Home Opinion and Features Revenge porn, another form of cyberbullying, on the rise in SA

Revenge porn, another form of cyberbullying, on the rise in SA

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With thousands of South Africans spending more time online than ever before, cases of cyberbullying have become a major concern.

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ACCORDING to the women-led organisation 1000 Women Trust, 72.3% of South Africans now have internet access, 46% of them use social media, and more than 112.7 million cellphone connections are active. As a result, a focus on cyberbullying is becoming increasingly critical.

Prominent figures are also experiencing their fair share of this, with many openly telling their followers how it continues to affect their lives while leading others to quit social media.

The rise of well-known gossip blogger Musa Khawula, who used his platform to promote harmful and sensational claims, has seen cyberbullying become dominant in the entertainment industry.

In recent months, South Africa has also observed a rise in revenge porn.

Tina Thiart, a trustee of 1000 Women Trust, emphasises that connecting the dots between cyberbullying, revenge porn and suicide rates is critical for parents. Understanding one’s rights, options and escape routes not only has the potential to save lives but also empowers girls to create hope for a better future.

There are 18 different forms of cyberbullying. The most common one is harassment, which involves persistently sending cruel or threatening messages to a person’s e-mail or cellphone, causing alarm or substantial emotional stress.

“Revenge porn, another form of cyberbullying, is on the rise in South Africa. It involves distributing intimate photos without consent, causing emotional distress and potential harm to victims’ reputations and well-being,” Thiart remarked.

“Over the next 16 days, we will share tips and insights to empower women online and make the internet a safe digital space for everyone. We will speak frankly about cyberbullying issues like cellphone bullying and gender-based violence and will employ hashtags like #1000women1voice, #CyberSafeSisters and #16Daysagainstcyerbullying,” added Thiart.

As part of the campaign, 1000 Women Trust will also facilitate 12 peer-to-peer youth group engagements online, where youth groups from all nine provinces in South Africa will be empowered about how to safeguard themselves against cyberbullying.

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