October 11 was International Day of the Girl, and this year’s theme was tech.
To honor International Day of the Girl, the White House Gender Policy Council, Domestic Policy Council, and the Department of Education bought together a roundtable with youth survivors of online harassment and abuse, alongside educators, youth and adult advocates, and health experts.
Melissa Jean Baptiste, a former youth client of C.A. Goldberg, shared her experience and made suggestions for what could have made a positive difference in her well-being and recovery.
Melissa and other participants shared their experiences of online harassment and abuse, underlined that there is no “offline vs online” for young people, and explained the impact the online abuse had on their health and well-being, from mental health issues like chronic stress and depression, to physical harm.
They also provided recommendations focused on ensuring access to support services, highlighted the need for the tech sector to improve safety in the design of their products, and discussed how parents, teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement can compassionately and effectively support youth who have experienced online harassment and abuse.
We are so honored to have been part of Melissa’s story. She exemplifies our mission to help people move From Victim to Warrior.
“Today’s youth are using social media and online platforms more than ever before. Screen time among teens and tweens has risen sharply over the last decade, especially during the past two years, to approximately eight and a half hours a day for non-school related activities for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. While there are many benefits of digital technology, more time spent online also means more exposure to online harms, which disproportionately impact girls—including sexual exploitation, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, dating violence, sextortion, and cyberstalking. In the U.S. and globally, half of girls report that they are more likely to be harassed through social media than on the street. Of the girls who have been harassed online, 47% have been threatened with physical or sexual violence.” – White House briefing room
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