Technology Related Violence Against Women
KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

N/A

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Policy/ decision Makers
Civic Tech Initiatives
Communities

KEY CATEGORIES

Violence Against Women
ICT
LGBTQI

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

Technology Related Violence Against Women: Investigating Tech Related Violence Against Women in Peri-Urban Areas of Uganda

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

LAST UPDATED

Live

Uganda

2018

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

Technology-related violence against women (tech-related VAW) encompasses acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email.

As highlighted by APC’s statement to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women:
“Violence against women that is mediated by technology is increasingly becoming part of women’s experience of violence and their online interactions. In the same way we face risks offline, in the streets and in our homes, women and girls can face specific dangers and risks on the internet such as online harassment, cyber stalking, privacy invasions with the threat of blackmail, viral ‘rape videos’ and for young women in particular, the distribution of ‘sex videos’ that force survivors to relive the trauma of sexual assault every time it is reposted online, via mobile phone or distributed in other ways.”

These forms of violence may be perpetrated via technology but they cause psychological and emotional harm, reinforce prejudice, damage reputation, cause economic loss and pose barriers to participation in public life, and may lead to sexual and other forms of physical violence.

QUICK FACTS/TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CASE STUDY

Tech-related abuse is violence! Challenging myths about VAW

Myth: Violence that takes place online is not “real violence”.
Violence against women is often erroneously interpreted as encompassing only physical or sexual harm against women. However, relevant international human rights documents consistently include psychological or mental harm, as well as threats of harm under the full definition of VAW.

Myth: Violence that is not physical is not as damaging.
As previously noted, psychological harm is recognised as a form of violence and is
clearly defined as a human rights violation under international law.

Analysis of cases from APC’s Take Back The Tech! mapping project showed that the harms resulting from technology-related VAW include emotional or psychological harm, harm to reputation, physical harm, sexual harm, invasion of privacy, loss of identity, limitation of mobility, censorship, and loss of property.

LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Under international law, States must demonstrate due diligence by taking active measures to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence against women, including by ensuring accountability for private actors who commit abuses31.

APC’s research has shown that States are, for the most part, failing to exercise due diligence to adequately address technology-related violence against women.

APC recommends the following actions for States:

1. Recognition of technology-related forms of VAW

States should recognise VAW as a human rights violation and provide a comprehensive definition of VAW that includes psychological violence and recognises its occurrence in both public and private life. Technology-related forms of violence must be recognised by States as a form of violence against women and must be integrated in monitoring, prevention and response mechanisms, including in public policy and in expanding the implementation of anti- VAW laws.

2. Multi-sectoral prevention and response mechanisms

Adequately resourced holistic, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral (primary, secondary and tertiary) prevention and response mechanisms must be developed to include private sector technology actors, state telecommunications and communications institutions, and the technical and internet rights communities.

3. Evidence building: Reporting on technology-related forms of VAW

Systematic reporting and monitoring of technology-related forms of VAW must be instituted at all levels. National statistics and indicators on VAW must include a component reporting specifically on ICT-related VAW, so that trends can be monitored and addressed. States should, where possible, create a dedicated agency to receive and investigate complaints of VAW.

4. Capacity building for actors in the criminal justice system

Comprehensive capacity building should be provided for public officials in the areas of education, health, social welfare, and justice as well as the judiciary and police, and must include awareness, understanding and responses to technology-related forms of violence against women. Accountability mechanisms must be established and strengthened to ensure compliance of public officials with laws and regulations that respond to these violations.

5. Engaging intermediaries to build safer online spaces

Internet intermediaries including internet and mobile service providers must be called upon to develop corporate policies, practices and tools that respect women’s rights and condemn online practices that are harmful to women.

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NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.