A recently published research reveals that 69.46 per cent of the online sexual harassment victims in the country were victimised by their closed ones or relatives. In 33.6 per cent of the cases, a love affair between the victim and the offender was reported and in 35.61 per cent of the cases, the perpetrator was well-known to the victim.
The Cyber Crime Awareness Foundation, a voluntary organisation, has revealed the information in a research report published on Sunday. The members of the research cell of the Dhaka University (DU) chapter of the organisation prepared the research report titled 'Sexual Harassment through Misuse of Technology in Bangladesh'. The report was prepared by analysing 154 crime incidents from January to December 2020 collected from national and regional newspapers of the country.
According to the report, 92.20 per cent of the victims of sexual harassment in the cyberspace are women. The highest number of victims are between 18 and 30 years of age, with about 56.49 per cent and 32.48 per cent under-18 minors. Gender-based victim age analysis has shown that the number of female victims is much higher than that of males. But in the case of victims over the age of 30, the number of males is higher.
Number of victims by region
The highest number of sexual harassment cases was reported in Dhaka division at 33.12 per cent. Chittagong follows behind at 18.6 per cent. According to the report, most of the incidents of sexual harassment are happening in the divisional cities.
Types and consequences of sexual harassment
Statistical analysis showed that the number of sexual harassment involving the leakage of personal photos or videos is the highest with 82.99 per cent of the total types of sexual harrasments.
On the other hand, the number of rape victims is 15.56 per cent, sexual assault 13.64 per cent, suicide 3.25 per cent, suicide attempts 1.95 per cent, attempted murder 0.75 per cent and others 1.95 per cent.
The means to spread sexual harassment in cyberspace
An analysis of the means used by cybercriminals to disseminate sexual harassment tools (images and videos) in cyberspace shows that the number of content captured in the form of videos and still images is 51.91 per cent and 35.52 per cent, respectively, which is the highest compared to other media.
35.61 per cent of sexually explicit content has been publicly disseminated in cyberspace, especially through various forms of social media. In 40.91 per cent of cases, sexually harassing content has been personally shown to the victim in an attempt to achieve the offender's motives.
Most of these contents are initially received on the basis of mutual consent but are later violated to threaten or abuse the victim, according to the report.
Relationship between victim and offender
Considering the existing relationship between the victim and the offender, it is seen that in 35.61 per cent of the cases, the offender is already acquainted with the victim. In addition, in about 33.6 per cent of cases, there was a love affair between the victim and the perpetrator. On the other hand, the number of victims by unknown perpetrators is 14.29 per cent.
Causes of sexual harassment
The research report identified the motive of sexual intercourse as one of the main reasons for sexual harassment, which was found in 83.08 per cent of cases. Besides, vindictive instinct as a reason is 8.25 per cent, and tendency to seize wealth is 23.8 per cent.
Lobbying, whimsy and other miscellaneous factors related to job transfers acted as influences in 0.56, 0.56 and 5.6 per cent cases respectively.