Nearly one-third (29%) of white evangelicals in the U.S. who have experienced online harassment say it is due to their religious affiliation, according to a Pew Research Center report published Feb. 1.
The report is based on data analysis from the findings of a survey conducted in September 2020 and released in mid-January 2021, which focused on how many U.S. adults had experienced harassment while online.
Respondents were asked to affirm whether they had experienced any of the following online: physical threats, stalking, sustained harassment, sexual harassment, offensive name-calling or purposeful embarrassment.
The findings revealed that all forms of harassment have increased since 2014.
Offensive name calling (31% of all respondents reported this) was the most common form of online harassment, followed by purposeful embarrassment (26%), physical threats (14%), and sexual harassment, sustained harassment and stalking (11% each).
Overall, 41% of respondents reported some form of online harassment, with 19% of those who experienced such harassment saying it was due to their religion. Claims of online harassment due to religion have increased seven points since 2017.
White evangelicals (29%) were the most likely religious group to tie online harassment to their faith tradition, followed by Catholics (15%), white non-evangelical Christians (11%) and the religiously unaffiliated (10%).
“Some groups could not be analyzed separately due to insufficient sample size,” Pew noted.