Backlash

A shocking story of four women leaders whose lives are overturned by cyber violence. They share a common cause: refusing to be silenced.

In fall 2017, the MeToo hashtag shook the planet, sparking an unprecedented wave of sexual assault accusations in the Western world. Today, the storm of virulent misogyny is raging on, flooding our screens with harassment, defamation, lynching, sextortion, the sharing of intimate photographs, rape and death threats. According to the UN, 73% of women are abused online.

The feature-length documentary Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age follows four women and one man whose lives have been ransacked by online violence: Laura Boldrini, the most harassed female politician in Italy; Kiah Morris, an African-American politician in the state of Vermont who resigned following severe harassment and threats from right-wing extremists; Marion Séclin, a French YouTuber who received more than 40,000 sexist messages, including rape and death threats; Laurence Gratton, a young teacher in Quebec who was harassed for more than five years by a former colleague; and Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who took her own life after photos of her rape were spread online.

What is it like to live with this so-called virtual violence? By closely following the victims in their daily lives, we witness in real time the waves of hate that assail them, the fear that invades their private lives, and the loss of their sense of security in public spaces. Their lives are marred by a loss of confidence and by shame.

Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age also shows how each of these women, and this man speaking in his late daughter’s name, are waging the same battle. They share a common cause: refusing to be silenced. Their journeys intertwine. They demand widespread accountability from those who allow the propagation of such hatred, whether it be the tech giants, the state, or the perpetrators themselves.

Why this unrelenting and systematic discrimination against women? Can we leave the screen now and shift the age-old paradigm?