‘It’s not a compliment’: mapping survivors’ justice needs on Instagram
Dr Tully O’Neill1, Dr Bianca Fileborn
Instagram and other social media can be significant tools for activism, particularly when it comes to feminist issues like street harassment that tend to be downplayed as ‘harmless’ or ‘a compliment’. Street harassment is a form of sexual violence with uniquely ‘invisible’ harms, and as a result digital activism is one way that survivors can make these harms visible and advocate for changes in how society responds. Although criminological scholarship has begun to draw connections between social media activism and justice for street harassment, there is a gap in this research in exploring the specific affordances of Instagram as a site that meets victim-survivors justice needs. Utilising content analysis, this paper examines the ways that three street harassment activist accounts on Instagram have the potential to meet survivors’ justice needs. The analysis outlines a specific discursive function of comments to activist posts, revealing a relationship between image and text that highlights the various ways of engaging with Instagram allows justice needs to be fulfilled in amorphous ways.
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