Online violence is serious, it causes real harm, and it’s silencing girls’ voices.
Every day, everywhere, girls are physically threatened, racially abused, sexually harassed, and body shamed online. With COVID-19 driving lockdowns around the globe, girls are spending more time online. This has increased their risk of online abuse and harassment.
Will you stand with girls around the world as they call on social media companies to take action?
Free To Be Online Report
For this report we spoke to 14,000 girls across 32 countries around the world about their experiences online. This is the largest ever survey of its type. We learnt that more than half have been harassed and abused on social media.
In all 32 countries, girls had been exposed to explicit messages, pornographic photos, cyberstalking and other distressing forms of abuse.
Most commonly girls were targeted with abusive and insulting language, reported by more than half (59%) of girls, followed by deliberate embarrassment (41%), body shaming and threats of sexual violence (both 39%).
The social media platforms designed to connect us as a global community, are drastically failing girls and young women. Inadequate reporting mechanisms are allowing harmful abuse slip through the cracks. Girls in all of their diversity, need to know that when they’re abused and threatened online, they can report it. That they’ll be listened to. That action will be taken, and that perpetrators will be held accountable.
What is 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence?
The 16 Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
It was started by activists at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to provide a spotlight every year for campaigns working to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence.
We often think of violence as a physical act causing physical harm. But for girls around the world, violence has many faces. It can be subtle and not easily recognised but still deeply damaging.
Hear From 20-year-old Faridah
Faridah is a youth activist with Plan International’s Safer Cities for Girls program in Kampala. Faridah believes that the recent increase in violence against girls and women is directly connected to COVID-19.
- – Faridah.