Online harassment and harmful communications are significant social problems mirroring structural exclusions offline. This is a gendered problem: 23% of women across the EU have reported experiencing online abuse in their lifetime.
At ICCL we recently carried out independent qualitative research into this topic. We submitted a paper on online harassment, harmful communications and related offences to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on 6 October 2019.
We found that most victims of online harassment are women. The perpetrators were most commonly found to be partners or ex-partners attempting to exert control. Examples of harassment include the use of spyware (intended for parents monitoring children’s activities) being used to spy on women.
ICCL considers the case of Dara Quigley, who took her own life after CCTV images of her arrest by An Garda Síochána while naked on a Dublin street were shared, to be emblematic of the problem of online harassment. The implications of her case – and the widespread use of CCTV – are discussed in the paper.
In the paper, we also deconstruct the idea of “revenge porn”. It is not pornography, it is abuse. It is not always motivated by revenge (which implies the victim is somehow to blame) but is frequently intended to violate a person’s personal autonomy, dignity, and privacy in a sexualised way.
On 23 October ICCL will appear before the Joint Committee on Communications on the issue of online harassment.
Find the full submission at this link.
Find a briefing for press and policy-makers click here.
More information on our programme of work on privacy rights can be found here: https://www.iccl.ie/privacy/
We are very grateful to our members, who make work like this possible. Will you consider joining us today? iccl.ie/join