The Current

UN report on cyberviolence highlights rampant online issue

Two years ago, journalist Amanda Hess wrote about her experience with cyberviolence, threats that were frightening and relentless. A new UN report says almost three quarters of women and girls who use the internet have experienced cyberviolence. Today, we confront cybermisogyny.
Anita Sarkeesian, a survivor of cyber violence, speaks at the launch of the new UN report titled Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call. (UN Women/Ryan Brown)
In this report [by the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable  Development ], we are arguing that complacency and failure to address  cyberviolence  could significantly impede the uptake of broadband services by girls and women worldwide.  the net is an amazing resource for female empowerment and we need to ensure that as many girls and women as possible benefit from the amazing possibilities it offers.- Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief-Strategic Planning at the ITU

The future may be on the Internet – but it's still far too dangerous a place for women. 

According to a UN report, nearly three quarters of women and girls have experienced some form of what they call "cyberviolence." 

Soraya Chemaly is a writer, activist and Director of The Speech Project for the Women's Media Center – a U.S. organization which advocates in media. She was in Washington, D.C.

The United Nations report that got us talking about this topic today is titled, "Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Wake Up Call." And part of its warning is that, without addressing this problem, we could be facing a gender gap online.

Kendra Milne is the Director of Law Reform at West Coast LEAF – a group using the law to further women's rights. Last year, her group published its own report on this issue in Canada. Kendra Milne was in Vancouver.  

Ken White has been active online with his own free-speech blog called Popehat. He's written his thoughts there questioning this UN report. Ken White is a First Amendment litigator at the law firm Brown, White & Osborn in Los Angeles.

We'd like to hear your stories on the topic of cyberviolence against women. Is it something you've experienced or do you have thoughts on how best to change behaviour online?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry, Naheed Mustafa and Leif Zapf-Gilje.