Zoe Quinn Takes on Congress With Several National Anti-Abuse Groups
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the National Council of Women's Organizations, and the National Organization for Women in partnership with Massachusetts Representative Katherine Clark all recently held a briefing in front of Congress.
Zoe Quinn was among the experts to speak, and her opening statement in the briefing should show you just how personally invested she is in the fight against online harassment. She says she is not the girl she used to be. Quinn said she hardly ever receives positive correspondence anymore; now it's mostly death threats that even include her home address:
"When thousands of faceless strangers have set their sights on you, every aspect of your life is bombarded and prodded until who you were before is gone, and your life becomes almost unrecognizable. The girl I used to be used to sit down and check her email at work, and get the occasional fan letter, business correspondence, and spam email. These days it's death threats and graphic fantasies about raping me, often accompanied with my home address and proof that the sender has everything they would need to carry through on it."
During the briefing, Quinn also remarked:
"It's difficult to speak out if you don't have the support to speak out."
This lack of support caused her to set up an online anti-harassment task force for the victims of abuse, Crash Override, earlier this year.
Quinn was joined by three experts in the field: Michelle Garcia, director of the Stalking Resource Center; John Wilkinson, attorney advisor at AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women; and Danielle Keats Citron, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.
The briefing discussed a variety of topics, including the conviction of revenge porn site operator Kevin Bollaert. Danielle Keats Citron argued that online harassment of women is a civil rights issue and stated that she wants the laws rewritten to criminalize breaches of confidence. This would be a much stronger charge than breaches of copyright that Reddit recently forced to move against.
The briefing is a great example how Quinn and other critics like Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu are helping bring conversations of harassment into mainstream courts.