Who wore it better? A look at how minority voices are overshadowed online

Who wore it better? A look at how minority voices are overshadowed online

DIVERSITY + INCLUSION

Who wore it better? A look at how minority voices are overshadowed online

light up sign saying hashtag tweet tweet
Grace Donnellan

14th April 2021

 

Producer and singer, Sophie (often presented as SOPHIE) died on 30th January of this year from a tragic accident in Greece. The singer was only 34 and unfortunately, her life was taken too soon. As a producer, SOPHIE worked with artists such as Charli XCX, Madonna and Kim Petras. Throughout most of their career, Sophie was a private person but in 2017, they announced that they identified as transgender. During an interview with Paper magazine, Sophie said that their trans identity was defined as “transness is taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul”.

 

As the world mourned over Sophie’s death, a mishap occurred with another two celebrities. Charli XCX, an English singer-songwriter, and a close friend of Sophie.

 

Many fans tweeted #HereForCharli in support of the English singer-songwriter Charli XCX who was mourning for her close friend. Yet, Charli D’Amelio, a cisgender Tiktoker, took to the platform and thanked her fans for their support, not realising the hashtag was for Charli XCX, not her. The tweet was deleted shortly after. As the news spread and some people may have found humour in the incident, it is not a laughing matter. An occurrence like this, along with many others, shows us how easy it is for the voice of minorities to be suppressed, especially online. Even though it may have been a mistake on D’Amelio’s part, there are plenty of other incidences where the voices of minorities have been diminished and it’s usually from those that don’t want them to be heard.

 

A prime example is the current Black Lives Matter movement, which many ignorantly believe to be a protest that has only evolved because of recent events such as the death of George Floyd when in reality racism is an ongoing issue which some members of society have had the privilege to ignore until it stares right back at them in the face. Let us provide another example, such as the event that involved the English singer, Harry Styles. Styles took part in a photoshoot for Vogue Magazine where he was wearing a dress, and as Styles is a heavily influential and popular celebrity who in some people’s eyes would never do such a thing, it appeared to be somewhat unusual. Yet it opened up a can of worms, as the media started to discuss gender dressing and masculinity. This isn’t a bad thing and actually welcomed a well-needed conversation around gender appropriation, however was Harry Styles the first to do so? Definitely not. Celebrities such as Billy Porter have done so for years, and did his actions spark up the same conversation? Perhaps, but it was far from anything that Styles created. The Styles situation can be seen as a mirror image of the #HereForCharli mistake, where minority voices, culture and history are ignored when a white celebrity takes centre stage.

 

“In the world of fame, you can see how easily the “majority” overtake the throne and bask in the limelight, without any intentional or even unintentional acknowledgement of the minorities, the people of colour, and the LGBTQIA+ community, who have paved the road for justice of these issues. In other words, the majority always seem to win.”

Whether it’s race, gender or religion, anything that doesn’t fit the puzzle will always be given less attention, and if there is a spark of interest it is never permanent enough for people to actually make a change. In today’s modern world, we have infinite access to many different social platforms in which our voices can be heard. But sometimes these platforms provide space for opinions, that we don’t want to hear, to flourish.

 

Both online and in the real world, minorities have always faced severed oppression from the majority population, taking for example sexual minorities, disabled persons, indigenous people, the list is infinite. Online platforms give people the power to say what they want and not usually something they would say in person, allowing them to create an alternative persona where they can be the “bad guy” without receiving much backlash. There are plenty of keyboard warriors but not enough keyboard knights. What we need are more voices from the minorities and less from the majority.

 

 

 

 

Featured photo by Chris J. Davis on Unsplash

Do we need a Gossip Girl reboot?

Do we need a Gossip Girl reboot?

  ARTS + CULTURE
Do we need a Gossip Girl reboot?
Gossip Girl
Grace Donnellan
13th April 2021

 

When Gossip Girl first hit our screens in 2007, much of the world was still enthralled by the wealth, materialism, and hyper-capitalism of the economic boom. While some were predicting an imminent crash, they were largely ignored. Television shows like My Super Sweet Sixteen, The Hills and The Simple Life had all been large successes. And so, Gossip Girl, with its window into the lives of the Upper East Side’s uber wealthy, fitted neatly into the cultural context of the time.  

