GET THE FACTS

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Percent of Americans have a smartphone that connects to the internet-exposing them to possible threats

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Percent of internet users have witnessed at least one harassing behavior online

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Percent of internet users have experienced online harassment or abuse

Who Experiences Cyber Assault and Abuse?
  • Between 25%[1] and 40%[2] of American adult Internet users say they have been harassed online
  • 45% report experiencing “more severe” kinds of harassment[3]
  • 57% of people reporting harassment in the US are women[4]
  • An 11-year analysis of online harassment cases found that women made up 72% of victims and men 47.5% of perpetrators.[5]
  • Chatroom participants with female usernames are sent threatening and/or sexually explicit private messages 25 times more often than those with male or ambiguous usernames.[6]
  • Close to two-thirds of women journalists report experiencing threats, sexist abuse, intimidation, threats, and harassment in the course of doing their work[7]
  • Women journalists also report that more than 25% of the “verbal, written and/or physical intimidation including threats to family or friends” they receive happens online
  • 21.1% of surveyed women journalists report experiencing digital/online account surveillance[8]
  • 20.3% of women journalists report email or other digital/online account hacking[9]
Who’s Doing the Harassing?
  • 67% know their harassers. Among people under 35, that number rises to 71%[10]
  • 63% of American women online report knowing someone who has been targeted online, compared to 37% of men[11]
  • 26% of people reporting abuse say they don’t know their harasser’s or harassers’ real identities[12]
  • Women are more likely to use social media than men. Sixty-two percent of people who reporting harassment experienced it on Facebook, 24% Twitter, 20% via email and 18% YouTube.[13]
Intersectionality: How Does Abuse Vary?
  • Men are more likely to experience abuse as name-calling
  • Women experience higher rates of sustained abuse involving sexual harassment, stalking and intimate partner violence
  • 25% of young women have been sexually harassed online, compared to 13% of young men
  • 26% of young women report being cyber-stalked
  • 7% of young men report being cyber-stalked
  • 32% of Asians, 32% of Hispanic, 28% of Blacks and 23% of Caucasians report online harassment[14]
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens experience almost three times as much bullying and harassment online as their straight and cisgender peers.[15] Forty-two percent of LGBTQ youth report being bullied or harassed online versus 15% of non-LGTB peers[16]
  • LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be bullied via text message[17]
  • 32% of LGBT youth, almost four times the percentage of non-LGBT youth, report being sexually harassed online (8%)
  • In addition to increased risk of physical threats and name calling experienced by male peers, women between 18-24 years experience high rates of sustained harassment and stalking.[18]
  • Feminine user names online can generate up to 25x the incidence of targeted, gendered abuse
  • Despite women making up 52% of the gaming market[19], up to 70% of girl and women gamers hide their gender in order to avoid online harassment
  • Teenage girls are 2-3X more likely than boys to say they are experiencing “uncomfortable flirting” online
  • Teenage girls cite risk and the threat of harm and violence as a major inhibitor to their online public participation
How are People Experiencing Abuse as Part of “Real World” Violence?
  • One in three women in the US experiences domestic violence. Nearly 90% of domestic abuse shelters and programs report that abusers have spied, intimidated and made threats using electronic media[20]
  • 75% of programs report abusers using victim’s social media and online accounts without consent
  • One in 10 intimate partners threaten an ex with non-consensual sharing of sexual images[21]
  • 60% of those who threaten to share non-consensual pornography carry out their threats[22]
  • 90% of reported “revenge porn” targets are women[23]
  • 48% report being stalked or persistently harassed by people who had seen the non-consensual pornography shared
  • 27% of LGTBQ youth report not feeling safe online, 30% report not feeling safe at school and 29% while traveling to and from school
  • Researchers at the UK based research institute Demos found that between December 2013 and February 2014 there were 100,000 instances of the word ‘rape’ used by UK-based Twitter accounts. They estimated that 12 per cent were threatening. On Twitter, women, and men both use gendered slur ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ in casual and derogatory ways. During the same two-month period, researchers found 131,000 instances of ‘slut’ and ‘whore,’ approximately 18% of them misogynistic. Researchers concluded that the use of “rape,” “slut,” and “whore” were instances of normalized, “casual misogyny.” The words “bitch” and “cunt” were not measured.[24]
  • In 21.5% of cases reported to Halt Online Abuse, online harassment included offline threats[25]
Stalking and Harassment
  • One in 6 women and one in 19 men are stalked during their lifetimes. Less conservative estimates that define stalking as a reflection of fear felt by targets makes those numbers 1 in 4 women and one in 13 men.[26]
  • 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week
  • 25% of stalking victims report cyber stalking, for example, 83% get e-mails from their stalkers
  • 11% of victims are stalked for 5 years or more
  • Almost 75% of stalking victims know their stalkers
  • A study of abused women in the UK found that 41% say partners or ex-partners tracked them using online and mobile apps[27]
  • 85% of the shelters surveyed report victims whose abusers tracked them using GPS and hidden apps[28]
Impact on Users
  • Women are two times more likely than men to find harassment “extremely upsetting,” and 2.5X more likely to say it is “very upsetting.”
  • Thirty-seven percent of people who are stalked, sexually harassed or abused for a sustained period of time report being “extremely” or “very” upsetting, twice the rate as those who only experienced name-calling or embarrassment. [29]
  • Men are almost three times as likely to find harassment “Not at all upsetting.” [30]
  • More than 80% of people who had experienced name-balling or embarrassment meant to embarrass said they suffered no reputational harm, compared to almost a third of those who had experienced sustained harassment, physical threats or sexual harassment.[31]
  • 93% of victims of non-consensual pornography (90% of whom are women) report “significant emotional distress.
  • More than 50% of stalking victims lose five or more days from work.
  • Two-thirds of stalkers make harassing or threatening contact with their victims at least once per week the vast majority (78%) use more than one means of approach. In 20% of cases, they use weapons.
  • 29% of people who report harassment say they felt “scared for my life.”
  • 20% of people who report harassment say they were “scared to leave my house.”
  • 20% of people who report harassment say they feared negative impacts on their professional lives.
  • 23.3% of women surveyed said that they were blamed for the online abuse[32]
  • Researchers have found that for female victims of nonconsensual sexting and coercion, the effects are possibly more traumatic than for traditional forms of partner aggression.
  • Sixty-seven percent of people who have experienced stalking, physical threats, sustained or sexual harassment takes multiple steps to protect themselves compared to those who experience name-calling and embarrassment (30%).[33]
  • 10% of people reporting abuse withdrew from the online forum where it took place[34]
  • 8% of people reporting abuse altered their offline behavior by not attending certain events or going to certain places[35]
  • 69.8% of women journalists report that the organizations they work for do not provide any measures to protect employee’s personal security[36]
  • Women incur costs associated with securing their physical security (security and self-defense training), higher expenses related to secure transportation and
  • For journalists, extra costs include specialized equipment, extra security measures, digital security training, counseling for trauma and secondary trauma.
The Benefits of Online Engagement
  • 81% of LGBT youth searched for health and medical information compared to 46% of non-LGBT peers (46%)
  • 50% reported having at least one close online friend, compared to only 19% of non-LGBT peers
  • Two-thirds of LGBT youth (62%) had used the Internet to connect with other LGBT people in the past year. More than 1 in 10 LGBT youth (14%) said that they had first disclosed their LGBT identity to someone online
Sources

