from March to June 2020, before numbers began to stabilize thereafter. This coincides with the beginning of worldwide lockdowns, and later when many countries around the world began to ease restrictions,” the report mentioned. Mobile users can check if their mobile device has stalker was installed.
“Delete apps that are no longer being used. If the app has not been opened in a month or more, it is probably safe to assume it is no longer needed; and if this changes in the future, it can always be reinstalled,” the report mentioned. Check “Unknown sources” settings on Android device. If “unknown sources” are enabled on your device, it might be a sign that unwanted software was installed from a third-party source.
“To download stalkerware, the abuser will have to visit some web pages the affected user does not know about. Alternatively, there could be no history at all if the abuser wiped it,” it added. Do not rush to remove stalkerware if found on the device as the abuser may notice. “It is very important to consider that the abuser may be a potential safety risk. In some cases, the person may escalate his abusive behavior in response”, the company suggested.
In 2019, Kaspersky co-founded, along with nine other organizations, the coalition Against Stalkerware’ which now has 30 members from five continents. In November last year, the company released a free anti-stalkerware tool called TinyCheck in order to help non-profit organizations support victims of domestic violence and protect their privacy. (IANS/SP)
While Covid-19 related lockdowns may have decreased the spread of a deadly virus, they appear to have created an environment for increased domestic violence, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, indicates that 39 per cent respondents reported having experienced violence in their relationship and 74 per cent of those people were women.
“The pandemic, like other kinds of disasters, exacerbates the social and livelihood stresses and circumstances that we know lead to intimate partner violence,” said lead researcher Clare Cannon from the University of California – Davis.
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According to the researcher, the extra stress can also cause mental health issues, increasing individuals’ perceived stress and reactions to stress through violence and other means.
For the study, the team involved 374 participants who completed an online survey about previous disaster experience, perceived stress, their current situation as it relates to Covid-19, if they experienced intimate partner violence, and what their personal and household demographics were.
Respondents, whose average age was 47, were asked about how Covid-19 had affected them financially and otherwise.
The researchers also found that 10 per cent of the sample reported experiencing intimate partner violence, the people that had experienced that violence reported more stress than the segment of the sample that had not experienced it.
Furthermore, the results show that as perceived stress increased, participants were more likely to end up as victims of violence.
Intimate partner violence is defined as physical, emotional, psychological or economic abuse and stalking or sexual harm by a current or former partner or spouse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (IANS/KR)