The PeopleACT’s strategic legislative advocacy campaign against cyberharassment conducted a national survey from 8 June to 31 December 2016.
The purpose of the survey is two-fold:
- to learn about the respondents’ online behaviour, how they understand online violence, how online violence affects them; and
- to identify suitable candidates for an extended qualitative study on incidents of online violence in Malaysia.
The survey consisted of 12 questions. Questions 1 to 4 asked for personal information such as nationality, gender, age and area of resident; questions 5 and 6 were related to online habits such as the preferred ICT tools used and the length of time spent online; questions 7 to 11 asked what the respondents would consider as online violence, whether they have experienced online violence, and if yes, would they allow the PeopleACT to document their experience. The final question (Question 12) was added to the survey as part of a collaborative initiative with EMPOWER, a woman’s non-governmental organisation, working towards developing a people’s internet rights charter; question 12 will not form part of this survey analysis, as the answers are used by EMPOWER for their charter.
The survey was conducted in English and Malay for a period of six months (8 June to 31 December 2016). The survey was uploaded on UndiMsia!’s website (www.undimsia.com) and Facebook page and shared extensively online. It was also distributed to those from public universities such as Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysian NGOs, National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Joint Action Group on Violence Against Women (JAG), Ministry of Women, residents’ association, law students, etc. Although the survey was initially intended as an online survey, it was the physical participation of respondents at specific events held mainly in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur that contributed to the bulk of the data collected.
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
- Out of the 522 respondents, 336 (64.4 percent) were women and 183 (35.1 percent) were men. Three respondents did not specify their gender. Majority of them ranged from 17 to 39 years old (52.1 percent from 17 to 24 years old, 30.5 percent from 25 to 39 years old). Although all states were represented by at least one respondent, an overwhelming majority resided in Selangor (52.7 percent) and Kuala Lumpur (23.8 percent).
- WhatsApp (91.4 percent), Facebook (85.4 percent) and email (68.6 percent) were the top three online platforms used most by the respondents on a daily basis. 78.5 percent of them used these platforms via their smart phones while 61.3 percent with their desk or laptop.
- Majority of the respondents (66.7 percent) spent about one to five hours online on a daily basis. This excluded the time they spent online for work purpose. The survey also showed that the longer a respondent spent online, the more exposed they were to the risk of online violence, specifically hateful comments, online shaming, revenge porn and death/rape threats.
- Interestingly enough, the number of respondents who felt fearful, threatened or uneasy because of the comments or responses they received online was not higher despite them spending more than 10 hours online per day and experiencing a higher percentage of online violence.
- Those who said they spent more than 16 hours online a day (2.7 percent) were mostly 17 to 39 years old and composed of seven men, six women and one unspecified gender.
- Most respondents (above 60 percent) would consider online death/rape threats, revenge porn, online hate speech, online sexual harassment, and online intimidation by the government as online violence, but there were also 20 percent who thought online criticism is a form of online violence.
- Only one respondent out of 522 added that stalking is a form of online violence.
- Seventy percent of female respondents considered receiving unwanted online sexually explicit images or links as a form of online violence as opposed to 59 percent of male respondents.
- Of the 64 women who did not consider online death threats as a form of violence, 23 were 17 to 24 years old. Out of these 23, there were 20 who would however consider online scam and criticism as forms of violence.
- More than half of the respondents (50.4 percent) have experienced one form of online harassment at least once in their life.
- Women suffered online sexual harassment (20.9 percent) at least two times more than men (9.8 percent). Women also experienced online death or rape threats (4.8 percent) and stalking (16.4 percent) more than men (3.3 percent and 13.1 percent respectively).
- Meanwhile, men experienced online hateful comments (34.9 percent), online shaming (17.9 percent) and online spying (20.7 percent) more than women (30.4 percent, 11.4 percent, and 12.2 percent respectively).
- Men (2.2 percent) and women (2.1 percent) seem to experience revenge porn equally.
- Forty one percent of the respondents claimed they have felt fearful, threatened or uneasy because of the comments they received online. Of these, 3 percent were women compared to 35.5 percent men. Women from all age groups appeared to feel more fearful, threatened or uneasy online compared to their male counterparts.
The full survey report can be found here.
UndiMsia! is the first-of-its-kind civic education programme in Malaysia, aimed at strengthening the ownership, participation and representation of youths on their right to vote and civic responsibility. Its goal is for youths to develop critical thinking and solve issues affecting them through effective forms of activism.