Lead data journalist

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

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