I recently finished reading the book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace by Danielle Keats Citron. From the start, author Danielle Citron laid the groundwork for what the book was going to discuss and why it is so important in society. “Despite the gravity of their predicaments, cyber harassment victims are often told that nothing can or should be done about online abuse (Citron 19).” That was the first sentence under the heading “Dismissing Victims” and instantly I understood exactly what Citron was going to argue for, and that is, cyber bullying is just as affective if not more than general harassment or bullying. In fact, recently on March 21, 2015, Citron released an opinion article on Aljazeera America titled, “Expanding harassment laws to protect victims of online abuse.” So her standing was clear, cyber bullying is not to be tolerated at all and now as her article suggests, we really need to be making a bigger impact.
This was the type of book that I knew would make me cringe reading it because I always read news articles online or watch the news and hear a case of cyber bullying but you don’t get the full details. Hate Crimes in Cyberspace does not hold back on the details. I had to prepare myself for vivid descriptions of real life scenarios and it just makes me so mad to think this is the way “educated” people think.
For example, on page 40, Citron explains a situation where a young lady at a law school was being maliciously harassed and then I read some commenters on the post would say things like “I’ll force myself on her, most definitely,” and vile thoughts like, “I would like to hate-[sic] [law students name] but since people say she has herpes that might be a bad idea. (40-41)” That persons thought from the start was a bad idea.
The book was really well researched and thought out, the hard facts and details are there for everyone to read and really get the best understanding of the effect of cyber bullying. What makes this book a more fascinating read is that it is aimed at everyone, not just young adolescents but adults everywhere, because this could happen to you.
What made the biggest impression on me from this book was the steps people take to remedy the situation but they don’t get the justification they propose. Chapter two provides some insight in the strides a girl had taken for a “revenge porn” incident where the girl and her mother got in touch with their U.S. Senator Marco Rubio after law enforcement refused to help. The book in itself is dynamic and complex, but not to read, to understand the whole of cyber bullying because let’s be honest, the Internet is a vast universe of mindless action.
Some other reviews of this book that I found insightful are below:
Steve Donoghue: “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace”
Katharine Quarmby: “The internet is a brutal place”
Citron, D. (2014). Hateful Messaging, Dismissing Victims. In Hate crimes in cyberspace. Harvard University Press.
Take a look at this clip of Citron explaining her book!