Europe: Conference and Report Highlight Prevalence of Online Violence against Women
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:15 AM

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) recently organized a #HerNetHerRights conference to highlight the increasing global problem of online violence against women and to bring activists together to brainstorm solutions. The conference followed a June report from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on the nature and prevalence cyber violence against women, such as cyber stalking, non-consensual pornography or “revenge porn,” and online sexual harassment. Survivors of cyber violence, including one young woman from Denmark who was the victim of a revenge porn attack, spoke about how hard it is to remove abusive content from the internet or to punish perpetrators. Others pointed to the many links between online and offline violence, including physical and sexual violence, as well as the psychological harms suffered by victims. 

Both the EIGE report and the EWL conference noted the fragmented and ineffective approach of European policy makers to cyber violence and the lack of support for victims. However, some countries are exploring new approaches. For example, Denmark has recently strengthened criminal penalties for “perpetrators of non-consensual pornography.”

Compiled from: Williams, Claudia, Young Women Mobilise Against ‘Revenge Porn’ and Online Abuse, openDemocracy 50.50 (October 30, 2017); Cyber Violence against Women and Girls, EIGE (June 2017).