Social Media Is Not an Excuse to Harass Women

Many of you might of seen the Facebook status I uploaded to my Instagram stories a couple of days ago. In case you hadn’t seen it, and before we get into this post, here is the status:
As a blogger I buy, and luckily receive, a lot of clothes on a regular basis. I always want to wear something new for my shoots and am terrible at re-wearing clothes for events. So I’ve recently been using the Facebook market place to sell unwanted and sometimes brand new clothing. 8 times out of 10 I have no problem.
The last couple of weeks I have received some vulgar comments through the market place, on my items I’m selling, from random men. Their age ranges from 35 years old and upwards and what they say can be quite disgusting.
As a 22-year-old woman, I do not want to receive sexual comments from random men. I do not want to feel victimised or sexualised or made to feel genuinely uncomfortable. Most of them start off as a simple “is this item available” which is fine because for all I know they could be buying these items for a partner or friend. But to soon turn the conversation to asking if it’s me in the photo, that I’m sexy and they want to take me out – it becomes a entirely different conversion.
A few years ago I would ignore these comments and block and delete them straight away. But the longer this keeps happening and the longer I receive these comments, I wonder how many other women are in this same position. So now I retaliate.
They need to be called out on their behaviour. They need to be told they’re disgusting to be prying on young women through an innocent act of selling clothes, on a platform they should feel safe. They need to know their actions are not acceptable and it needs to stop.
But what worries me even more is the fact that these men feel their behaviour is justified because they’re men. They believe they can say whatever they want to a woman because it’s behind a keyboard. I’ve had men switch from sexual comments to very rude comments calling me a fat slag and a slut and I shouldn’t dress the way I do if I don’t want attention. It’s honestly shocking how they switch their tune because they’ve been rejected.
We are allowed to dress in anyway we like. If you want to walk out the house in hot pants then you do so. If you want to walk out the house in a v neck plunge dress then you do so. That does not mean you are asking for attention; it means you’re dressing for you and to make yourself feel good.
But it’s not just on Facebook that this happens. I’ve seen hundreds of females on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter share screenshots of indecent images and comments they’ve received.
When did it become socially accepted that women just receive these comments on social media? When did this become “normal”? This shouldn’t be normal. This is harassment and it needs to stop. If you think, if every female who received an indecent image or comment online, shared those screenshots…there would be thousands and thousands. We need to make a stand to stop this harassment and something needs to budge online. Social media platforms need to do more to protect its users.

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