 

The first season of Gossip Girl was hugely popular and earned accolades such as “the greatest teen drama of all time.” At this time many were feeling the benefits of economic growth and for those not yet benefitting wealth seemed like an achievable aspiration. We could laugh at the ridiculousness of the lives of Gossip Girl’s Upper East elite, while also using them as aspiration porn. The first season also utilised Brooklynite Dan Humphrey as a moralising force who granted us an outsider’s perspective. 

 

Then in 2008, the economic and cultural landscape changed utterly after the financial crisis. The excess portrayed in Gossip Girl became more jarring than aspirational. The showrunners were left with a choice whether they would alter the show to reflect the recession or whether they would lean into the ridiculousness as a form of escapism. They seemed to attempt to do both. As the seasons progressed, Gossip Girl still maintained the character’s glamorous lifestyles, but at the cost of their empathy and nuance. 

 

The protagonists in Gossip Girl, who we are supposed to root for, are Chuck and Blair. Chuck is a bad boy who personifies the worst elements of wealth and privilege. He sexually assaults numerous characters, including 14-year-old Jenny, and on one occasion gets violent with Blair. Blair is a bitter elitist. While in the first season we see a softer side of her character, in the post-recession seasons the writers double down on her classism and meanness. And yet Blair and Chuck get everything they want by the time the show finishes. We are supposed to adapt to their worldview and feel happy for them, despite neither character exhibiting real growth. The less affluent characters are not painted in as forgiving a light. In the court of Gossip Girl fans, Dan and Jenny are considered the worst characters. While Dan is pretentious and irritating at times, his behaviour pales in comparison to the Upper East Siders. In the finale, it is revealed that Dan has stooped to the manipulative, scheming level of his peers and only then, after a brief period of repentance, is he rewarded. The audience internalises the worldview that the behaviour the affluent characters used to get ahead is okay because they are rich and that the worst sin you can commit is to be moral or poor. 

 

Often reboots are made to tap into our nostalgia surrounding the original. But any nostalgia surrounding Gossip Girl does not exist anymore. The aspirational thinking promoted by the show died with the financial crash and would be even more incredulous now. Many young people who might have enjoyed the show felt the impacts of the recession in their homes as teenagers and have grown into socially conscious adults. It would be hard to argue that they would be interested in a show about vapid, wealthy elites. In any case, why should we even make such a show?

 

“In today’s world many of the heroes of Gossip Girl look more like villains, should we not be rooting for better characters?”

The only way a Gossip Girl reboot could work would be to totally subvert the themes of the original. This seems unlikely as Jordan Alexander, a reboot cast member, said that the reboot would be “staying true to the essence of Gossip Girl but with a completely different take on it.”  This essence is a world where wealthy characters manipulate and scheme for their personal gain and the less affluent characters are demonised or forced to assimilate.  

 

Another major issue regarding the original was the lack of diversity. The only main character of colour was Vanessa, who was not meant to be liked. The reboot features a heavily BIPOC cast which is a welcome change. However, it could be considered tokenistic to reboot a show that originally ignored race with a now diverse cast. Who is this reboot serving except for the consciences of the original show’s creators and the white people who enjoyed it without criticism? Would it not be better to platform stories by and about people of colour, as opposed to inserting them in a white hand me down? 

 

There is no denying that Gossip Girl is an entertaining show. It has retained relevance, to a certain extent, due to its ridiculousness. And while it can still be enjoyed with hindsight, is it the kind of television we should be making today? Arguably not. 

