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Online harassment hurting NZ women

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/07/2016

Nearly three-quarters of young New Zealand women have been harassed online and the problem is taking its toll, a survey says.

The Norton survey, Online Harassment: The New Zealand Woman's Experience, says 72 per cent of women under the age of 30 have been victim of harassment, ranging from unwanted contact, trolling, character assassinations, and cyberbullying to sexual harassment and threats of physical violence, rape and death.

Fifty-two per cent of all Kiwi women have been targeted.

The survey reveals the prevalence of online harassment against New Zealand women, says Norton by Symantec's Melissa Dempsey.

"It also exposes the high emotional toll online harassment is having on New Zealand women and brings to light the uncomfortable truth that some Kiwi women are feeling violated, abused and frightened by their online experiences."

The harassment is frequently of a sexual nature and sexually violent threats are "shockingly common".

One in seven have been affected by general threats of physical violence including death, rape and sexual assault.

This figure rose to nearly one in four for women aged under 30.

The harassment made women feel angry, irritated, frustrated and anxious.

"Disturbingly, some six per cent of New Zealand women felt suicidal."

Despite 70 per cent identifying online harassment as a serious problem in 2016, more than a third will ignore it and only 9 per cent report it to police.


* 10 per cent experienced graphic sexual harassment, rising to 18 per cent for under 30

* 21 per cent felt depressed

* 17 per cent felt helpless or vulnerable in their situation

* 14 per cent felt violated or abused and 11 per cent felt frightened

* 9 per cent needed to seek professional help for depression or anxiety

* 8 per cent had their work or studies suffer


* Do not respond

* Keep all records and evidence

* Report harassment

* Review online presence, check security and privacy settings, protect mobile devices and regularly change passwords

* Seek help if online harassment takes its toll on your wellbeing

* Netsafe also offers advice on how to combat and deal with harassment.

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