Almost three quarters of New Zealand women under the age of 30 have experienced harassment online, a survey has shown.
The Norton survey, Online Harassment: The New Zealand Woman’s Experience, shows online harassment ranged from unwanted contact, trolling, character assassinations and cyberbullying to sexual harassment and threats of physical violence, rape and death.
The survey also revealed the significant emotional toll on women in New Zealand – despite 70 percent of New Zealand women identifying online harassment as a serious problem, more than a third chose to ignore it and just 9 per cent of New Zealand women reported perpetrators to police.
The harassment is frequently of a sexual nature – one in 10 women have experienced graphic sexual harassment, rising to nearly one in five for women under 30. In addition, one in four lesbian, bisexual and transgender women who had suffered serious harassment said their sexual orientation had been targeted.
According to the survey, 19 percent of women identified their physical appearance as being singled out in an attack, followed by weight and gender.
Social media, text messages and email were most commonly used to facilitate online harassment.
Lee Chisholm, Netsafe Training and Education Specialist, says females are more often targeted than males.