 

 

 

 

Featured photo created using Canva

 

Post-colonialism, decoloniality and Trinity’s troubled past

Post-colonialism, decoloniality and Trinity’s troubled past

 

OPINION

Post-colonialism, decoloniality and Trinity’s troubled past
Trinity College Dublin
Ciaran Boyle
12th April 2021

 

It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Trinity College was involved in some shady business back in the days of British imperialism. As a result, Trinity recently launched a two-yearlong investigation into the historic links the University possesses to slavery and colonialism, with former president Mary McAleese on the board of directors for the project. For example, one of Trinity’s most celebrated alumni, George Berkely, an Anglo-Irish philosopher is known to have participated in the slave trade. The motivation to this, according to Provost Patrick Prendergast, has been the current Black Lives Matter debates, and the public recognition for Trinity’s role in exporting colonial ideologies and the slave trade. While this is a step in the right direction and should be applauded for that, a simple tip of the hat to your colonial past is not good enough. Universities across the world are actively decolonising their curriculums and Trinity should follow suit.  

 

You might be asking yourself the fairly justifiable question,hang on a second, why are we still harping on about colonialism and slavery, they ended ages ago? The ideas that underpin a lot of the statuetoppling and decolonising this or that we’re witnessing around the world comes from post-colonial theory. For the sake of brevity, we can broadly understand post-colonial theory to be critical of the coercive and oppressive power structures that remain in place even after the physical presence of colonial powers had gone. Power, understood through this lens, goes beyond any ideas of military, political, economic and the material; a focus is largely placed on culture and knowledge, or, more specifically in the case of Trinity, the production of knowledge. Widely popularised by sub-altern scholars like Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and Gayatri Spivak, it is important to get to grips with the ideas put forward if Trinity are actually going to decolonise the University 

 

The ideas and assumptions that ground most modernday, mainstream, political, economic, scientific, and social theories have their roots in the historical period of colonialism.

 

“Edward Said argues that ideas cannot be understood without their configurations to power also being understood; basically, people are never really entirely removed from the influences of the cultural, political and social practices of their time.”

The ideas that were generated during the time of colonialism do retain their traces to it, explicitly or otherwise. So, whether we’re looking at neoliberal microeconomics, liberal feminism, or even biology, the power structures in place at the time that these ideas were developed are influenced by colonial relations. On top of that, the production of knowledge primarily happened within institutions that were either directly or indirectly linked to systems of colonial oppression a là Trinity College 

 

I’ve been studying in the UK the past year, any conversations with people from the UK I’ve had about colonialism in Ireland are usually embellished by statements like “I never knew it was that bad” or “We never learned about this in school”. Whether intentional or not, the history curriculum of former colonizers melts into this blissful ignorance and perceived cultural and scholarly supremacy. This is also the case with what we might call a colonial amnesia that is inherent in a lot of the social sciences. The underdevelopment caused by colonial expansion is, by and large, ignored in orthodox development theory. For example, the three dominant theories of the cause of poverty today institutional economics, geographic causes, and global market integration all skim over the impact of colonialism on developing countries.  

 

Another vital aspect of post-colonial theory is that power is also derived from the ability of the colonizer to represent or know the colonial subject. Said and Spivak argue that the production of knowledge of the colonial subject was carried out by agents of colonialism and their institutions. This removes the agency of colonised peoples to represent themselves, and instead we see a false binary created between the civilised colonisers and the savages that were colonised. This served as the ideological justification for the liberal period of colonialism under the guise of the White Man’s Burden. Alberto Quijano calls this the hegemonic mind, a form of Eurocentric racism that developed during colonialism and still persists today.  

 

This theory does not exist in abstract isolation. The ideological remnants and power structures of the colonial period are pervasive in affecting the material conditions of billions of the most marginalised and oppressed people. Discourse and social practice are co-constitutive. What we learn, read, chat about or binge on Netflix shapes our understanding of the world and what we perceive to be true. This truth shapes and is shaped by our actions. The freedom to produce knowledge and culture allows people to define themselves. Irish liberation from colonial oppression was both violent and political but many would argue that the success of this would not have happened without the cultural revival that occurred simultaneously.

 

“If a people only see their identity as a subjugated sub-class, how can they imagine themselves free of tyranny and oppression.”

