STUDY: 7 in 10 girls and young women in PH experience online harassment

Plan International reveals the result of ‘Free to be online? Girls’ and young women’s experiences of online harassment’ report

Largest survey on online violence shows that 7 in 10 girls and young women in the Philippines have experienced harassment on social media. 

A new global research by girls’ rights organization Plan International reveals that more than half— or 58 percent— of girls and young women worldwide have been harassed or abused online. 

Launched on October 11 in celebration of the International Day of the Girl, the report ‘Free to be online? Girls’ and young women’s experiences of online harassment’ is based on a survey and in-depth interviews of over 14,000 girls aged 15-24 in 31 countries including the Philippines.   

The largest study of its kind, the report shows that girls who use social media in high and low-income countries alike are routinely subjected to different forms of online harassment and violence such as threats of sexual violence, sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, anti-LGBTIQ+ comments, racist comments, body-shaming, purposeful embarrassment, stalking, and abusive and insulting language.  


In the Philippine set up

In the Philippines, the survey reveals that nearly 7 in 10, or 68 percent, of girls and young women have experienced online harassment, specifically on social media. Majority of these girls also revealed that the harassment happens frequently (50 percent) or very frequently (33 percent). 8 out of 10, or 79 percent, said that they or other girls they know have received threats of sexual violence on social media.  

Further, 67 percent of the Filipino girls and young women surveyed said that they were harassed by people they know. 

The same research also shows that in the Philippines, girls and young women who identified themselves as having at least one intersecting characteristic (being from an ethnic minority, identifying as LGBTIQ+ or living with a disability) are more vulnerable to online violence.   

This study also reveals that while the survey was conducted across multiple continents, girls and young women share similar experiences of online harassment and discrimination. Majority of the girls and young women surveyed believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has made being online more important, but falling victim to online violence has been limiting their freedom of expression, driving them out of digital spaces, and leaving them emotionally stressed and feeling unsafe.  


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