newsdons Sport Wales archive: ‘The amount of abuse I got was insane’The Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Welsh Government have launched a joint education programme to take on online hate towards girls and women.Abuse directed at female players in Wales in 2020-21 prompted the move.The FAW and Welsh Government say education is needed “on the negative impact online hate speech and misogyny can have on women and girls, not only in football, but across society”. Wales’ most-capped player Jess Fishlock has backed the initiative.Fishlock highlighted comments directed at players in Wales’ top tier competition, which included an example of hate speech directed at one player as well as misogynistic abuse aimed at others,”It was heart-breaking last year seeing the misogynistic abuse aimed at footballers from the league who were playing purely for their love of the game,” said Fishlock. “Trying to put someone down because of something they love, is not big, smart or funny. “I always say that people should think about how the person receiving the abuse could be affected before sharing and I’m glad to have worked with my Cymru team-mates and the FAW to further educate others on what is and isn’t acceptable online.”Educational resources for primary and secondary education, titled Tackling Online Misogyny are available on the Keeping Safe Online area of ‘Hwb’, the digital learning platform for teaching and learning in Wales. In a joint statementexternal-link the FAW and Welsh Government statement said the “resources developed by online safety experts are created to support practitioners to deliver lessons on this issue and help learners understand the importance of mutual respect between boys and girls, what online hate speech looks like, the term ‘toxic masculinity’ and what role it plays in driving online misogyny”. The statement added: “Both the FAW and Welsh Government understand that education is key to tackling the many forms of online hate and the two organisations felt it was important to collaborate following the online abuse aimed at female footballers witnessed across social media during the 20-21 season.” The Welsh education minister Jeremy Miles MS said: “Abuse, hate and harassment of women, whether it takes place online or offline, must not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to tackle it.”A key part of dealing with online misogyny is to make sure that there are resources to support these important conversations to take place. “It is vital to provide learners with opportunities to learn about their rights and the rights of others, as well as the impact of such abuse and the harm it causes.”Importantly, the resources raise awareness of how to safely challenge online abuse, so that we can all play a part in making the internet a safer place.”I’m very pleased we’re able to work alongside FAW to not just highlight online hate against women, but to tackle it.”FAW safeguarding and player welfare manager Sian Jones said: “At the FAW we want people to have an enjoyable and positive experience of football, both offline and online. “Football can be such a powerful tool for good and we are grateful to use the FAW’s platform to work with partners across Wales to continue to make a stand against online hate.”

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