If in academia, Western knowledge has hegemony, cognitively or not, we infer a truth that Western thinking and/or people are somehow superior to those in the Global South. This process actively erodes the agency, legitimacy and autonomy of culture and the production of knowledge in the Global South. The process of decolonisation is to unlearn the social constructs and essentialised racism that were imposed during the colonial period. The result of this process is the relative autonomy of former colonies to produce their own knowledge and represent themselves – a reinstatement of their agency, right to self-determination and their intrinsic value as human beings.  

 

With this in mind, Trinity’s new research programme is laudable but ultimately it falls short of the mark. The BLM debates are about more than just an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, active dismantling of colonial power structures is needed – including critical analysis of the ideas that we take for granted. You might turn around and say that it is simply daft to completely dismiss any ideas that were generated during this time, but that’s not what the decolonising movement wants. We don’t need to throw out the babies with the bathwater. In my opinion, it’s far more beneficial to supplement students understanding with sources that come from outside of the colonial legacy, and empowering those in former colonies to produce their own knowledge and represent themselves. It also generates a deeper understanding of the practices of imperialism that still exist today, and offers viable alternatives that can be generated in the Global North and the Global South to counter it 

 

 

 

Featured photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

 

Sink or swim? Examining the efficiency of the Egypt’s Suez Canal

Sink or swim? Examining the efficiency of the Egypt’s Suez Canal

 

BUSINESS + POLITICS

Sink or swim? Examining the efficiency of Egypt’s Suez Canal

container ships
Emily Murphy

10th April 2021

 

On March 29th 2021, it was reported that after six days the ‘Ever Given’ had been freed from Egypt’s Suez Canal. Due to extreme weather conditions, the cargo ship became lodged and blocked the shipping lane. Despite the plethora of memes and the widespread amusement of the event, this posed an enormous threat to the global economy and has forced us to question the resilience of our international trading routes.

 

On Tuesday 23rd the Ever Given, a ship owned by the transport company Evergreen ran aground in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most critical shipping channels. The vessel, travelling from China, which is 400-meters long, or the length of the Eiffel Tower, was carrying 20,000 containers, each of which can weigh up to 70,000 lbs. This blocking of the canal caused a backup of 369 ships destined to transit the waterways. The Suez Canal is incredibly important for the global economy and shipping with roughly 12% of the world trade passing through the choke point per day, including 10% of the world’s oil in 3 million barrels per day. Experts say that 9.6 billion dollars of trade was backed up in the Suez Canal itself or on either side in the Red and the Mediterranean Sea. At least thirteen of the ships waiting to move through the Suez Canal were carrying livestock, including the Nabolsi, which left Colombia on March 6th and was halted at the mouth of the canal. In a statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture said that three veterinary teams were sent to examine the animals on board the ships and to provide fodder if needed.

 

The Ever Given has now been freed and tugged to the Great Bitter Lake for inspection. This has allowed traffic to resume through the waterway. This does not however mean that shipping can return to normal immediately. The 369 ships waiting to move through the canal include oil tankers, cargo ships and liquefied natural gas vessels. With only 100 ships being able to pass through the canal each day, according to the Suez Canal Authority, it took three days to clear the backlog and the effects of this may be felt for months. The Ever Given has only increased the strain on an already fragile system. Due to the pandemic, there have been additional delays on the delivery of products due to customs and contagion concerns. With factories around the world waiting on essential components from ships in the canal before they can dispatch their products, these hold-ups will only increase. The delay will also undoubtedly cause oil and gas prices to spike.

 

“The blocking of the canal has raised questions about the efficiency of the route. The 193km long canal was constructed between 1859 and 1869, to connect both seas on either side and to shorten the distance between Asia and Europe. Since its opening, traffic through the canal has only increased, with cargo ships increasing in size by approximately 1,500 percent. This is making navigation through the high-traffic bottleneck increasingly difficult.”

A conversation has recently been revived about alternative routes and one suggestion is to traffic ships around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. This is an issue for multiple reasons, the extended journey time will slow down the supply chain and create a lag in products reaching consumers adding additional expense to the couriers which will be pushed along the distribution channel. There is also the potential risk of ships being attacked by pirates, which has at times resulted in hijacking and the deaths of crew members. The melting ice in the Arctic has led to the suggestion of a Northern passage, which Russia has been pushing for years. Moscow is planning on using the route to export oil and gas to markets in Asia, and the Russian weather service has said that in a few years the route will be essentially ice-free in the summer months.

