Ashley Judd is a talented actress – but she’s also a well spoken, strong, intelligent, beautiful woman who is entitled to an online world that doesn’t judge and disrespect her. The difference is that she believes that all women and girls deserve that – and indeed are entitled to that. Last October, she gave a TED talk titled “How Online Abuse of Women has spiraled out of Control,” where she talks about her personal experiences with online abuse, and the diatribe that exists when people can hide in online anonymity.
It’s worth the fifteen or so minutes to listen to what she has to say. What I took away from it is that there’s a shared responsibility – and while Judd’s talk was before the 2016 election, it’s all the more relevant in the era of the Trump administration. One of the things that makes democracies work is the idea of civic responsibility – it’s why we pay taxes that pay our firefighters, whether or not you ever need their help. And Judd’s argument is that we need to all play our parts – from law enforcement to tech influencers, from white men to our elected representatives.
So apparently, I’ve got a pretty bold voice. So, let’s talk about our friends … white men. You have a role to play and a choice to make. You can do something, or you can do nothing...We need to grow support lines and help groups, so victims can help each other when their lives and finances have been derailed. We must as individuals disrupt gender violence as it is happening. 92 percent of young people 29 and under witness it. 72 percent of us have witnessed it. We must have the courage and urgency to practice stopping it as it is unfolding.
A final note – if you’re inspired to learn more about her work, as a starting point, you can check out the women’s speech project.