Some online abuse comes cloaked in compliments: unwelcome objectification is the favoured brand of harassment on LinkedIn
“Hey gorgeous… I’d like to join your professional network. (Because then it will be easier for me to harass you with unwanted attention and inappropriate comments that objectify you and undermine you in the context of a platform you’re using to advance your career or market your business.)”
When Informed Opinions started developing our programming responses to online abuse (including our already available Toxic Hush Action Tool Kit, soon-to-launch research app and the peoples’ tribunal we have planned for late spring) we didn’t flag LinkedIn as a platform of concern. We’ve since been disabused of its innocence.
Indeed, one of the women in our database went so far as to add the retrograde “Mrs” to her profile in order to discourage guys unclear on the concept of “professional networking and career development” from hitting on her. (Sadly, it didn’t make the kind of difference she’d hoped.)
Which makes you wonder: maybe instead of reporting the harassment to the platform (see CTV News article here), women should report it to the employer of the harasser (assuming he has one). Because maybe organizations would like to know that guys in their employment are human rights cases waiting to happen.