 

It seems that no matter how the issues highlighted by the blockage are resolved, we will be continuing to discuss the efficiency of the Suez Canal for years to come.

 

 

Featured photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

 

Coláiste Dhúlaigh Series: How VAR affects football

Coláiste Dhúlaigh Series: How VAR affects football

 

OPINION

Coláiste Dhúlaigh Series: How VAR affects football

bring back our girls protest in nyc
Elizabeth Quinn

9th April 2021

This series is in collaboration with first-year Investigate Journalism students in Coláiste Dhúlaigh CFE

 

Champions League

In April 2019 Man City vs Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium. Semi-final of the Champions League. Raheem Sterling scores a goal in 94th minute. The goal went to VAR. It took four minutes for the goal to be reviewed. The goal was disallowed. I contacted Owen Cowzer football correspondent with Irish Sun told me “I think the decisions are a greater problem than the delays.” Ex-Referee Dermot Gallagher explained on skysports that the disallowed goal was the right decision. It’s getting to the stage now that you can’t celebrate a goal.

 

Technology

VAR stands for Video Assistant Referee. According to premier league VAR was trialled in an FA Cup match between Brighton vs Crystal Palace in January 2018 before coming into effect at 2018 World Cup. According to telegraph VAR was introduced into football which would help change controversial decisions. I contacted Miguel Delaney chief football writer with the Independent he said ”I think it is better that teams don’t suffer an injustice.” When I watched VAR in 2018 at Russia’s World Cup I thought it would be a great idea for referees. From 2015 until 2018 there were plenty of controversial decisions in football. I felt something had to be done to improve how referees control a football match.

 

Fans

Many football fans go mad when a goal gets reviewed. A survey on yougby stated 63% of fans believe football is less enjoyable with Var involved. A poll on 90min revealed that 2,000 supporters were interviewed and 80% of them said they wished to see VAR implemented in full quickly. I contacted Stephen Doyle sports commentator he said “as a fan it slows the game with delays for reviews.” I also contacted Vincent Hogan sports writer with Irish Independent he told me “a source of huge frustration because of the human decision-making behind it.” I believe it makes football less enjoyable with plenty of stoppages for each game.

 

Controversial

You could score the best goal of your life and it could be disallowed. An article on espn reported that 109 goals were affected by VAR in the Premier League last season. The article also says 42 goals were affected by VAR in the Premier League this season. Hogan also said “every decision takes at least two minutes to look at even if it’s an obvious decision.” I contacted Paul O’ Flynn sports reporter with RTE told me “the problem is that decisions change from game to game with inconsistency of video referee.” One of the problems with VAR is they’re disallowing goals for small things like your hand is offside. The video referee should benefit attacker more when allowing goals.

 

Positives

Most times VAR gives the right decision. According to thestatszone a study in 2018 showed only 57% of penalty decisions and goals scored went to VAR plus 69% of matches didn’t need a VAR replay. Paul O’ Flynn also said “it is great for highlighting clear and obvious mistakes.” I contacted Malachy Clerkin a sports journalist with Irish Independent he said “it reduces the amount of mistakes and leads to more fair play.” I think there are more positives to VAR than negatives but are forgotten about because football pundits like Alan Shearer, Matt LeTissier, Ian Wright and Peter Crouch constantly moan about it.

 

Opinions

A lot of football journalists have an opinion on VAR. Roberto Firmino scores a goal against Leicester. VAR were able to show that the ball didn’t cross the line by 10 millimetres. According to an independent survey it revealed that 2,000 supporters said goal line technology is best innovation in football over the last 30 years. Stephen Doyle also told me “a positive example of technology is goal-line technology in soccer.” Vincent Hogan also told me “goal-line technology has been great in football.” I contacted Daniel McDonnell a football correspondent with Irish Independent he said “goal-line technology is brilliant in most sports including football.” I think VAR has helped in improving goal-line technology because they have ability to show it straight away. I wish that goal-line technology would have been brought in early because Frank Lampard’s goal for England vs Germany wouldn’t have been disallowed in 2010.

