End Violence: Women’s Rights & Safety Online

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Since 2005 APC (Association for Progressive Communication) has been working to strengthen the capacity of women’s rights activists and organisations to use technology tools in their work to end violence against women and to respond to the growing incidence of technology-related violence against women. The most common cases documented were cyberstalking, sexual harassment, surveillance and the unauthorized use and manipulation of personal information including images and videos. “We found that while these violations are increasing, women and girls who fall victim do not know what to do to stop the abuse, what charges they can report, who they should report to and what help they can get. In many countries policies, regulations or services that respond to these new forms of violence do not exist or are inadequate”.

Preventing technology-related VAW is an important component in ending violence against women today and contributes to creating a safe and secure environment for women and girls in every sphere of life.

From 2012-2014, the APC community has built on the collective experience and successes of its previous work on technology and violence against women through support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (DGIS) Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Fund. Their project “End violence: women’s rights and safety online” will build on APC’s trajectory in the anti-VAW struggle and existing partnerships to enhance women’s safety and security by preventing the growing violence against women through ICTs.

How will it do it?

The project is being implemented in seven countries through a combination of strategies that contribute towards ending violence against women through building women’s leadership and ensuring women’s rights and safety online. Their strategies include:

1. Gathering evidence by documenting, reporting, monitoring and analyzing technology-related violence against women. Visit the country maps to see how they are doing it.

Overall aggregated map: www.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

Bosnia Herzegovina: http://ba.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

Colombia: https://co.takebackthetech.net/mapit/main

Democratic Republic of Congo: http://cd.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

Kenya: http://ke.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

Mexico: http://mx.dominemoslatecnologia.net

Pakistan: http://pk.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

Philippines: http://ph.takebackthetech.net/mapit/

2. Building women’s leadership to engage with national policy-makers, judges, lawyers and other key actors in identifying remedies that may be available in current laws and regulations and, where needed, develop new policies that seek to protect women’s rights including their safety and security.

3. Building women’s ability to influence internet and telecommunications businesses such as social networking platforms, web hosting companies and mobile phone operators to develop corporate user policies and practices that respect women’s rights. This includes the adequate representation of women in policy-making and standards-setting processes and ensuring that policies and standards consider the safety and security of users.

4. Campaigning to create an online environment and culture that affirms everyone’s right to safety and security. Such an online culture would not tolerate behaviour and practices that are harmful and violent to women and girls. It will include targeted solidarity actions and engage young people.

5. Strengthening the institutional capacity of women’s rights organisations to become leaders in addressing technology-related VAW through change in their own organisational practice.

What countries are involved?

The programme’s activities will be carried out with project partners in the following countries:

Bosnia and Herzegovina (OneWorldsee)
Colombia (Colnodo)
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Si Jeunesse Savait)
Kenya (KICTAnet and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television)
Mexico
Philippines (Foundation for Media Alternatives)
Pakistan (Bytes for All)

Who will benefit?

The project targets women leaders—leaders of women’s rights organizations, women in the technology industry, community leaders, young women peer leaders and opinion-makers—as well as women’s rights organizations that are already active in implementing interventions and advocacy strategies to address violence against women and defend women’s rights.

Project outcomes?

·      A reliable and effective system of reporting and evidence collection in 7 countries that strengthens leadership of women to address technology related VAW.

·      Remedies and policies that address technology related VAW are developed through research and advocacy by women leaders and women’s rights organizations.

·      Women leaders are effectively engaging private sector (social networking providers, web hosting companies and mobile phone companies), in partnership with other expert NGOs to develop company user policies that protect the safety and security of women and girls.

·      Women and girls are leading campaigns to mobilize users to create an online culture that does not tolerate online behaviour that is harmful and violent to women and girls.

·      Institutional capacity of women’s rights organizations to address technology related VAW is strengthened in a sustainable way.

More related information:

·      All about the research From impunity to justice: Exploring corporate and legal remedies for technology-related violence against women

·      More articles in GenderIT.org

Project reports:

·      UN Universal Periodic Review: Submission on internet-related human rights issues in Mexico

·      APC Statement to the CSW 57th Session: Violence against women and information and communications technology

·      WRP presentation to the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Public Life

Country baseline reports 2012

·      Baseline study: Technology related violence against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

·      Baseline study: Legal and regulatory framework in Colombia on VAW and ICT – Executive summary

·      Baseline study: Report on VAW and its reporting system in Philippines

·      Baseline study: Violence against women and gender based harassment in context of ICT penetration in Pakistan– .

Programmes

Women’s Rights Programme (WRP)

Members Involved

Bytes for All, Pakistan

Colnodo

Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)

KICTANet

OneWorld Platform for Southeast Europe Foundation (OWPSEE)

Funders

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS)

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