In commemoration with the International Women’s Day, we, the MUSA Wom*n’s Officers, chose to spread awareness and take a stance against cyber harassment. Given that most of us are always hooked on our gadgets and maintain quite an active life on social media, there are higher chances for incidents of cyber blackmail, stalking or hate speech. Whenever they do happen though, it is not seen as a serious problem, even if they are against the law.
As an initiative, we took this opportunity to create awareness among the staff and students of Monash regarding the issue of cyber harassment and educate the masses about the ways to address incidents and help victims.
We had a booth that was set up with 3 sets of comic strips, each depicting a typical cyberbullying incident and the usual narrative of the victim. These included cyber blackmail, stalking and hate speech. From 11am-4pm, staff and students pledged against cyber harassment and wrote post-it messages for Women’s Day. In return, they received badges and brownies that read “It’s On Us! to end sexual (cyber) harassment”. Students and staff who passed by the booth also received pamphlets that briefly explains the definition and types of Cyber Harassment, with a QR code that leads to the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR)’s Cyber Harassment Survivors’ Kit. This provides them essential information needed to tackle any situation related to cyber harassment.
Between 12pm and 1pm, we recorded video pledges against cyber harassment that would be compiled for advocacy purposes. Along with our collaboration with the Monash Street Dance Society (MSDS), we had organized a flash mob at the piazza area conveying the message of “Women Empowerment”.
At the end of the day, we were overwhelmed with the response received and felt grateful that we were able to convey the seriousness of cyber harassment and the importance to speak up about it!
Article by W*men’s Officer of MUSA 2018, Melinda
Video by Pushpika Mendis