[1] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[2] 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 2014

[3] 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 2014

[4] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[5] Halt Abuse Cumulative 2000-2011 Reports

[6] Assessing the Attack Threat due to IRC Channels, University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, 2006

[7] Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture, International Women’s Media Foundation, 2014

[8] Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture, International Women’s Media Foundation, 2014

[9] Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture, International Women’s Media Foundation, 2014

[10] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[11] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[12] 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 2014

[13] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[14] Rad Campaign Online Harassment Survey, 2014

[15] GLSEN’s Out Online: The Experiences of LGTBQ Youth On the Internet, 2013

[16] GLSEN’s Out Online: The Experiences of LGTBQ Youth On the Internet, 2013

[17] GLSEN’s Out Online: The Experiences of LGTBQ Youth On the Internet, 2013

[18] 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 2014

[19] Internet Advertising Bureau, 2014

[20] NNEDV Technology Abuse: Experiences of Survivors and Victim Service Agencies

[21] End Revenge Porn, 2014

[22] End Revenge Porn, 2014

[23] End Revenge Porn, 2014

[24] Misogyny in Twitter, Demos, May 2014

[25] Halt Abuse Cumulative 2000-2011 Reports

[26] CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)

[27] Women’s Aid Annual Survey, 2014

[28] NNEDV Technology Abuse: Experience of Survivors and Victim Services Agencies

[29] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[30] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[31] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[32] Cyberviolence Against Women, Battered Women Support Services, Jessica West, May 2014

[33] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[34] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[35] 2014 Pew Research Center survey

[36] Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture, International Women’s Media Foundation, 2014

 

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