What Is Online Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment does not only happen face to face; in fact, in today’s technology-run world, our sexual harassment attorneys can attest to the fact that instances occurring on the internet are becoming more and more common.

Online sexual harassment can include actions, images, and/or words that make the victim feel violated or threatened. Particularly, the internet has opened up the door for sexual harassment to go far beyond physical actions with the increased use of violating and offensive words and images.

Perpetrators can use multiple platforms to assault other users, which can include:

  • Chat rooms
  • Email
  • Instant messages email
  • Online computer games
  • Online forums
  • Spam
  • Social media accounts

Since online sexual harassment does not have to include direct contact between the abuser and the victim, many perpetrators can harass users while still remaining anonymous. This also allows users to harass victims that they do not actually know. Regardless of whether or not this is done at random with the use of spam messages, or it is directed at a particular person that the abuser does not know, sexual harassment lawyers are often needed to alleviate the situation.

On the other hand, sexual harassment that occurs on the internet can still occur between two people who do know each other. In this case, distressing images and words can be sent to the victim’s email, social media accounts, blogs, and various instant messaging services. If this does happen, then the first thing the victim should do after contacting sexual harassment attorneys is to ask the perpetrator to stop sending you messages. It is important that the victim makes it clear that any future contact is unwanted, and that the abuser’s behavior is considered harassment. While there is the ability to block certain users from continuing with further communication, make sure to save a copy of the interaction as proof of the sexual harassment.

While there are numerous platforms for online sexual harassment to occur on, there are similarly numerous types of sexual harassment that occur on the internet.

The different types of online sexual harassment can include:

  • Gender Harassment: Physical, verbal, or non-verbal harassment that is directed toward a person based on gender.
  • Sexual Coercion: The use of online platforms to threaten an individual into sexual cooperation.
  • Unwanted Sexual Attention: Direct communication via the internet to deliver unwanted sexually explicit messages to the victim.

Due to the increased use of the internet at work, this has opened the door for workplace sexual harassment to occur in the physical office as well as the online office. Because of this, employers need to take the steps needed to make sure their employers are well-informed regarding what constitutes online sexual harassment.

In addition to sexual harassment on the internet making its way to the workplace, it can also become an issue in a school setting. Nowadays most schools have computers, along with course work that needs to be completed online. With increased access to the web comes increased access to outlets for sexual harassment, including social media networks, emails, and online forums.
If you believe you are the victim of online sexual harassment, contact our sexual harassment attorneys today for more information on how we can help you.