Learn More About Online Violence

Online violence is a type of violence and abuse which creates a hostile online environment with the aim of shaming, intimidating or degrading users. International research has shown that women are disproportionately targeted as well as people of color, non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and ethnic and religious minorites. Online abuse comprises a range of tactics and malicious behaviors that may include sharing embarrassing or cruel content about a person, impersonation, doxxing and violent threats, amongst others.

Learn more about online violence, its effects, and how to help with the following resources.

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What is online abuse?

PEN America describes online abuse as the “pervasive or severe targeting of an individual or group online through harmful behavior.” The glossary of terms describes abusive tactics that writers and journalists face, as well as provides examples and tips on what to do. 

Who is targeted?

Research by UNESCO and International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) has shown online violence disproportionately targets women journalists, people of color, non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and ethnic and religious minorites

The Committee to Protect Journalists found in a 2019 survey that online harassment is the biggest safety threat for 90 percent of female and gender non-conforming journalists surveyed in the United States and Canada. 

Journalists covering topics like corruption or topics related to gender or considered as taboos are also mainly targeted at an international level, shows Reporters without Borders.

What are the consequences?

Seventy three percent of female journalists in the world have already experienced online violence, states UNESCO and ICFJ. And this is having a serious impact on freedom of expression, according to a study published in 2018 by IWMF and TrollBusters, nearly one third of female journalists envision leaving the profession because of online violence.

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