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Daily Life

Husband poses as a woman online, learns the hard way the vile abuse females face

His wife wanted him to know what being a woman online is really like. He lasted 30 minutes.

By Bettina Tyrrell
Online abuse can come in many shapes and forms. From receiving unsolicited images to photo-hacks to inappropriate texts - there is really no end to the kind of terrifying abuse that happens so frequently online.
According to a recent study, one in 10 Australians reported that someone had posted online or sent onto others a nude or semi-nude image of them without their permission.
Online bullying, particularly for women, has become a real and very serious problem and this is why one woman wanted to highlight the issue to her husband.
What happens when a man and a woman join an online forum at exactly the same time?
This was the question backing the social experiment undertaken by speaker, writer and sexual violence researcher, Jessica Eaton and her husband Alex.
Jessica Eaton wanted to teach her husband a lesson in online abuse
Eaton's husband created profiles as both a man and a woman, with generic names, in the same chat room, and almost immediately the results of their experiment started rolling in.
While the male profile didn’t receive a single message, the female profile experienced the complete opposite.
"I got him to enter a generic non-sexual forum as an 18-year-old male boring chat name and guess what? NOTHING HAPPENED," Eaton wrote on Twitter.
But she reports that "within seconds", the 'female' user had received eight inbox messages and the first message her husband opened was an explicit image.
Eaton tracked the social experiment on Twitter:
"One account sent him porn gifs relentlessly," Eaton documented.
Eaton commented that the experiment had quickly opened her husband's eyes to the abuse women receive online.
"He then turned to me and said 'this is shocking'...'this is horrible'."
As shocking and horrible as it is, what happened during the Staffordshire couple's experiment, wasn't unusal.
According to a 2016 report by the Data & Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, “young women under 30 are more likely than young men or older adults (both men and women) to experience certain types of harassment, as well as the fallout from it.
"For instance, 20% of young women ages 15-29 have been stalked online (compared with 8% of all internet users), and 41% of women ages 15-29 self-censor to avoid abuse."
Social media users cottoned-on to Eaton's tweets and become fascinated by the experiment.
"Question: how many creeps (approximately) sent the messages ? Did he get those hundreds of messages from 8 guys, or from hundreds of guys?" tweeted a man.
"It was hard to keep up, but from he was contacted by about 40 men as they sent hundreds of messages / he was only on there for 30mins," Eaton responded.
Some took to Twitter to applaud Eaton for bringing to light the awful abuse suffered by women online.
"He learned a valuable lesson tonight," said Eaton of her husband Alex.
"Eventually his phone actually died from the amount of messages blowing up his phone."

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