Cyberbullying in Mexico doesn't discriminate gender

In 2015, MOCIBA reported that 24.5% of Mexicans aged 12 or more have been victims of cyberbullying – most of the victims are men
Illustrations by Dante de la Vega/EL UNIVERSAL
26/02/2018
11:00
Montserrat Peralta
Mexico City
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In 2015, the Cyberbullying Module (MOCIBA) – the only of its kind in Mexico – reported that 24.5% of Mexicans aged 12 or more have been victims of cyberbullying, a form of violence and harassment that takes place over digital devices.

According to the data of this organization, 52.1% of victims are men, followed closely by women, with 47.9%. The most vulnerable are those between the ages 20 to 29, accounting for 34.8% of the cases, followed by those aged 12 to 19.

The MOCIBA report states that 89% of attackers are strangers; 9.3% acquaintances; 6.6% friends; 3% classmates or colleagues from work; 2% are former or current partners; 0.9% relatives.

Mexican society believes men have to be "strong and brave", reason why it wasn't until recently that they were also seen as victims or vulnerable to any kind of violence, including cyberbullying, claims during an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, René López Pérez, in charge of the Research Subprogram of the civil society association Gender and Development (GENDES), whose main objective is to encourage critical and positive analysis on masculinity, and foster a social development based on egalitarian relationships.

Felipe, a young college student, went to a work interview where he met Iker, a member of the Human Resources team of the company listing the vacancy Felipe had applied for. Iker began to call him and send him messages through WhatsApp, saying he needed this and that document – but always asked to see him outside of the office – at a restaurant – because it was “urgent.”

Iker then began to send Felipe friendship request to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and two weeks later he told him there were some problems with his job application, but that he liked Felipe very much and could help him get hired for another vacancy with better wages. Felipe told him he wasn't interested in the offer and left. Yet Iker didn't stop there. He kept calling and messaging Felipe. “I had over 40 missed calls a day,” he remembers.

Felipe erased Iker from his social networks and blocked him but Iker showed up at Felipe's address – which he got from Felipe's CV – and began putting up photos of Felipe with insulting messages at his home and university. He even confronted Felipe's girlfriend and told her they had been having an affair.

Felipe says that when he filed a harassment complaint against Iker, the Public Prosecutor's Office sided with his attacker. For the officer, “I was discriminating [Iker] for his sexual preference. I was guilty, I provoked him.”

For René López, men usually do not file complaints because they believe they will be perceived as “weak”, as incapable of “defending themselves”, that they aren't “man enough” to deal with the situation. A perspective also shared, at times, by the authorities.

Dealing with cyberbullying

Some of the measures both men and women take to deal with cyberbullying, according to the study, are the following:

-Ignore the situation, in case of spam, viruses, or phone calls.
-Block the person when they have received messages or when harmful information has been posted about them.

López, who has a graduate degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy and has studies on public policies and discrimination, says cyberbullying is the reflection of our current environment: violence and lack of empathy and unity.

He says that newer technologies are addressed to the younger generations yet by not being exclusively used by them “sometimes adults don't understand the ways violence generates there and, thus, aren't prepared to handle it.”

Stigmatization

Psychologist Carlos Zavala says that violence against women has been “normalized,” as it is seen more frequently as something “natural”. Yet violence toward men has more stigmas and prejudices because it's seen as something “anti-natural” and for this reason, men prefer to remain silent if they suffer from some form of violence because they don't want to be seen as victims and objects of ridicule.

The psychologist claims that because men find it harder to accept they have a problem and ask for help, the statistics, in this matter and for this group, aren't a faithful reflection of the real number of cases out there.
 

Artículo

9 million women are victims of cyberbullying

Just like the men, women aged 20 to 29 are the most at risk of being victims of cyberbullying – in 86% of the cases, the perpetrators are strangers
9 million women are victims of cyberbullying9 million women are victims of cyberbullying

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