In October 2021, it was revealed that girls at JCG had provided 68 testimonies about their treatment by boys at Victoria College that included sexual abuse, misogyny and harassment.
Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, says she has noticed a major increase in school-age British boys expressing ideas and using language she has seen on radical online hate groups. The UK charity Hope not Hate found that 50% of young men believe feminism has ‘gone too far’. It said anti-feminist views were becoming a ‘slip road to the far right, appealing to young men feeling emasculated in an age of changing social norms’.
According to a recent UN report, 73 percent of women had reported experiencing online abuse, with 18 percent – around 9 million women – experiencing serious Internet violence; 93% of image based sexual abuse (‘revenge porn’) victims said they suffered significant emotional distress due to being a victim; 70% of women victims of cyber-stalking also experienced at least one form of physical or/and sexual violence from an intimate partner. (Source: European Women’s Lobby, 2017)
In March 2021, Deputy Inna Gardiner spoke out about being targeted online with a COVID death threat. It seems COVID-19 has exacerbated online abuse against women and non-binary people. A study by Glitch and EVAW in September 2020 found almost 1 in 2 (46%) women and non-binary people reported experiencing online abuse since the beginning of COVID-19; most of the abuse took place on mainstream social media platforms (Twitter 65%, Facebook 29%, Instagram 18%) despite tech companies’ commitments to making their platforms safe and addressing gender-based and intersectional abuse.
Digital spaces and the new technologies allow for misogynistic violence to manifest itself in many different and innovative ways that harm women and other minority groups.
The draft Crime (Prejudice and Public Disorder) (Jersey) Law omits women in its protected groups. The consultation document admits this is contentious, and explains that women are protected within other legislation, such as the Sexual Offences Law and planned Domestic Abuse Law. None of these laws address the online space specifically, and whilst some online abuse can be prosecuted under the Telecommunications Law 2002 and Crime (Disorderly Conduct and Harassment) Law 2008, not all forms of online harm are covered.
We would like to see manifestos commit to tackling the issue of social media and other online harms.