Cyber violence is just as damaging to women as physical violence, according to a new U.N. report, which warns women are growing even more vulnerable to cyber violence as more and more regions gain internet access.
The report calls itself a “wake-up call” about cyber violence as a systemic concern, especially as technology is spreading across more regions. Presented by U.N. Women and the U.N. Broadband Commission, the report estimates that 73% of women have endured cyber violence, and that women are 27 times more likely as men to be harassed online. In Europe, nine million girls have already experienced some kind of cyber violence by the time they’re 15. Anita Sarkeesian, a gamer and activist who has long agitated for more action against cyber violence, spoke at the launch of the new report, titled “Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call.”
The U.N. defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts.” The report notes that cyber violence is an extension of that definition, that includes acts like trolling, hacking, spamming, and harassment.
The report also argues that “cyber touch is recognized as equally as harmful as physical touch,” suggesting that online harassment might be just as lethal as domestic violence or sexual abuse.
“Dead is dead,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the U.N. and Executive Director of U.N. Women. “Whether you are dead because your partner shot you or beat you up, or you killed yourself because you couldn’t bear cyber-bullying, or you were exposed to many of the sites that lead people to suicide pacts— bottom line, we lose a life.”
This article originally appeared on Time.com. To read more, go to Time.com.