• Web founder Tim Berners-Lee horrified by violence against women on the Net

    For Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the harassment of women on the internet is “one of the tragedies of humanity”.

    Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web, the internet system that we all use, and he is horrified by this heinous fallout of his invention.

    According to the World Wide Web Foundation’s own report, the 2014-15 Web Index, 74 per cent of all nations are not doing enough to stop online violence against women, says ‘Cosmopolitan’.

    The WWWF’s Web Index is an annual survey of the role of the internet on issues worldwide. Its 2014-15 report quoted figures from the Pew Research Internet Project that showed 25 per cent of women aged between 18 and 24 have been sexually harassed online, and 26 per cent of the same age group have been stalked online.

    Also read: How to handle cyber sexism? Stand up to it!

    According to ‘Cosmopolitan’, the report says that the internet actually fuels violence against women.

    On a Reddit.com AMA (Ask Me Anything) session in 2015, Berners-Lee told a user: “I think that the mistreatment/abuse/harassment of women is a very serious issue. I think in general boys need to learn early on to have and to show total respect for all women. If you look back at your online behavior and realize you have made even one off-color remark, then cringe and never do it again. It has a massive negative affect. It is not funny. It is not cute.”

    However, as all women know worldwide, including India, the internet can be incredibly misogynistic.

    That’s partly because few countries have laws in place that can effectively deal with online sexual harassment, abuse and violence against women, though India and Russia, the report notes, are better than most countries at prosecuting those who harass and stalk women online, while Uruguay, Turkey and Iceland support victims better.

    Also read: Monica Lewinsky gives a TED talk about her scandal and cyber bullying

    Berners-Lee doesn’t think the onus for bringing down violence against women on the internet lies solely with government policies and agencies. He told wired.co.uk: “I think it is a question of how we behave as groups, how we deliver to our children the values about being nice.”

    Feature Image Credit: cosmopolitan.com

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