Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA)

WHOA is a volunteer organization founded in 1997 to fight online harassment through education of the general public, education of law enforcement personnel, and empowerment of victims. The mission of WHOA is to educate the Internet community about online harassment, empower victims of harassment, and formulate voluntary policies that systems administrators can adopt in order to create harassment-free environments. We've also formulated voluntary policies which we encourage online communities to adopt in order to create safe and welcoming environments for all internet users.

Our president, Jayne Hitchcock, is a cyberbullying and cybercrime expert and regularly speaks at conferences training law enforcement personnel and other interested parties, as well as schools (elementary, middle and high), colleges/universities, libraries and more.

Our volunteers work with people currently experiencing online harassment, and help others to learn how to avoid such harassment or minimize its impact if it does occur. Our president, Jayne Hitchcock, regularly speaks at various conferences and seminars, training law enforcement personnel and other interested parties. She also lobbies for better federal and state laws to deter cyberstalkers and give victims more options to stop harassment. Jayne and some of our other volunteers are also available for press interviews.

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WHOA fully supports the right to free speech both online and off, but asserts that free speech is not protected when it involves threats to the emotional or physical safety of anyone. WHOA further asserts that online harassment is about power in a community: a power structure that has tended to accept or ignore harassment rather than actively seek to cease it.

While WHOA does not wish to single any group out as an enemy, we recognize and celebrate that the tide of the community is changing as people from all walks of life begin to become active participants online. As such, we must begin to assert our power as a group of concerned individuals (no matter what our backgrounds)  toward the protection of all people online against harassment targeted against them based on gender, sexual preference, race, ethnicity, age or privilege. WHOA welcomes anyone who demonstrates sensitivity toward the issues of harassment and a willingness to support our cause.

Now available - Download a printable, two-sided online safety brochure!

For more tips, resources and information about cyberstalking and other related situations, visit the web site of the book Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, written by our president Jayne Hitchcock.

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