Despite improvements in the lives of women and girls as a result of the international women’s rights movement, many continue to experience violence, sexism, misogyny and online abuse.Read more
Online violence against women
Everything you need to know
Online violence and abuse against women is a far too common experience. More so if you’re a woman from a minority racial, ethnic or religious background, a woman with disabilities, or if you’re a lesbian, bisexual or trans woman – or any combination of these.
This type of violence and abuse creates a hostile online environment with the aim of shaming, intimidating or degrading women. Not all forms are crimes, but all impact on the human rights of women. In a recent poll commissioned by Amnesty and carried out in eight countries, nearly a quarter of women surveyed across all countries had experienced some form of online abuse.
So what does online abuse look like?
Online abuse takes many forms, including threats of violence, discrimination, harassment, doxxing and sharing sexual and private images without consent.
Threats of violence
Online violence and abuse against women is an extension of offline violence and abuse against women. It can include direct and indirect threats of violence, such as physical or sexual threats.
Content that is sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise targets someone’s identity, as well as material that aims to belittle, humiliate or undermine an individual.
Online harassment involves one or more people working together to repeatedly target a woman using abusive comments or images over a short or coordinated period of time, with the aim of humiliating or otherwise distressing her.
Revealing personal or identifying documents or details online about someone without her consent. This can include personal information such as a person’s home address, real name, children’s names, phone numbers and email address. A violation of a person’s privacy, the aim of doxxing is to distress, panic and otherwise cause alarm.
Sharing sexual and private images without consent
Frequently carried out by an ex-partner with the aim of distressing, humiliating or blackmailing an individual. While a woman may have initially consented to taking images and voluntarily shared them with an individual, she may not have given that person permission to share them more widely.Close
Our #ToxicTwitter campaign
Join us in pressuring Twitter to end violence against women on its platform.Read More
Twitter is failing women
Women have the right to feel safe online
Twitter started with a simple but powerful idea: Let people tell their story about what’s happening in the world right now.
Well, this is what’s REALLY happening – abuse is running rampant on the social network, making it a toxic place, particularly for women. And when Twitter fails to follow its own rules on abuse, women are driven right off the platform.
Twitter has become a megaphone for powerful movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp – movements designed to defend the freedom of women. And yet, the freedom of women to express themselves is routinely silenced by toxic abuse on the platform.
The truth is, sexism, racism and misogyny are what so many women’s #Moments are made of. And while Twitter says it’s trying to tackle the abuse, it just isn’t doing enough.
Everyone should have “the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”. Yet women are being harassed and bullied into silence on Twitter’s watch.
It’s time Twitter put its own rules into practice to stop this from happening. This means consistently enforcing their own policies that explicitly say violence and abuse against women has no place on Twitter. Because women want to be on Twitter – without fear of being shut down by prejudice and hate.
Find out more about what can be done about abuse on social media. And find out why it’s too early to praise Twitter for enforcing new anti-abuse rules.Close
How you can help
Women’s rights are human rightsRead more
We need your support
Women around the world are bravely standing up and calling out the abuse they experience online. Perpetrators must be held to account and social media companies need to take a role in making the internet safe for everyone.
We need your support to:
- call out and challenge abuse of women online
- pressure social media companies like Twitter to prohibit all forms of violence against women on their platforms.