Helping victims of online sexual harassment through online reporting and supporting systems

Project Synopsis

Title: Helping victims of online sexual harassment through online reporting and supporting systems

Online sexual harassment is prevalent on Snapchat, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, blogging sites, or across multiple devices and platforms. It is perceived as equally or more distressing and harmful than the face-to-face form of bullying and harassment, because of the enormous scale of online public space, and the repetition and permanency of the event as a result of repeated electronic posting. The consequential harms of online sexual harassment include psychological trauma, and continuing or re-emerging feelings of unsafe, distrust, and isolation. All those interconnected forms of harm breach an individual’s fundamental rights to dignity, privacy, and freedom of sexual expression and autonomy. The onus is primarily placed on victim-survivors to report online sexual harassment to the platforms, which can be retraumatizing and highly stressful if the platforms do not react to the victim-survivors with efficient help and support. To support victim-survivors of online sexual harassment, we first examine the pitfalls of the present online reporting system. We then iteratively design and evaluate an innovative chatbot reporting system that can overcome the pitfalls of the present reporting system. We create the first version of the chatbot reporting system based on existing scientific insights (gathered through a systematic literature review), new empirical findings, human-computer interaction theories, and supportive communication theories. This top-down approach will be combined with a bottom-up approach. Specifically, through co-design workshops, we aim to collect ideas and feedback from young people about how digital platforms can design their online reporting system to support victim-survivors of online sexual harassment effectively. (Click to join co-design)

host institution
partner organization(s)
early stage researcher

ESR8 Yuying Tan, PhD Candidate at University of Antwerp

supervisor(s)

Prof. Karolien Poels, University of Antwerp, persuasive technology, strategic communication

Prof. Heidi Vandebosch, University of Antwerp, cyberbullying, technological health interventions

Dr. Sara Pabian, Tilburg University, online aggression, online persuasive communication

Outputs

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2024, February 8-9). Supporting Online Sexual Harassment Victims: Evaluation of A Supportive Communication Theory-Based Chatbot Reporting System.Etmaal 2024, Rotterdam, The  Netherlands, https://www.eur.nl/en/eshcc/research/etmaal-2024

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2024). A scoping review of technological tools for supporting victims of online sexual harassment. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 101953. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2024.101953

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2023, February 11). Methods for reporting online sexual harassment. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/p92t4

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., Cappon, E., De smedt, L., & Poels, K. (2023, February 2-3). Healing or hurting? Analysis of online sexual harassment victims’ support-seeking posts on Reddit and replies they received[Conference Presentation] Etmaal23, Enschede, Netherlands, https://www.etmaal2023.net/Link to the presentation

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2022, August 31). Report: Methods for reporting online sexual harassment[Report]Link to the report

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., Poels, K., (2022, July). Talking about sexual harassment and receiving support in Reddit communities. [Conference Presentation]. International Conference on Social Media & Society 2022, Online, https://socialmediaandsociety.org/2022-2/2022-accepted-papers/

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., Poels, K., (2022, June). Talking about sexual harassment and receiving support in Reddit communities. [Conference Presentation]. ICA Regional Conference Computational Communication Research in Central and Eastern Europe, Helsinki, Finland, https://hse-scila.github.io/ica-conference/#program

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., Poels, K., (2022, February). A scoping review of technological tools for supporting victims of online sexual harassment. [Conference Presentation]. Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2022, Online, https://nefca.eu/etmaal/etmaal-2022/

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2021, November 1-3). ICT interventions to support victims of online sexual harassment A scoping review [Conference Presentation]. World Anti-Bullying Forum, Stockholm, Sweden, https://worldantibullyingforum.com/previous-forums/wabf-2021/Link to the presentation

Tan, Y., Vandebosch, H., Pabian, S., & Poels, K. (2021). (2021, November 1-3). Using co-design to create social media interfaces that help girls cope with online sexual harassment [Conference Presentation]. World Anti-Bullying Forum, Stockholm, Sweden, https://worldantibullyingforum.com/previous-forums/wabf-2021/, Link to the presentation