WOMEN
09/23/2014 09:39 am ET Updated Sep 23, 2014

Is Online Harassment Of Women A Civil Rights Issue?

Sanna Pudas via Getty Images

The internet is not always a welcoming place for women.

This weekend, Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Hudgens became the latest celebrities to have private photosstolen from their phones and distributed on the internet. Recent attacks on these and other famous women have shined a spotlight on problems that non-celebrity women have been trying to get people to pay attention to for years, like revenge porn attacks and graphic threats of sexual assault.

University of Maryland legal scholar Danielle Citron is a leading expert on these issues. She says that when she started talking about them in 2008, she had trouble getting people to take them seriously. Many people portrayed online nastiness as an inevitable part of online discourse, and portrayed those who complained about harassment as whiners.

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