Welsh Lib Dem leader speaks out about ‘faceless brutes’ who target female politicians online
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds has spoken out about her personal experiences of “harmful” online misogyny towards female politicians.
The regional member for mid and west Wales raised concerns about the impact of online abuse following comments by Mark Drakeford who said such attacks have put women off standing for Welsh Labour.
Both Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles have so far secured enough nominations from Labour MSs to appear on the ballot for leader of their party.
But despite rumours of Eluned Morgan and Hannah Blythyn joining the race for the First Minister job, both have since ruled themselves out and there are currently no women expected to stand.
On Sunday, Mark Drakeford told Politics Wales that despite there being “hugely talented” women in the Labour group, people know they will be the target for “deeply unpleasant” attacks on social media.
Ms Dodds, who is the only female leader of a political party in Wales, said she herself has been subjected to abuse online from “cowards” who hide behind screens.
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “I welcome the First Minister’s condemnation of vile personal online attacks on female politicians, speaking from my own personal experience I know first hand how exhausting it can be to receive horrific abuse online.
“As the only female leader of a political party in Wales, I know all too well the perils of social media when it comes to abuse from cowards hiding behind their screens.
“The reaction that female politicians receive from certain sections of social media can be both emotionally and mentally draining.
“These so-called keyboard warriors represent the very worst of our society, faceless brutes with nothing better to do with their lives than spread their misery and hatred to others.
“More action must be taken to curb these trolls, whilst many of their comments are nothing but empty threats, the mental impact they have can be severe.
“We must do more to protect female politicians from harmful online abuse, whilst also at the same time encourage more women to get involved in politics”.
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