 

Technology

According to theguardian first technology came into effect 8 years ago. Other sports technology like hawkeye in tennis was introduced in 2006 and has made tennis better. Stephen Doyle also said “hawkeye in gaelic and tennis has eliminated the possibility of human error.” Owen Cowzer also said “TMO in rugby works well it gives a good understanding for people watching it at home.” Paul O’ Flynn said “video referee in rugby has positive benefits especially when looking for serious foul play.” John Kenny commentator with RTE Sport said “DRS in cricket takes bad decisions out of umpires hands.” VAR and goal-line technology can learn from other sports that I mentioned above and use this to improve technology as well keeping it enjoyable.

 

#TooIntoYou campaign

#TooIntoYou campaign

 

WOMEN

#TooIntoYou campaign

paper heart breaking
Darius Apetrei

7th April 2021

 

Women’s Aid’s latest campaign, #TooIntoYou, launched in February 2021, is a campaign targeted at young people (aged 18-25) to help them identify unhealthy patterns in relationships and to aid them in reaching out for help. Research conducted by Women’s Aid has shown that: ‘1 in 5 young women, aged 18-25, experience intimate relationship abuse including emotional, physical and sexual abuse.’  

 

Women’s Aid, set up in 1974, is an Irish organization dedicated to raising awareness and aiding women who are victims of domestic violence. They provide a variety of services to women who are experiencing domestic and intimate relationship abuse, including court accompaniment, advice and information services, and housing support services. Another critical part of the work that Women’s Aid is engaged in is raising awareness of domestic violence, through campaigning and advocating on behalf of their clients in policy creation.  

 

There are a number of features of this campaign which make it specifically relevant to young people. The first striking aspect of the campaign is it’s clear and effective design in its leaflets, its social media and its website. Upon typing ‘Too Into You’ into Google, the first result is a dedicated website, laid out in a clear manner, with a number of different tabs depending on the information you are looking to acquire. These tabs include simple infographics, such as the ‘Spot the Danger Signs’ poster, to legal advice, to first-hand accounts of intimate relationship abuse written by young women.  

 

One of the most effective aspects of their website is the feature that allows visitors to complete a quiz designed to determine whether their relationship is healthy or unhealthy. The quiz is compiled of 10 different questions that tackle four key areas of relationship abuse: 

  1. Sexual abuse: ‘Have they ever forced or pressured you to do anything sexual that you didn’t want to do?’ 
  2. Physical abuse: ‘Do they ever hit, kick, or shove you?’  
  3. Online abuse: ‘Do they send you constant messages checking up on you when you’re not with them?’, ‘Do they ever go through your phone or laptop to see who you’ve been talking to?’, ‘Have they ever posted or shared any explicit images or videos of you online?’,  
  4. Coercive control/emotional abuse: ‘Does your partner complain that you don’t spend enough time with them?’, ‘Do they say anything about how you dress?’, ‘Do you feel like you are being watched or monitored by your partner?’, ‘Do you feel afraid to disagree with them in case they get angry?’, ‘Do you feel afraid to break up with them for any reason?’ 

This feature is a quick and effective method to allow site visitors to determine the healthiness of their relationship; ideal for a younger audience. The quiz draws attention to behaviours that may not initially seem like relationship abuse, such as coercive control or online abuse. The quiz also allows for answers that appear ‘less extreme’ – answers that some users may not believe to be intimate relationship abuse such as ‘Sometimes, they get annoyed at me if they don’t know what I’m up to’ as opposed to ‘Yes. They are always messaging me – they have to know what I’m doing and where I am every minute of the day’.  

 

When completing the quiz and choosing only these ‘middle ground’ answers, the same answer pops up as if one was to choose the most ‘extreme’ answers each time ; ‘If it feels wrong, it probably is’. This message is crucial to communicate to young people – that no matter the severity of the behaviours, the behaviours are still wrong in themselves, and that no one should feel even slightly unsafe or worried in a healthy and respectful relationship. 

