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EHF Champions League

Handball stars speak up against online harassment

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Some of European club handball’s most famous faces are joining EHF Marketing and its official charity partner for the EHF Champions League Men, Plan International, by fighting against online harassment.

In the largest survey ever conducted by Plan International on online violence, over half (58 per cent) of the 14,000 girls aged 15-25 who took part revealed they had experienced some form of online harassment.

The results, based on the survey and a series of in-depth interviews, also showed that one in five girls (19 per cent) have left or significantly reduced use of a social media platform after being harassed, while one in 10 (12 per cent) have changed the way they express themselves.

The most common type of attack reported is abusive and insulting language, reported by 59 per cent of girls who have been harassed, followed by purposeful embarrassment (41 per cent), body shaming and threats of sexual violence (both 39 per cent).

Stars have their say

To raise aware of violence to young girls, Plan International ambassadors Kentin Mahé and Dominik Klein and Face of EHFCL Anja Althaus joined Hannah Jackson for an Instagram live on Thursday to discuss the importance of being free online.

The quartet shared some personal experiences and gave their thoughts on how to deal with it. If you watch one thing this week, let it be this and help put an end to online harassment.

In the interview, three-time EHF Champions League winner Althaus reveals that she was the victim of online harassment when she was playing.

However, the former German international has one piece of advice to those suffering: speak out.

“If you feel ashamed, this is the wrong way, this is not your fault,” she said. “You should not be alone and you should talk to someone, and if needed take further steps, as in police or similar.”

Telekom Veszprém’s Kentin Mahé said while he had not experienced online harassment directly he urged people online to think before they post something on social media.

The French international said: “I have to think twice about what I post and why I post. If it’s going to be offensive, if someone’s going to tag me by commenting this picture or this video, will I be criticised for what I am saying or putting outside and this is definitely something I have seen in the last few years, that you think twice of what you are posting and it shouldn’t be like this.

Sign the letter and speak up

Plan International are encouraging people around the world to sign an open letter to the major social media companies, asking them to create stronger reporting mechanisms for violence that meets their needs and holds perpetrators to account. Over 64,000 people around the world have signed the letter.

The social media companies are already making moves to put a stop to the problem. Instagram has created a Girls Get Equal Listening Sessions, which take place with 15 young activists (from Benin, Brazil, Germany, UK, Spain, the USA and many more) and officials from Instagram responsible for politics and product development. The results will be shared with the officials of Facebook and WhatsApp. The aim is to make the social networks safe for girls.

Click here for further information on International Day of the Girl Child and click here to visit the official website of Plan International for further information on the EHF Champions League Men’s official charity partner.

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