24 Nov 2023 #NoExcuse: Join the 16 Days of Activism campaign and take action to #EndCyberGBV
Gender-based violence on and through digital communication technologies is arguably the most pervasive human rights violation on the Internet.
It is clear that technology — once considered an agent for gender equality — has become a serious threat to women’s rights.
Sexual harassment. Rape threats. Objectification. Body-shaming. Sextortion. Non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Doxing. Sexual exploitation. Defamation. Trolling.
These and multiple other forms of cyberviolence against girls and women have found a home across digital platforms, on social media and the dark web.
Knowledge of the true scale of the problem is obstructed by lack of an internationally shared definition of cyberviolence and of a standardized approach to data collection. Existing evidence however indicates a high prevalence across the world.
According to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2020, almost four in 10 women report having experienced online violence, 65% know other women in their networks who have been targeted online, and 85% have witnessed such violence against other women.
Young women, women in public life, and those from marginalized social sectors are most at risk of becoming targets.
Media stories documenting experiences of its targets reveal just the tip of the iceberg of the harms that resulting from it. Gendered cyberviolence causes psychological impacts from depression to suicide. It undermines women’s participation in society, in economic activity, and in democratic processes.
And it silences women and girls by closing the space for their enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression on and through the Internet. Violence online is as real and as much a violation of women and girls’ communication rights as violence offline.
More than three decades have passed since the first global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign was held in 1991. That gendered cyberviolence morphs and adapts to new technologies rapidly indicates an urgency to invest in counterstrategies that can keep up with technological evolution.
There is no excuse for cyber gender-based violence. On the occasion of this year’s 16 Days campaign, WACC calls its members, partners, and allies to act to help create a digital sphere free of gender violence.
- Familiarise yourself with social network policies, platform community standards and safety tools. X’s (formerly Twitter) Hateful Conduct Policy and Meta’s safety policies are a good place to start.
- Report gendered cyberviolence when you see it. Use the platform reporting channels to bring incidents to the attention of content moderators.
- Find out if your country has legislation outlawing gender cyberviolence and let us know. Direct message or tag @whomakesthenews on X, @Global.Media.Monitoring.Project on Facebook or @gmmpglobal on Instagram. Or email us at email@example.com. This information will help us develop a global action and advocacy plan.
- Share your definition of gender cyberviolence on our GMMP and Who Makes The News social channels listed above.