Ideally, the Internet and social media should be a safe and inclusive space for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and, at times, you may find yourself on the receiving end of sexual harassment and abuse. If this has happened or is currently happening to you, don’t worry, we are here to provide advice and support.
Firstly, let's cover the basics: What does it mean to be sexually harassed? And how might someone be sexually harassed online?
Online sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual conduct on any digital platform or social media site. ‘Unwanted sexual conduct’ can take many forms including receiving sexualised messages or images (e.g. ‘dick pics’), being the victim of sexualised bullying or experiencing intimate image abuse (also known as 'Revenge Porn').
Users commonly report sexual harassment on dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr. Sadly, it can also occur on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Online sexual harassment often occurs alongside harassment in the school or the workplace, and it can leave an individual feeling threatened, humiliated and discriminated against.
If you have experienced any of the above, you may now be asking yourself questions such as: What can I do if someone is sexually harassing me? How do I report sexual harassment online? And, is online sexual harasment against the law? Don’t panic! We're here to provide answers to these questions.
Firstly, if you are currently being sexually harassed, there are a number of places you can go for help and support. Sexual harassment is not tolerated on social networking sites and can be reported directly to these platforms. Sexual harassment can also be reported to commonly used dating sites, either in app or through the help centres. If you have been the victim of intimate image abuse, you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline for additonal support.
All sexual violence, including sexual harassment, is against the law and should be reported to the Police. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please contact 999.
Find out how to report unwanted sexual advances to commonly used social networking sites below: