Is Online Harassment Getting Worse?

by Emma Cueto

As you are already doubtlessly aware, the harassment of women online is a big problem. And here to further prove that fact, Glamour magazine has a new survey on online bullying. Because even though no one has come up with a solution, we have plenty of evidence that it's a problem. In fact, many of the women surveyed by Glamour believe that problem is actually getting worse.

As part of their survey, Glamour received responses from 1,000 women ages 18 to 59. It's not exactly surprising they found that online bullying and harassment is a major problem; they're certainly not the first to come to this conclusion. Multiple studies back up these results.

A 2014 Pew Research survey found that young women, particularly those age 18 to 24 "experience certain severe types of harassment" — including stalking and sexual harassment — "at disproportionately high levels." A Women in Media report found that 25 percent of women have been sexually harassed online. One study found that up to one third of Americans admitted to having trolled someone, with men being far more likely culprits. In fact, there have been whole online movements characterized by their harassment of women, most notably Gamer Gate. And while most harassment online only exists online — though that can be in and of itself very damaging to a person's mental health, reputation, or ability to do their job — sometimes it can even put them in very real danger in the physical world, too.

But since apparently we need more evidence that this is an issue, here are seven key findings from the Glamour report on bullying and harassment, including some suggestions for how victims can best respond. Since, you know, it seems like for right now victims have to handle this stuff on their own.

1. 57 Percent Of Women Have Received Negative Comments On Social Media

Over half of all women surveyed say that they've gotten negative remarks on social media, which can range from trolling to shaming to name-calling to threatening behavior.

2. 35 Percent Say Things Have Gotten Worse In The Past Year

Only seven percent say that things have gotten better.

3. 10 Percent Say They Have Been Stalked In The Past Year

And eight percent have received physical threats.

4. 52 Of Victims Have Been Trolled By Someone They Know

Despite the fact that most people think being anonymous fuels trolling, it turns out that's not always the case. Though it's unlikely that half of all trolls are known to their victims, it seems that half of all victims have had at least one troll who is.

5. 49 Percent Say They Have Been Trolled By A Woman

Again, since men are more likely to admit to trolling, it's unlikely that half of all trolls are women, but half of all people have been trolled by a woman at least once.

6. 34 Percent Censor Themselves As A Result Of Trolling

So much for free speech.

7. 73 Percent of The Time, Reporting The Problem Shuts It Down

Even though social media platforms haven't all been great about creating ways to deal with trolls, 73 percent of people who did report their abuse say that it took care of the problem. So it's definitely a worthwhile tactic — even if we do need to get a lot better at this for the sake of the other 27 percent.

You can find more statistics and tips for how to handle online harassment and bullying at Glamour.

Images: Pixabay (2); Helga Weber/Flickr