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Online Safety for Women and Girls: A Guide to Combating Online Harassment

Last updated: October 18, 2022

Online harassment is a growing problem. Unfortunately, this problem is even worse for women and girls. According to a Pew Research report, 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. Another report states women are twice as likely as men to report online harassment. 

We must treat online harassment as a serious issue. Online harassment towards women and girls is a common issue with long-lasting effects. The psychological harm from harassment can harm women’s mental wellness. It can also impact their personal and professional lives. 

Women must have resources and support to turn to when harassment occurs. The general public must also be educated about what makes up harassment and understands the harm it causes. 

An awareness of different types of harassment is helpful to identify and prevent it. Learning how to avoid and report it can reduce its damaging effects. Online platforms can expose women and girls to many forms of harassment. We should be aware of the many ways online harassment can take place, how to avoid it, and how to deal with it when it occurs. 

Identifying Harassment

Uncertain if you or a loved one are experiencing online harassment? There are certain signs of harassment to be on the lookout for. You may be experiencing harassment if any of the following are true:

  • Someone is saying or doing something that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Someone repeatedly does something that makes you feel uncomfortable despite you asking them to stop.
  • Someone is threatening you. Direct or implied threats should be treated seriously.
  • Someone is blackmailing you. If someone is threatening to reveal info about you in return for money, images, or favors, they are committing blackmail.
  • Someone is directly or indirectly using a position of power to control or silence you. 
  • A person in a position of power is refusing to acknowledge your achievements or is unreasonable in their use of punishments.
  • You are being told not to tell anyone else about something that is going on.
  • Someone is making things up about you. 
  • Someone has made a fake online profile for you. If you find an account that is impersonating you, you should report it. 
  • Someone is trying to sabotage your educational or professional life. 
  • You dread interacting with a particular person or group of people. </