Internet Harassment: An Allegorical Tale


Imagine that there was a widespread issue in a particular community with meter readers harassing customers, doing things like stealing valuables, leaving threatening notes, vandalizing homes, etc.

Imagine that when customers complain about  these meter readers, they were told that, if they can’t handle these kinds of interactions, then they should simply opt out of the electrical grid and go without it.

We would scoff at such a ludicrous suggestion!  After all, although electricity isn’t strictly a necessity like food and water, asking someone to go without it would be a major, life changing inconvenience, would require them to forgo many of the experiences that they have come to expect as a part of life, just because they want to avoid the objectively objectionable actions of an abusive person.  We would put the burden of responsibility squarely on the employee and on the electric company, demanding that they take actions to protect their customers and to punish meter readers who act in such an appalling manner.  We would refuse to accept these kinds of actions as “just the price one has to pay” to participate in the electrified world.

Keep this story in mind the next time you hear that women who get harassed online should just log off if they can’t take it.

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