Nearly half of women who use social media have been sexually victimised

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Nearly half of women who use social media say they have been sexually victimised.

The most frequent experience‚ according to the British Psychological Society‚ is being asked to share sexual images of themselves – followed by women receiving unsolicited sexual images and requests to talk about sex.

Over 250 women took part in an anonymous online survey about their cyber experiences‚ with nearly half of them reporting sexual victimisation. Of those‚ 41% had experienced threatening behaviour online‚ the most common being receiving offensive messages‚ while 38% had experienced humiliating contact and 15% had experienced sexual‚ threatening or humiliating contact. The nature of the humiliating content was not disclosed.

The research also revealed that women reported negative feelings about themselves and perpetrators as a result of cyber violence.

I think some men feel women are cheap and easy and will be flattered. Durban model

Yavi Maduray‚ a Johannesburg social media analyst‚ said: “Sexual harassment is as old as time but‚ with the advent of social media in our lives‚ it has magnified its impact because it becomes part of our daily routine of accessing social media.

“With the internet coming into our lives decades ago‚ there are different online sexual activations that are happening‚ both solicited and unsolicited.

“Online sites like Craigslist have become notorious for seedy sexual advancements‚ again‚ both wanted and unwanted. Social media is not necessarily the whole issue‚ it’s a factor‚ as it’s just another place where sexual activity‚ harassment and solicitation happens. It was happening anyway‚ it just takes it to another level.”

A Durban model – who did not want her identity revealed – has received explicit Facebook messages from people she is not friends with.

“Sometimes people inbox me … Geez‚ some of the things they say! Everything from ‘please will you marry me’‚ to ‘you’re a goddess’‚ to the stuff they want to do to me. I think some men feel women are cheap and easy and will be flattered.”

BY SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER

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