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Online harassment: one in five women victim – Italian data

Data on online harassment in an Amnesty International survey: 16% of Italian women suffered them, 74% feared them and thought they were common.

An Amnesty International survey highlights how widespread online violence and harassment against women has lasting effects on victims.

Online harassment: one woman out of 5 victims

More than one in five women has been harassed or abused online, according to research by Amnesty International that examined over 4,000 women.

The vast majority of these harassments occur on the sites of social media, according to the report.

Almost half of the victims stated that abuses or harassment were sexist or misogynistic in nature and a quarter of women received physical or sexual threats.

Most harassment, almost 60 percent were racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic in nature, according to surveys.

"The Internet can be a terrifying and toxic place for women: not a secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this research shows how harmful the consequences of online abuse are to women being targeted", said Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty researcher on technology and human rights.

Online harassment of Italian data

In Italy, 16% are the percentage of women who have suffered online harassment, a lower figure than in the USA (33%) or Great Britain (22%) or Spain 19%.

online harassment Italy research amnesty International

But the high concern in Italy, indeed very high: 74% of Italian women say that harassment and even online violence are common.

Online Harassment Research Amnesty International

What is online harassment for Italian women?

In this chart, taken from Amnesty International research on online harassment, they sell what they are and what they are about.

Online Harassment Research Amnesty International

Online harassment leaves permanent damage

Of those who have been victims of harassment, 41 percent felt less secure in their daily lives because of the abuse they had experienced, and one in four feared for the safety of their families.

A vast majority of women also stated that they were worried about using the Internet after being targeted.

Online harassment of Amnesty International's research

In addition to sexist, racist or homophobic abuses, 17% of victims said they had found personal details or private photos shared online.

"This is not something that goes away when you disconnect. Imagine receiving death or rape threats when you open an app or live in fear that sexual and private photos will be shared online without your consent, "said Dhrodia.

Although social media companies have all publicized efforts to combat harassment and abuse, many say that not enough has been done. Both Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social media sites, do not handle abuses satisfactorily, according to the women interviewed.

"Social media companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, and must ensure that women who use their platforms are able to do so freely and without fear," said Dhrodia.

Another problem there lack of policies and laws to protect victims, noted Amnesty's report.

The organization called on governments to work towards appropriate legal structures to curb online harassment, without violating the right to free speech.