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katherine-clark

As someone who has been harassed online for things like reporting on #gamergate, Anita Sarkeesian, a Star Wars shirt that called Princess Leia “Most Likely to be Rescued,” the Spider-Woman variant cover, etc., I was pleased to learn that the Department of Justice is now going to take online harassment seriously. Look, I work on the Internet for a living. I have a pretty thick skin. However, when you have to discuss whether or not to get home security because you said something someone doesn’t like on the web, you realize that things are out of whack.

Democratic Massachusetts Representative Catherine Clark has petitioned the House of Representatives to add to their latest funding bill the mandate to “intensify its efforts to combat” online harassment. It worked. According to Clark’s website, the bill states:

Enforcement of Federal cyber-stalking and threat crimes.—The Committee is aware of concerns regarding increased instances of severe harassment, stalking, and threats transmitted in interstate commerce in violation of Federal law. These targeted attacks against Internet users, particularly women, have resulted in the release of personal information, forced individuals to flee their homes, has had a chilling effect on free expression, and are limiting access to economic opportunity. The Committee strongly urges the Department to intensify its efforts to combat this destructive abuse and expects to see increased investigations and prosecutions of these crimes.

This is largely something that affects women, though men are targeted as well. Her site says, “According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of adult internet users have witnessed online harassment, and 25 percent have seen someone threatened with physical violence. Another study by the University of Maryland reports that women receive sexually explicit or threatening messages 27 times more often than men.”

Clark herself said:

Enforcement of Federal cyber-stalking and threat crimes.—The Committee is aware of concerns regarding increased instances of severe harassment, stalking, and threats transmitted in interstate commerce in violation of Federal law. These targeted attacks against Internet users, particularly women, have resulted in the release of personal information, forced individuals to flee their homes, has had a chilling effect on free expression, and are limiting access to economic opportunity. The Committee strongly urges the Department to intensify its efforts to combat this destructive abuse and expects to see increased investigations and prosecutions of these crimes.

It’s about damn time.

(via Salon)

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Jenna Busch

Jenna Busch is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like Nerdist, ComingSoon.net, Metro, Birth. Movies. Death., IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, in the documentary She Makes Comics, on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and has covered film/TV/gaming/comics for years. She’s currently a co-host on Most Craved. She’s been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Game of Thrones Psychology and Star Trek Psychology and more, and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony trailer voice overs that give one nightmares.

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