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Digital violence can affect anyone

WEISSER RING

28 March 2024

WEISSER RING warns about digital violence on the internet

What do US pop star Taylor Swift and senior citizens have in common? They all became victims of digital violence last year: Swift by fake nude photos, the senior citizens by online scammers. Those examples are showing how digital violence can look like and that anyone could be a victim. With its annual theme for 2024, WEISSER RING wants to highlight the dimensions of the problem and is driving a special attention to it – also in order to provide information on how to protect yourself.

Digital violence covers a large spectrum of various criminal acts on the internet. There’s one thing these crimes are having in common, they are committed within the digital space and/or by using digital communication such as email or text messages. Smartphones and computers are now an integral part of our lives. Digitalisation has changed and accelerated many areas of everyday life and will continue to do so with great technical steps. As many of these positive aspects of the internet accure, they also have their dark sides. Subjects which moves and influences people in real life will also be going viral on the world wide web. The current world events, wars, the heated atmosphere or the increasing brutalisation of society are only a few examples. The internet is becoming a large platform for fraud, violence, hatred and hate speech.

The language on social networks in particular is often very rude and harsh. The derogatory and often inhumane content is usually directed towards weaker people and minorities, such as women, homosexuals and migrants. Even people in public life or public services as well as celebrities are affected. The fact that words are followed by deeds is not an individual case. Digital violence can become analog violence and vice versa. Both forms often occur simultaneously.

In 2024, WEISSER RING has therefore set itself the task of raising awareness of digital violence and associated danger on the internet. We also inform how cyber criminals are operating, which vulnerabilities they exploit and we provide a wealth of knowledge as the best protection. WEISSER RING also shows people who are interested or have been already been a victim what they can do in an emergency if they are affected by digital violence and supports them in getting out of their predicament. After all, material losses are usually not the most serious consequences. It’s more that victims suffer from physical, psychological and social impairments that cause deep cuts. People who have already been affected by digital violence question themselves, they feel ashamed and suffer a massive loss of trust in their fellow human beings and society.

WEISSER RING was founded in Mainz in 1976 as a “non-profit association for the support of victims of crime and the prevention of criminal offenses”. It is Germany’s largest aid organisation for victims of crime. The association maintains a network of almost 3,000 volunteer, professionally trained victim helpers in almost 400 branch offices nationwide, on the victim hotline and in online counseling. WEISSER RING has more than 100,000 supporters and is divided into 18 regional associations. WEISSER RING is an expert and recognised contact for politics, the judiciary, administration, academia and the media in all matters relating to victim support. The association finances its activities exclusively from membership fees, donations and testamentary donations as well as fines imposed by courts and public prosecutors. WEISSER RING does not receive any state funding.
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