Free To Be Online? brings together the voices and experiences of over 14,000 girls across many continents. It aims at uncovering and understanding their experiences being online: what platforms they use, what is their experience of harassment, who are the perpetrators, the impact of harassment on them.
Girls are harassed just for being girls and it gets worse if they speak up about issues they care about. Race, sexuality and disability are targeted too. Nowhere feels safe, and for many, online harassment that follows them into their homes, and invades their hearts and minds, is just as frightening, physically and emotionally, as street harassment. The two are interwoven – the result of underlying misogyny that is determined to keep girls and women “in their place.”Perpetrators who threaten rape and physical violence, use abusive and sexist language, post manipulated photos and send pornographic pictures are able to remain anonymous and unconstrained; girls are often afraid, begin to restrict what they post and are forced to try and protect themselves. It is time for this to stop. Girls and young women are demanding change. Their experiences are not “normal” and girls should not have to put up with behaviour online which would be criminal on the streets. Governments and social media companies must take action.Governments and society as a whole need to monitor this abuse rigorously and social media companies must use their technological skills and financial resources to put freedom online for girls and young women at the heart of their agenda.
Free to be online? Girl's and young women's experiences of online harassment (pdf, 404 kb, 4 pp)
Free to be online? Erfahrungen von Mädchen und jungen Frauen mit digitaler Gewalt (pdf, 695 kb, 8 S.)