As a community and platform dedicated to personal safety in all spaces, we recognize that online sexual harassment is a serious issue that deserves more attention. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it's the perfect time to start the conversation about the subtle signs of online sexual harassment, of which everyone can be a victim.
Online sexual harassment is often overlooked, but it's a form of harassment that can have long-term consequences. Many people who experience online sexual harassment may feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it, so it's important to recognize the signs and take action.
For that reason, we've created a list of subtle signs of online sexual harassment so you can identify them immediately and be more alert in you and your family’s digital spaces.
Unwanted sexual comments are a common form of online sexual harassment. These comments can be made in public or private channels and can be directed at an individual or a group of people. They can make the recipient feel uncomfortable or even violated.
Be aware that every time you receive an unwanted comment, you can report this person or group of people through the app or platform you are using. At the same time, you can alert your closest friends and family so they know about this case and can create a plan in case an emergency arises.
Sexual advances can come in many forms, such as unwanted messages or explicit images. These advances are often unsolicited and can be particularly distressing when they come from someone the recipient knows.
In this scenario, you can also report this person through the platform you are using. And as another preventive measure, you could start collecting all the evidence of sexual approach which would be helpful in case you initiate a police complaint.
Cyberstalking is a form of online harassment that involves repeated, unwanted contact or threats. It can include monitoring someone's online activity, tracking their location, or using technology to harass or intimidate them.
You can also read: This Could Happen to You: A Blog about Awareness and Dealing with Stalkers, our blog about stalking awareness.
Non-consensual sharing of intimate content is a particularly harmful form of online sexual harassment. It involves the distribution of intimate images or videos without the consent of the person depicted. This can have serious consequences, including emotional distress and reputational damage.
Coercion involves using threats or pressure to force someone into engaging in sexual activity or sharing intimate content. This can be particularly insidious online, where perpetrators can remain anonymous and use multiple channels to contact their victims.
Trolling is a form of online harassment that involves intentionally posting inflammatory or offensive comments or content to provoke a reaction. While not always sexual in nature, it can be used to target individuals or groups based on their gender or sexuality.
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Unwanted contact can include persistent messaging, calls, or emails from someone who the recipient does not want to engage with. This can be particularly distressing when the contact is sexual in nature.
Gaslighting involves manipulating someone into doubting their own perceptions or memories. It can be used to make victims of online sexual harassment feel like they are overreacting or imagining things.
Recognizing the signs of online sexual harassment is an essential first step in addressing this issue. It's important to remember that no one deserves to be harassed online, and there are resources available for those who have experienced this type of abuse.
If you or someone you know is experiencing online sexual harassment, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. This includes blocking and reporting the perpetrator, preserving evidence, and seeking support from friends, family, or professional organizations.
We are committed to creating awareness about online sexual harassment and supporting those who have experienced it. We hope that this blog has shed light on the subtle signs of online sexual harassment and encouraged more people to speak out and take action for their personal safety.
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