International Women's Day is a great time to celebrate. But it's also a time to reflect on things we can improve when it comes to gender equality, and a new survey released today by Symantec suggest that in some areas, the way we treat women is in fact getting worse.
The survey, which took results from 1053 Australian women over the age of 18, finds that online harrassment is a rising and significant problem. The issue is more prevalent among women under the age of 30, but even 22 per cent of respondents over the age of 60 report incidences of harrassment.
30 per cent of women have received abuse or insults; trolling and cyber-bullying come in at 23 and 21 per cent respectively; and 15 per cent report receiving death, rape, and other violent threats.
One in four young women, however, have been physically threatened online.
As to who's perpetrating the abuse, it's often unknown - 35 per cent of women do not know the identity of their abusers. An interesting statistic, however, is that 17 per cent of women identify their abusers as other women; 14 per cent are known to be men. These people are a mix of ex friends and partners, or even work colleagues.
Alarmingly, nearly ten per cent of women have sought professional help for depression as a result of the abuse.
Most of the women surveyed added that they feel that legal authorities need to treat the issue more seriously, and that better security measures need to be found to combat the problem, although 32 per cent admit there's a fine line between protecting speech and clamping down in harrassment.
The numbers, however, speak for themselves, and Symantec's teamed up with beyondblue to help women deal with the problem.
“Beyondblue’s work is increasingly being carried out in the digital world which makes our partnership with Norton more important than ever," said Georgie Harman, beyondblue's CEO, in today's announcement. "Cyberbullying can have a long-lasting impact and it can be a risk factor for depression, anxiety and suicide. It’s important we look out for each other, both in the physical and online world, and try to tackle online harassment to help improve and potentially save lives.”
If you've experienced online abuse, and need help, you can contact beyond blue for help.