#WHRDs in the Digital Space
“The online gender-based violence no longer focuses on attacking the point of view of women but on the individual as a person. Trolls target women's right to privacy as they attack their gender identity of being a woman or their sexual orientation.”
- Blandina Lintang Setianti
Women in the digital space and especially women human rights defenders #WHRDs who are speaking truth to power online are facing threats and harassment targeting them just because they are women. Some might argue that online harassment is a common threat for everyone in todays’ digital age, but there is no denying that women are even more vulnerable to gender-based online harassment. We live in patriarchal societies, where men are challenged by outspoken powerful women, and with trolls attacking our gender. As Blandina had summed up perfectly, the harassment is targeting women’s identity as women, not the issue they stand up for, not necessarily their work, but their gender. This is demeaning and insulting and it is time we stop normalizing it!
This is precisely why Manushya Foundation along with the ASEAN regional Coalition to #StopDigitalDictatorship organized a webinar to discuss this issue! We wanted to hear the powerful voices of the courageous women working on the ground from all over Southeast Asia, to hear their experiences and their solutions to resist online harassment and cyberbullying.
From the webinar, women human rights defenders #WHRDs gave us guidelines on the next steps we could take to protect WHRDs and women everywhere in the digital space. Honest experiences and thought-provoking stories were shared by our amazing speakers, building a strong feeling of solidarity and calling on all of us to truly address the need for mental health support women should receive due to the impacts of cyberbullying. By bravely sharing their lived experiences with all of us, by telling us genuinely what they have gone through, our wonderful WHRDs speakers reminded everyone that we are not alone in our fight. We will always have people who will continue to stand by us and fight with us no matter what.