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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Online Gender-Based Violence Causes Real Harm!



As #Intersectional feminists, we want to see the Internet become a safe place for everyone!


In today’s digital world, the Internet has changed how we obtain information, communicate with others, share our thoughts and experiences, and engage in conversations about different topics. But despite these immense advantages, it has also opened the door for new forms of oppression and violence. Online gender-based violence (OGBV) is one of them, being a form of gender injustice and discrimination that takes place in online spaces.


The root cause of this violence is gender inequality: discrimination, gender stereotypes, sexism etc. While OGBV affects women and girls in all their diversity, the risk of OGBV is particularly heightened for women who face intersecting forms of marginalization, including women with disabilities, Black and Indigenous women and other women of color, migrant women, and LGBTIQ+ women.


The impact of OGBV is just as harmful as offline violence, causing negative effects on the wellbeing of women and girls, and limiting their right to express themselves equally and freely. Not only does it cause psychological distress and suffering, but it also discourages them from online participation in political, social, and cultural life.


While OGBV is a clear violation of human rights, technological developments are outpacing the efforts to protect and address it. The laws, ethics, and policies haven't caught up yet, resulting in a considerable gap in preventing and addressing these issues, and leaving women and girls to continue suffering.



States across the world must address OGBV as much as any other form of violence against women, using the existing international human rights framework, to ensure the Internet is an open, safe, and free space for ALL.


Tech companies are likewise responsible to enhance transparency and accountability on OGBV and ensure women can easily report abuse and obtain the removal of harmful materials. They must prioritize the prevention and elimination of OGBV by adopting design approaches that uphold human rights.


#WeAreManushyan ♾ Equal Human Beings


✊At Manushya, we stand in solidarity with all women and people affected by such violence. We will keep protecting and promoting women’s rights until all women, especially the marginalized, are equal, safe, and free from all forms of violence, including online.


👉 While you’re here, have a look at our previous work to advocate for a safe internet in Southeast Asia and combat digital authoritarianism:


References:

  1. UN Women, Accelerating Efforts to Tackle Online and Technology Facilitate Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), (2022), available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2022/10/accelerating-efforts-to-tackle-online-and-technology-facilitated-violence-against-women-and-girls

  2. UN Women, Frequently asked questions: Tech-facilitated gender-based violence, available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/faqs/tech-facilitated-gender-based-violence

  3. OHCHR, Gender-based violence against women and girls, https://www.ohchr.org/en/women/gender-based-violence-against-women-and-girls

  4. Council of Europe, Cyberviolence against women, available at: https://www.coe.int/en/web/cyberviolence/cyberviolence-against-women

  5. ICNL, Online Gender-Based Violence in the Indo-Pacific And Its Impact On The Civic Freedoms of Women Human Rights Defenders, (March 2023), available at: https://www.icnl.org/post/report/online-gender-based-violence-in-the-indo-pacific



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