 

The campaign also highlights that intimate relationship abuse and violence can occur in all types of relationships, even non-cohabiting partners – another aspect of the campaign which makes it especially relevant to young people. Their CEO, Sarah Benson, states: “We need to remember that you do not need to be living with a partner for them to target and abuse you when this can be achieved through digital and online means. The abuse can beam right into your home. This kind of abuse can disproportionately impact young adults. 

 

“Many mainstream depictions of domestic violence depict older couples living together, with the abuse occurring in the home. Most young couples, between the ages of 18-25, do not cohabit, and so abusers in these relationships often come up with different means of controlling their partner.”

Online abuse, by nature, can be all consuming and feel inescapable – in the modern age you are rarely without your phone, meaning that your abuser has access to you at all times. The #TooIntoYou campaign incorporates these important points into their campaign, making it especially relevant to young people. On the ‘Legal Protection’ section of the #TooIntoYou website, the opening sentence explains the changes that have been made to the Domestic Violence act which make a huge impact to young people in abusive relationships; ‘Recent changes to the Domestic Violence Act mean that you can now apply for a Safety Order in any intimate relationship – you do not have to be married or living together.’ 

 

The campaign makes an emphasis on the different mechanisms which abusers use when they do not live with their victims – specifically examining the issue of online coercive control. According to Women’s Aid, 1 in 5 young women have suffered intimate relationship abuse, and out of these women, 50% experienced online abuse. On one of the #TooIntoYou posters, one victim’s account of online abuse reads: ‘What had been several texts a day became an avalanche and it came to the point that I felt sick every time I heard the buzz of the mobile because I knew it was probably him.’. The campaign highlights different signs of both online abuse and general coercive control throughout their website, including under ‘The Ten Key Signs of Intimate Abuse’. This infographic is extremely helpful as the majority of it deals with non-traditional types of relationship abuse – coercive control and online abuse – types of behaviours that younger people may not view as relationship abuse.  

 

The campaign also has an entire section on their website dedicated to keeping yourself safe as a young person online. This section is presented in a very clear format, with the introductory paragraph beginning with the words ‘Online abuse is real abuse, and it’s not ok’. It includes explanations of how to keep accounts and your phone private, how to block abusers on varying social media sites, and procedures for what victims can do if they feel their account has been hacked/spied on.  

 

The #TooIntoYou campaign deals with the recent issue of image-based sexual abuse (IBSA). There has been a worrying rise in IBSA among young people over the last few years. Research conducted by Women’s Aid has shown that; ‘Half of young women abused by a partner experienced online abuse including having intimate images taken and shared without their consent.’ This troubling phenomenon came to light in the most recent ‘nudes leak’ in which a discord server used by up to 500 Irish men was exposed to be sharing over 140,000 intimate photographs of young women and underage girls (according to the Victims Alliance). This horrific discovery led to the creation of new legislation in December 2020, the ‘Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act 2020’, nicknamed ‘Coco’s Law’, which makes the act of sharing a person’s intimate images without their consent a crime. The #TooIntoYou campaign directly tackles this phenomenon. They deal with IBSA in their quiz, with Question 5; ‘Have they ever posted or shared any explicit images of videos of you online?’.  

 

The site also has an entire section dedicated to giving victims a step-to-step guide on what to do if their intimate images or videos have been shared without consent. This includes how to report content, whether it be on a pornographic site or a social media site, and how to report these instances to the Gardaí. This advice goes on step further, also addressing those who receive unsolicited explicit images – such as the sharing in male group chats of intimate images of women.   

 

Overall, this campaign makes an extremely effective attempt at reaching, interacting with, and educating its intended younger audience. It brings awareness to types of abuse that are rampant among young people, such as online abuse, image-based sexual abuse, and coercive control in a clear and effective way.  

 

 If you have been affected by any of the issues spoken about above, do not hesitate to get in touch with Women’s Aid for advice and support.

 

 

Featured photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash