Four in ten young women have been sent unsolicited sexual images

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 19, 2018, 8:58 AM UTC

As MPs hope to crack down on harassment, YouGov research shows it’s an issue which affects large numbers of young men and women

Last month MPs called for a new law to criminalise sending unsolicited sexual images in an attempt to halt so-called “dick pic” harassment.

This unpleasant act affects large numbers of women in Britain; new YouGov research shows that one in five (19%) have received an unsolicited sexual photo from someone who was not a romantic partner. This figure rises to 40% among women aged 18 to 34.

The data also reveals that it is not entirely a problem for women: 15% of British men have also received such a photo, rising to a quarter (26%) of those aged 18-34.

While recent news coverage has focussed on “cyber flashing”, which involves sending photos to a victim’s iPhone via Apple’s Airdrop function, the vast majority of unsolicited sexual photos are actually sent by text or social media.

Of those who say they’ve received an unrequested image, 62% say it was sent via text message or messaging service like Whatsapp. One in three (35%) have received one on social media (increasing to 48% of women aged between 18 and 34). Barely 1% had experienced cyber flashing.

A previous YouGov study of millennials showed that 44% of men aged 18-24 had previously broken the law by sending someone a “dick pic” while they were below 18, which is a crime – as is possession of that image for the recipient.

The research also found that men and women view such photos very differently. Some 44% of millennial men who have ever sent one say they are “sexy”, compared to only 14% of millennial women who have ever received one.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here