Something important to celebrate – Cyberflashing is now officially a crime

Making cyberflashing a crime is so important as at one end of sexual offending you have a flasher and at the other end, you have a rapist. Remember Wayne Cousins started his sexual offences flashing. First, a man imposes the sight of his naked body on an unsuspecting woman he could then ‘progress’ to imposing his body on a woman. We used to think that flashers were just Sad F***s and rapists dangerous and terrifying when in fact both are Sad F***Ks and both are Dangerous. It is really important to report all sexual offences so that the police have all sexual offenders on their radar.

“Cyberflashing is officially a crime.

Following Grazia’s campaign – and with help from Emily Atack and you – sending ‘dick pics’ will be illegal.

It took eight months of campaigning, but we finally got through to the Government: MPs have announced that cyberflashing is officially set to become a criminal offence in England and Wales. The new Online Safety Bill dictates that sending unsolicited sexual images will now carry a maximum prison sentence of two years.

Since Grazia started the #EndCyberflashing campaign last summer, many brave women have come forward to share their personal and heartbreaking experiences of being cyberflashed. One of them was actor and comedian Emily Atack, who also met with MPs in Parliament last November to ensure the issue was taken seriously.

‘In October 2021, I opened up about being bombarded with explicit messages across the course of my career in a piece for Grazia Daily. This dark online abuse had made me feel unsettled and unsafe for many years, wondering is this what people thought I deserved? But knowing that my decision to share those horrible moments of my life has had a part in the success of this campaign is incredibly rewarding.

Cuberflashing shouldn’t be dismissed as a joke and I’m so grateful it no longer will be – it goes to show that speaking up can truly achieve justice’

Recent research by Professor Jessica Ringrose at UCL Institute of Education found that a staggering 76% of girls aged 12 to 18 had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men. Now, ministers state that the choice to include cyberflashing in the Online Safety Bill means that police and Crown Prosecution Service will have an enhanced ability to bring perpetrators to justice.

Grazia editor Hattie Brett said, ‘After months of campaigning, I am delighted to see the bravery of women who helped make Cyberflashing a crime has finally paid off. From Emily Atack sharing her own experiences with us to Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe-Herd explaining how tech can create safer spaces for women – and MPs Maria Miller, Jess Philips and Fay Jones championing this cause at every turn – it’s been a long fight to ensure women are no longer subject to this disturbing behaviour which, now, will be treated for what it is: a crime. Thank you to all of our incredible readers who supported this campaign.’

Alongside cyberflashing being made a criminal offence, the Government has also committed to creating three other new criminal offences through the Online Safety Bill – including sending abusive emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages, as well as ‘pile on’ harassment, where many people target abuse at an individual, such as in website or blog comment sections.

The Online Safety Bill will also place greater legal responsibility on social media platforms, search engines and other websites or apps that host user-generated content to tackle a range of illegal and harmful content. Finally, it seems as though online abuse – much of which is targeted at women – is actually being tackled….this win for women gives us hope that when we band together, things can really change.” However, proving the intent of the sender could prove difficult.

#Cyberflashing #OnlineSafetyBill

Also a reminder of the FREE launch on Wednesday 18th May at 12noon – in under 1 hour I’ll change the way you think about and write about bullying and harassment Book here:

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