EU Study Finds Most Online Hate Targets Women: How Can We Tackle

A European Union report of the year 2022 revealed that women are the largest target of online hate. They face abusive language, harassment and incitement to sexual violence regularly

Rudrani Gupta
New Update

A European Union report of the year 2022 revealed that women are the largest target of online hate. They face abusive language, harassment and incitement to sexual violence regularly. The hate that women receive is three times more than the hate that people of African descent from Bulgaria, Sweden, Italy and Germany receive.


The study was conducted in the four aforementioned EU countries between January and June 2022. It was conducted on YouTube, Telegram, Reddit and X(formerly Twitter). FRA director Michael O'Flaherty said, "The sheer volume of hate we identified on social media clearly shows that the EU, its Member States, and online platforms can step up their efforts to create a safer online space for all.”

Most online hate targets women: How to tackle

Online hate against women is a very common and yet dreadful trend in our world. Cyber violence against women makes technology and social media a bane for most of us. Even though social media has opened up new opportunities and connected the world together, it has subjected women to an ill fate. Haters misuse this connection and float their offensive comments openly on social media websites. 

Although the study conducted is restricted to certain countries, it is important to know that online hate against women is prevalent in our country too. From small girls to old women, no one in our country is spared from online hate. Remember when MS Dhoni’s daughter received a rape threat because her father lost a match? Or remember when female actors were trolled for their choices- the most recent being Deepika Padukone’s statement that she was dating other men too while seeing Ranveer Singh? Or else when older women celebrities like Shabana Azmi, and Neena Gupta were trolled and served hate comments? 

Currently, creating deepfake videos of celebrities is doing rounds on social media. It has affected Bollywood actors like Alia Bhatt, Rashmika Mandanna and Katrina Kaif. 

These are the incidents that affect celebrities. What about those that affect common women? It is only rarely that women receive the freedom to go online and explore various opportunities. But cybercrime very conveniently snatches this freedom from women by creating fear among them and their family members. Celebrities might not be affected by one or two hate comments. Or they have enough sources to block, ban and protect themselves. But common women like us do not have any other way out of rigorous online hate than deleting our accounts and falling prey to psychological issues and crimes. 

All this raises compelling questions like- is the online world gendered? Is the online world too besmeared with patriarchal ideologies? If the online world is synonymous with advancement, why is it lacking in providing safety to women? 


So dear countries and their authorities, please take strict actions against online hate. It is affecting women by making them unsafe. They are unsafe not only because of rape threats but also because of the psychological issues that arise due to body shaming and other offensive comments. If the online world is their place to be themselves and write anything they want, it is for women too. They can be whatever they want online.

The restriction should not be on women to control their expressions online but on haters to filter their language and indulge in constructive criticism, if any. Moreover, it is necessary for the online world to refine and purify the minds of the trollers by producing content and laws that speak against online hate. Last but the least, women need to be aware of their rights of condemning the haters through words, actions and laws, rather than giving up on their freedom and sometimes their lives as that is exactly what haters want.  

Views expressed by the author are their own

European Union Online sexual harassment online hate