Online communities: Vast virtual networks composed of millions of people who have met and formed relationships online. These communities tend to form around specific sites. Reddit, Tumblr, and Vine are three examples of popular sites with thriving, distinct cultures and hundreds of thousands of active community members. Video game communities are also popular, as guilds with hierarchical structures help organize players.
The YouTube community: The vibrant virtual network of people who have connected due to a shared interest in YouTube and the videos posted there. With more than one billion users, YouTube has established itself as the third most visited website in the world. Some people who upload videos to the site (referred to as creators) have amassed huge followings, which can range from thirty thousand to five million people. These fans connect with other fans through social media sites, sharing stories and jokes about their favorite videos and creators. From these interactions, a personal connection can sprout and friendships can form. Hundreds of thousands of people have connected with each other in this way. Sometimes, these virtual connections translate to the physical world, as tens of thousands of fans participate in informal meet-ups and formal conventions.
Consent: A voluntary, continuous, informed mutual decision between people to do something. Consent is absolutely required for any sexual activity. If someone is too drunk or high to drive, then they’re unable to consent. Silence is not consent. “Do you want to…”, “Can I…”, and “Is this okay?” are all ways to ask for consent.
Emotional abuse: Non-physical behaviors used to inflict psychological trauma on another person. This can include blackmail, stalking, starting rumors, harassment, calling names, and isolating someone from friends and family, as well as threatening to harm themselves or others.
Gaslighting: A form of emotional abuse where an abuser manipulates a victim into disbelieving themselves. The intent is to ensure that the abuser is always seen in a positive light.
Stalking: Unwanted obsessive attention directed towards someone. Stalking can include harassment, repeatedly sent messages, threats, and following.
Physical abuse: Unwanted physical contact or the threat of unwanted physical contact. This includes but is not limited to pushing, pinching, or grabbing someone, throwing things at someone, threatening someone with a weapon, and forcing someone into a sexual act. An action does not need to leave marks like scars or bruises to qualify as physical abuse.
Rape: Any attempted vaginal, oral, or anal penetration that has not been consented to. Any gender can experience this.
Sexual abuse: sexual activity that has not been consented to. This can occur in a physical or virtual context. Virtual sexual abuse occurs when a person is pressured into providing sexual content on an online platform (such as being repeatedly asked to provide nude photos via Skype). It can also occur when a person is sent sexual content without giving their consent first. See the above definitions for more information on physical sexual abuse.