Psychological Violence Against Arab Women in the Context of Social Media: Web-Based Questionnaire Study

Ramazan Ahmad, Araz (2021) Psychological Violence Against Arab Women in the Context of Social Media: Web-Based Questionnaire Study. JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH, 23 (8).

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Background: Social media provides women with varying platforms to express themselves, show their talents, communicate and expand their social relationships, and break the shackles imposed by their societies. Theoretically, social media can play a significant role in developing women’s freedom and decreasing social pressures; nonetheless, women continue to face violence during the social media era mainly in the form of psychological violence. Objective: This study aims to conduct an empirical in-depth analysis of how the digital space, particularly social media, provides men with new opportunities to surveil, restrict, harass, and intimidate feminists in Arab countries. Methods: This study includes an empirical survey to investigate what Arab women think are the causes and types of violence wielded against them and their perspectives on the impact of that violence. This study used a web-based questionnaire administered through Google Forms (n=1312) with responses from Arab women aged 15 years and above from all Arab countries. Results: We found that most Arab women feared posting an actual photograph of themselves on their social media accounts and only approximately one-third (490/1312, 37.3%) did so. Most women indicated that they encountered sexual harassment regardless of their age. Furthermore, most women were not aware of the legal aspects of this crime and even those who were aware indicated that they would not press charges for several reasons, including bringing dishonor upon their families, the time-consuming nature of litigation, and fear of revenge. Conclusions: This study shows that young and less educated women are more vulnerable to abuse from either social media users or being condemned by their families. This has several effects, including lower self-esteem and hesitancy in seeking a job, feelings of mistrust and fear, cynicism, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. These issues hold women back from using social media in positive ways and some consider leaving social media.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychological; violence; Arab women; social media; feminism; sociology; abuse; oppression; self-esteem
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Depositing User: ePrints deposit
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 08:46
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 08:46

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