Preventing and Eliminating Cyberviolence

From 2014 to 2017, the Atwater Library and Computer Centre conducted an important project funded by Status of Women Canada aimed at preventing and eliminating cyberviolence against girls and young women. This was timely given the United Nations report urging action to protect the growing number of girls and women who are victims of online threats and harassment.

Cyberviolence (e.g. cyberbullying, Internet luring and cyberstalking) is a complex problem that requires a nuanced and multi-pronged approach. There is a pressing need to involve girls and young women in discussion with the wider community to define the problem, break down the institutional barriers that support it, and devise strategies to combat and eliminate it. That’s what we did through this project.

On September 26, 2016, Shanly Dixon, PhD, Co-Coordinator of our project, appeared before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on the Status of Women as part of their study of Violence against Young Women and Girls in Canada.

shanleydixon

Another highlight of the project was a very successful symposium, “Creating a better online culture: developing strategies together” held in partnership with the Concordia University Sexual Assault Resource Centre on March 2, 2017 (more info below in the chronological list of project activities). Below is a visual representation of the symposium by Alina Gutierrez Mejia. (Click to enlarge.)

For more information, see our project website or contact Co-Coordinator Eric Craven at dlp@atwaterlibrary.ca.

Project Activities

On January 22, 2015, we hosted Concordia University’s University of the Streets Café for a lively discussion on the moral implications of video games. The guest speaker was Mia Consalvo, Concordia Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design.

On May 2, 2015, we co-hosted with McGill University’s Participatory Cultures Lab, at their premises, an invitational symposium called “Minding the Gaps: Identifying strategies to address gender-based (cyber)violence.” Concordia University’s Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) gave helpful support. The purpose of the symposium was to report and solicit feedback on our needs assessment and collectively develop strategies to address issues of gender-based cyberviolence. Stakeholders met each other, got updated on our project, shared information and insights into issues of cyberviolence, and learned about new opportunities for participation and collaboration.

Thursday, October 15, 2015
For the Atwater Library Lunchtime Series, Shanly Dixon, Ph. D., gave a presentation on the Atwater Library’s current Status of Women Canada-funded project aimed at eliminating cyberviolence against girls and women, a pervasive problem that includes bullying by social media, Internet luring and cyberstalking. The talk was timely given the new United Nations report urging action to protect the growing number of girls and women who are victims of online threats and harassment.

On November 12, 2015, Atwater Library’s Helping Communities Respond: Preventing and Eliminating Cyberviolence initiative and the Y des Femmes/YWCA Montreal co-hosted a panel discussion on “Cyberviolence and Resistance Strategies for Women.” There was Q&A following presentations by Jessica Rose Marcotte, PhD candidate at Concordia University and game designer, and Sue Montgomery, journalist and co-creator of the Twitter hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported.

On February 5, 6 and 7, 2016 we hosted a video game jam called “Take Care.” Leaders Stephanie Fisher and Kara Stone were joined by several other accomplished game makers from a variety of backgrounds – academia, indie-alt, entrepreneurial incubators, and informal community programs. They pooled their talents to build games addressing the problem of cyberviolence, explored how design can improve online safety, and helped deepen the conversation on this important topic.

On Wednesday, February 17, 2016  we presented our project findings for the Table de concertation sur les agressions à caractère sexuel de Montréal at Université du Québec à Montréal.

Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
The Atwater Library hosted Concordia’s University of the Streets Café for a public discussion on the question “Connecting Online: Is the internet a useful space for dialogue and deliberation?” Moderator Linda Overing and guests Andrew MacLean and Shanly Dixon got the conversation started and engaged attendees.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 we conducted a workshop for youth on cyberviolence called “Crossing the line, online” at the Get to the Pointe! Sexual Health Conference for Youth with high schools serving the Pointe Saint-Charles area.

For six consecutive SATURDAYs from May 21 to June 25, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, we hosted a Game Curious Montréal program organized by the Mount Royal Game Society (MRGS). The sessions provided an introduction to a wide variety of games, as well as open discussions and group activities in a zero-pressure, beginner-friendly environment.

On November 16, 2016, Digital Literacy Project Coordinator Eric Craven participated in a panel discussion about deconstructing masculine stereotypes at John Abbott College in observance of International Men’s Health Day.

On March 2, 2017, we collaborated with the Concordia University Sexual Assault Resource Centre in a very successful and well-attended symposium called “Creating a better online culture: developing strategies together.” There was panel discussion featuring Lilia Goldfarb, YWCA Montreal Program Director; Brenda Lamb, John Abbott College eductation advisor; Vicky Harveson, Dawson College social service student; and Rana Salah, poet, anti-racist organizer, and board member of both the Centre for Gender Advocacy and The Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia. Andie Buccitelli led a workshop following the panel discussion.

On Thursday April 13, 2017 from 2:30 to 5:30 pm, we collaborated with John Abbott College in a symposium called “Cyber & Sexual Violence; Re-visioning Solutions and Strategies.” There was a panel discussion and workshop. The symposium was at John Abbott College’s Agora in the Casgrain Complex.

For more information, contact Eric Craven at dlp@atwaterlibrary.ca.