Terminology for online harassment

Cyber-harassment. Cyber-harassment differs from cyberstalking to where harassing emails are sent without proposed physical harm, for sole purposes of emotional torment. “Cyber harassment involves threats of violence, privacy invasions, reputation-harming lies, calls for strangers to physically harm victims, and technological attacks” (Citron, 2014, p. 3).


Cyber-sexual assault. Also known as revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography, cyber-sexual assault is a form of sexual abuse where sexually explicit or nude photos/videos are shared online, without the pictured individual’s consent. The goal is typically for embarrassment, or to harm an ex-partner or friend after that relationship has ended (End Revenge Porn, 2015).


Cyberstalking. A malicious pattern of threatening behaviors through the internet. Threats typically pose credible harm, and thus is the most dangerous form of cyber-based behavior.


Gendered Harassment. Harassment on the basis of one’s gender (e.g., being female), and is more commonly experienced among females than males (Citron, 2009).


Sexting. The self-creation of one’s sexual photo which is then sent to another individual for purposes of arousal; it has also been described as, “appearing in, creating, or receiving nude or nearly nude images” (Mitchell, Finklehor, Jones, & Wolak, 2012, p. 18).


Sexual assault. Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient (U.S. department of justice, 2015). Within the realm of sexual assault are: forced sexual intercourse, unwanted fondling, molestation, child molestation, and attempted rape (U.S. Department of Justice, 2015).


Sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an act prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and nationality (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1997). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1997) further defined sexual harassment as unwelcomed sexual advances, verbal or physical sexually driven conduct, and pursuit of sexual favors that impact the individual either explicitly or implicitly regarding their employment, work performance, or work environment (para 2).


Violence against women (VAW): “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (United Nations General Assembly, 1993, article 1)

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