One in twenty: sexual harassment is widespread in European internet

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One in twenty Dutch people aged 16 or over has experienced sexual harassment on the internet. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), This means more than 750,000 victims.

The Statistical Office, commissioned by the scientific research and Documentation Centre (WODC), conducted a sample of 30,000 people in March and April last year. CBS asked about their experiences with online sexual harassment in the past twelve months.

Women were found to be most affected, especially young ones. Many victims have been confronted with sexually offensive remarks, jokes or unwanted nude photos or sex videos. It is also relatively common for someone to insist on a date or ask to send sexual photos or videos.

Almost 7 percent of women have experienced unwanted sexual behavior on the internet. That’s about one and a half times more than men. Young women are much more affected by this, namely 30% of women aged 16-18 and 23% of women aged 18-24. Bisexuals, especially women, and homosexuals are also often confronted with unwanted sexual experiences on the internet.

Usually online sexual harassment is about one or a few experiences. One in ten victims has suffered structural damage, at least once a month.

Six out of ten victims have discussed the annoying online experience with someone. They usually confided in a friend, girlfriend, partner or relative. A small group enlists an aid worker, such as a doctor or psychologist.

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