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Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers

I got the reference to this interesting article in Systers mailing list:



A 2006 University of Maryland study on chat rooms found that female
participants received 25 times as many sexually explicit and malicious
messages as males. A 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
found that the proportion of Internet users who took part in chats and
discussion groups plunged from 28 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2005,
entirely because of the exodus of women. The study attributed the trend to
"sensitivity to worrisome behavior in chat rooms."

Sierra, whose recent case has attracted international attention, has suspended
blogging. Other women have censored themselves, turned to private forums or
closed comments on blogs. Many use gender-neutral pseudonyms. Some just gut it
out. But the effect of repeated harassment, bloggers and experts interviewed
said, is to make women reluctant to participate online -- undercutting the
promise of the Internet as an egalitarian forum.

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