Mind The Gap: The Problem Of Cyber-Flashing And Tech-Enabled Harassment

January 2, 2019

Joanna Hardy, Criminal Barrister at Red Lion Chambers, highlights the urgent need for new legislation to tackle ‘cyber flashing’ sexual offending, including the sending of unsolicited sexual images and posting revenge porn.

Imagine you are a woman on a packed train. It is standing, jostling-for-elbow-room only. One hand clings to the nearest rail. The other clutches your phone. Your attention remains transfixed on the screen as the carriage thunders along. You crane your neck to see which station is next.

Suddenly, your phone vibrates with an urgency you do not recognise. You are between stations. There is no signal. Your screen is taken over with a request. It is not one you initiated and not one you were expecting. “iPhone (3) would like to share a photo”.  Your thumb lifts from the screen and hesitates. Without pressing or accepting anything, there is a preview of the image. It is a photo of a stranger’s erect penis.

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