Lack of Legal Protections Heightens Women’s Risk of Online Stalking and Harassment

According to “Equality Now’, the absence of comprehensive national and international laws targeting doxing poses a significant threat to the safety and well-being of women worldwide, bases on a recent research. This lack of legal clarity allows malicious actors to freely share individuals’ private information online, making it challenging to combat and penalize such behavior effectively.

A new policy brief titled: “Doxing, Digital Abuse, and the Law,” jointly released by the Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) and Equality Now, sheds light on the deficiencies in legal frameworks across various jurisdictions. The research, conducted with pro-bono assistance from the international law firm Hogan Lovells International LLP, analyzed over 100 different laws across four continents, revealing glaring gaps in protections against doxing.

Despite the alarming threats posed by doxing, the study found that existing legal frameworks offer minimal protection or recourse to victims. Moreover, there are no specific laws addressing doxing in many jurisdictions, leaving victims vulnerable to ongoing abuse and intimidation.

Doxing, the malicious sharing of individuals’ private, personally identifiable information online without their consent, can have severe consequences, ranging from cyberbullying and stalking to identity fraud and physical violence. Women, particularly those in marginalized communities, are disproportionately targeted, with doxing often used as a tool to silence women in public roles such as politics, journalism, and activism.

Emma Gibson, Global Coordinator for AUDRi, emphasized the gendered nature of doxing, stating, “With little or no legal recourse, those targeted, or who, with good reason, fear being targeted by doxing and other forms of online abuse, have very little option but to moderate their behavior to avoid potential threats.” Gibson warned that this chilling effect further marginalizes women’s voices in the digital space.

Amanda Manyame, Equality Now’s Digital Law & Rights Advisor, called on governments to urgently introduce and implement laws that effectively address digital abuses like doxing. Manyame stressed that governments have a duty to protect individuals from online harm, particularly women and girls who are disproportionately affected by such abuses.

In addition to legal reforms, the policy brief calls for enhanced cooperation between governments and tech platforms to hold perpetrators accountable and provide swift remedies to victims. Cross-border challenges associated with doxing necessitate multilateral international cooperation to ensure victims can access justice regardless of their location.

The Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) and Equality Now urge stakeholders to prioritize the development of robust legal protections and support systems to safeguard women’s rights to privacy, safety, and participation in the digital age.

Contact Information:
For media inquiries, please contact Lisa Van Wyk, Communications Coordinator for AUDRi, at or via WhatsApp at +27732859016.

About the Organizations:
The Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) advocates for a digital future where everyone can enjoy equal rights to safety, freedom, and dignity. Co-founded by Equality Now and Women Leading in AI, AUDRi focuses on protecting women, girls, and other marginalized groups from discrimination and gender-based stereotypes in the digital world.

Equality Now is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls globally. Through grassroots activism and legal advocacy, Equality Now works to end legal inequality, sex trafficking, online sexual exploitation, and other harmful practices.

For more information about AUDRi, visit and follow on Twitter @AUDRights and LinkedIn at AUDRi. For more information about Equality Now, visit and follow on Twitter @equalitynow and LinkedIn at equality-now.


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