Impact of online sexual harassment

Being a victim of online sexual harassment can cause young people to feel any of the following:

  • Threatened or scared
  • Exploited
  • Coerced
  • That their dignity is violated
  • Humiliated or degraded
  • Shamed or judged
  • Upset
  • Sexualised
  • Discriminated against because of their gender or sexual orientation
  • Feel guilty or that they are to blame

The experience and impact of online sexual harassment is unique to the individual and can be felt both in the short-term but also can have long-term impacts on mental health and wellbeing. Long term impacts can be amplified because of re-victimisation for example, if content is re-shared online, or because the initial trauma of the incident returns to the young person much later. It is important to recognise that there is no single way that a young person may experience online sexual harassment or be affected by it. Online sexual harassment can also impact on those who witness it or support the victim in the aftermath.