A new edition examines how violence against women (VAW) affects our privacy rights in the digital age. VAW survivors often experience intrusions into their privacy from their partners, spouses or the State. Moreover, privacy does not always work to women' s advantage. Family-centred approaches to privacy impose modesty and domestic isolation on women and make it hard to enforce domestic violence as a crime. So how have ICTs shifted where we see the line between what is private, and what is public? How much privacy are women comfortable to give up in order to protect themselves from abusive behaviour online? Are national laws ready to deal with the situation when women are not able to leave a violent relationship because their partner has intimate photographs or video clips of them? These are some of the questions examined by GenderIT.org's writers in the third edition in a row that connects ICTs, VAW and Millennium Development Goal Three (MDG3). The edition is part of APC WNSP´s MDG3 project Take Back the Tech! to eliminate violence against women.

With this edition we also bring you a new look GenderIT.org. The new format was motivated by our efforts to engage more with GenderIT.org readers and to provide more space for networking and collaboration. We hope you like it! Please send your comments to: genderit@apcwomen.org

Image by Fabricio Caiazza.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Two sides of the same ICT coin - breaking the silence /breaking the laws

GenderIT.org writer Mavic Cabrera-Balleza speaks with Sylvie Niombo and Francoise Mukuku, ICT activists from Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) respectively. They discuss various facets of the information and communication technologies and the context to which they apply in the DRC . The interviewees elaborate on how ICTs can be used to reduce incidence of violence against women and how it is also widely used in ways that aggravate the violence and violate privacy laws. They also explain why access to ICTs is critical to the DRC and how it can be used to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Pakistan: Jehan Ara talks on censorship, and intrusion into women's space (audio, 23 mins)

GenderIT.org editor Sonia Randhawa interviews the president of the Pakistan Association of Software Houses for IT & ITES (P@SHA), Jehan Ara, about privacy, ICTs and violence against women, touching on censorship, and intrusion into women's space by both the State and non-state actors - such as husbands, boyfriends, fathers and family.

South Africa: Privacy and domestic violence online and off

While women's rights activists have been at the forefront of making the private crimes that occur at home - domestic violence, marital rape - public, new technologies are making the private public in ways that disenfranchise, alienate and violate women. Esther Nasikye and Sally-Jean Shackleton explore how ICTs, privacy and domestic violence in South Africa are showing up problems in both policy and practice.

Argentina: Strategic use of ICT as a response to violence against women

Although violence against women through information and communication technologies is not yet a matter of public discussion in Argentina, the problem affects the lives of women and girls. A workshop held in Buenos Aires by APC WNSP to guide women in the strategic use of ICTs to combat violence resulted in some interesting initiatives. Concern regarding the irregular use made of cell phones, the growing circulation of pornographic images and the impact of social networks on women’s privacy are some of the points highlighted in the debates at the workshop. In connection with the workshop, Florencia Goldsman and Flavia Fascendini investigate the status of public policies aimed at promoting the use of ICTs to fight violence towards women, and delve further into some of the aspects of privacy and security.

South Africa: Pornography and the internet - justifiable protection or entrenching patriarchy?

A draft Bill proposing a ban on sexual content on the internet and cellphones submitted to the South African Department of Home Affairs in May 2010 claims to have the best interests of women and children in mind. The Bill was submitted to the Department, which oversees the Film and Publications Board, by a non-profit organisation called Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA).