Des Moines, IA- Facebook has become one of the most widely used social media platforms boasting 1.2 billion active users worldwide. It is seen as great way to network or stay connected with nearby and faraway friends, but there is an ugly side to the world’s go-to social network. A new survey shows that many men and women face all forms of sexual harassment on the internet and Facebook.
A newly released survey conducted by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist classified site and craigconnects advocacy blog found that 47 percent of internet users under the age of 35 have been subjected to some type of abuse such as death threats, bullying or sexual harassment or know someone who has.
And Facebook is by far the most popular forum for harassers.
It may not come as a surprise, but women more than men faced some form of abuse online, according to the survey, 57 percent of women and 43 percent of men in all groups were harassed.
Sexual harassment was the most common form of harassment online users faced, representing 44 percent if all incidents. Slurs about a person’s professional skills and race were also common, 28 percent and 23 percent respectively. Insults about a religion and political persuasion happened with frequency, as well.
Most of the harassment, sexual or otherwise was perpetrated by someone the respondent knew with two-thirds of all age groups admitting they knew their harasser. They may be casual acquaintances, friends and even coworkers.
While the survey did not delve into the relationship between harassers and their victims, online platforms such as Facebook and emails have increasingly played a role in workplace sexual harassment.
Technology has improved our lives but it has also become a common tool for those prone to sexual harassment. A photograph, text or email can be shared almost immediately and some people simply can’t resist the impulse to send a coworker they think is attractive a sexually explicit photograph, video, email or text message. Sometimes an inappropriate text or email is a one-time incident, but there is case after case where a person is repeatedly sexually harassed via text or the internet. This bombardment of sexually explicit communications can cause anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation for the recipient.
Sexual harassment doesn’t have to take place in person or during work hours for it to be considered illegal. Even when sexual harassment occurs over the internet or the phone, an employer is just still liable for the behavior just as they would be if it occurred in the actual workplace. The communications can also be utilized by a sexual harassment attorney in the event the victim decides to seek compensation.
When a person is being harassed by a boss of worker through any technology, their employer is still responsible for taking action to stop it and punish the harasser. Should they fail to take appropriate action, the harassed employ needs to meet with a sexual harassment attorney to discuss the possibility of pursuing civil action against their employer.