“These days, cyberharassment is the price many women pay when they choose a life in the public eye. Some decide to quit, and how can we blame them? Equally troubling: some girls and women are no longer considering careers in the public sphere because they don’t want to deal with the cyberviolence that comes with it. They are silencing themselves.”

Guylaine Maroist

Filmmaker – Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age

It would be nice to image that, ten years after Rehtaeh died, things have changed for women online. The truth is that things are much, much worse. Not only for young women, but for any women with a voice.

To make matters worse there’s little being done about it. When the rare opportunity presents itself, the criminal courts in Canada seem to treat online abuse with the same indifference social media companies do. Last week, B.C. Judge Peter LaPrairie sentenced Richard Sean Oliver to a single year of probation after he pled guilty to terrorizing journalist and media personality Jody Vance. Oliver harassed and threatened her and her family for years.

A single year of probation. Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason writes that when other victims “see the pathetically light sentence that Ms. Vance’s aggressor received for years of harassment, it will make even more of them question the wisdom of trying to bring their perpetrators to justice. What is the point?”

In her original victim impact statement, Ms. Vance wrote, “Shame on you.” Her hope was to look Oliver in the eye as she said it, but those three words were too much so the court made her cut them out of her statement.

In 2017, Judge Peter LaPrairie sentenced a man to 45 days in jail for abusing a cow.

Broadcaster survives online harasser but feels justice system failed her

We must fix our failure to fight online hate and harassment

Editorial: Is this justice?

A study published by Time Magazine in February shows a disturbing trend of cyber abuse and hatred towards women with an online presence, especially women in politics or broadcasting.

The often unbearable cost of being a woman with an opinion online

A new Canadian documentary, Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age, explores the online hate that women and girls face now — and how authorities are sometimes ill-equipped to deal with it. CBC’s Matt Galloway talks to co-director Guylaine Maroist; and Laurence Gratton, a school teacher featured in the film.

Guylaine Maroist’s film is now available to watch on CBC Gem.

“Yet despite the astonishing number of cases in the media — Amanda Todd, Jacinda Ardern, Rehtaeh Parsons, Kathleen Wynne, Catherine McKenna, Diane Therrien, Chrystia Freeland, Clara Sorrenti, Rachel Gilmore and Saba Eitizaz to name just a few — this scourge that is affecting thousands of women around the world is still trivialized. Why?”  – Guylaine Maroist