Why We Need To Criminalise Cyberflashing Now

S&LS Blog

Kelly Johnson
Assistant Professor of Criminology, Durham University

Clare McGlynn
Professor of Law, Durham University

… and let’s get the law right first time

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen new forms of online sexual harassment such as zoomflashing where men have infiltrated Zoom calls and exposed themselves and zoombombing where unwanted pornographic images are flashed onscreen. Despite taking place on a new platform, these are not ‘new’ behaviours – rather they’re another version of what we already know as ‘cyberflashing’.

Cyberflashing is where a man – and yes it is almost always a man – sends a picture of his penis to another without their consent. Often the penis images are sent through Bluetooth or Airdrop technology, so the perpetrator is unknown. Sometimes referred to as ‘unsolicited dick pics’, women commonly experience this sexual harassment, in public spaces and on public transport. It’s also common on dating…

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