Digital Crimes Against Women on the Rise

digital crimes

Technology has become a routine part of our daily lives in the age of rapid digital advancement. As much as we rely on our devices for work, school, and entertainment, technology also opens the door to widespread problems like digital crimes.

The internet has become a breeding ground for harassment and other dangerous activities that frequently target women. According to the World Health Organization, one in ten women have experienced cyber violence in their lifetime.

Although the statistics are daunting, there are solutions to prevent cybercrimes against women. Technologies, including VPNs with threat intelligence, help safeguard a person’s identity while interacting digitally.

Many Forms of Digital Crimes

Violence against women in the digital space can take many forms: cyberbullying, non-consensual image sharing, cyberstalking, and sextortion. The battlegrounds for these acts include social media sites, online dating websites, and anonymous forums. With perpetrators able to hide their true identity while online, they become emboldened to act in the most disturbing ways.


When a woman is threatened, ridiculed, or targeted on the internet, the acts are considered cyberbullying. Bullies may take public information about a woman and use it to humiliate and harass her. Examples of cyberbullying include, but are not limited to:

  • Posting negatively about the woman publicly
  • Hacking the victim’s account
  • Sending unsolicited messages
  • Making threats of violence

Non-Consensual Image Sharing

Another example of a digital crime on the rise is a phenomenon known as “revenge porn.” Offenders take intimate videos or photos of a victim and share them without permission. Not all cases of non-consensual image sharing are intended to get back at the victim. Some individuals use unauthorized images to make a profit.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 90 percent of victims of revenge porn are women. Mental health effects of non-consensual image sharing include feelings of humiliation and powerlessness.


Through social media and other platforms, stalkers can gain unprecedented access to victims. Cyberstalking poses a threat to a person’s privacy and personal safety. With geolocation services, there’s a strong possibility that stalkers can find their targets outside of the digital landscape. Also, many stalkers know their victims personally and participate in some form of digital stalking, such as sending emails or messages through social media.


Sextortion is a rising type of abuse that attempts to control victims with the threat of exposing explicit photos or videos. Researchers estimate that more than 2/3 of victims were first targeted before they turned 16 years old. Women are typically ashamed when they are victimized in sextortion scams and rarely report the incident to law enforcement or online platforms.

Protecting Women in the Digital Age

Safeguarding women against cybercrimes can involve several approaches. A blend of technological and legal strategies offers a way to deter cybercriminals from targeting women online.

Technological Resources

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) with threat intelligence help enhance online security for all. A VPN encrypts internet connections, making it nearly impossible for cybercriminals to gain access to online activities. This technology masks a person’s IP address, meaning hackers can’t view any browsing history or location data.

Although public Wi-Fi is convenient, hackers can intercept data through malware. A VPN connection scrambles the data to protect online information.

To choose a VPN, look for those with threat intelligence services. The providers collect data to understand digital threats and develop strategies to protect their customers.

Legal Resources

The legal landscape has evolved to provide more protection to victims of digital crimes. Federal and state lawmakers have introduced legislation to enforce severe punishments for offenders who harass victims online.

Until the mid-2000s, no specific cyberbullying laws existed in the United States. Today, more than half of all U.S. states cover cyberbullying under harassment laws. The severity of the punishment varies from state to state. Some states only require school-sanctioned actions, while others feature criminal punishments.

Social media platforms, including Facebook and TikTok, have reporting procedures for online bullying. If a woman is harassed using their sites, she can ask social media administrators to intervene. She can also block or unfriend the harasser.

Changing privacy settings online can help secure specific details from other online users. Never share sensitive information online, like address, phone number, or school name.


Digital crimes against women continue to cause serious harm, although conviction rates of online perpetrators are dismal. Until more widespread measures exist to protect women online, all should leverage technological safeguards like VPNs with threat intelligence features. Educational campaigns can assist in promoting ways women can use VPNs and other security tools to stop cybercriminals from accessing their private information. The end goal is to create a safe digital landscape for all.

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