Misogyny Online: Extending the boundaries of Hate Crime

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GBV has generated interventions from activists and scholars throughout Europe and beyond. As a newly emerging form of GBV, online abuse has to date generated fewer interventions and conceptual discussions. The article argues this is partly because this is an emerging issue but also because it poses distinct challenges because it has no national boundaries and because it challenge traditional notions of public and private space. These spatial concerns have an impact on both interventions and on the experience of abuse. This paper asks whether the concept of hate crime is one way to respond to those new challenges.

Drawing on survey and interview data with women abused online further to participation in feminist activism, the paper develops debates about responses to misogynistic abuse. The paper considers whether online misogynistic abuse is a form of hate crime. Using existing literature, three dimensions of hate crime are identified: the nature of motivation, exclusionary intent, and spatial context. In respect of each, the findings presented here suggest that this abuse could be a form of hate crime. There are difficulties in respect of each, and anomalies are identified. However, these are of no greater magnitude than those which apply more widely to other forms of hate crime. The paper concludes by arguing that such a categorisation would benefit victims and/or society more widely, although there are limitations. Political and legal advantages are noted, and that such a move would help to challenge the normalisation of misogynistic behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-536
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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