Colombia: Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies

Read the English abstract of the paper below. Full paper is available in Spanish.
In 2004, 52,000 women suffered
violence, 91% at the hands of spouses,
partners or boyfriends. About 2,500 of these women suffered sexual
violence. Sexual attacks against women also take
place in hospitals, police stations, schools and nursing homes.
Furthermore,
internal war in Colombia is a source of violence
against women (VAW).
Trafficking of Colombian women
involves a good number of young women who are lured to abroad via
promises of jobs and find themselves
trapped by trafficking networks.
About 50,000 Colombian women are
caught in prostitution outside the country, many of them forced
to take drugs. In the countryside, women
become involved in prostitution because of
the internal violence, predominantly forced
by militia, paramilitary, or armed forces. Women in conflict areas
are liable to suffer sexual violence and
exploitation as domestic workers by armed organisations. Their
land is posessed by the military or
powerful local landowners. In 2007, 90 women in conflict areas were
condemned to death with no trial. Women
are heads of households in 67.8% of the displaced families in war
areas. There is trafficking of women and girls in conflict areas
where they are forced to join the parties
in conflict. In 2007, between 7 and 8 thousand boys and girls were
members of the armed forces in conflict. In urban militia, 25% of the
members were young girls. In Colombia, there is a law on VAW and
also on trafficking.
Thirty-eight
percent of the population uses
internet regularly. Almost thirteen percent have
internet services at home, and 87% of families have at least one cell
phone. Approximately thirty-six percent of
internet users are women. The Colombian government has paid special
attention to ICT policies, offering ICT
literacy programmes and ICT inclusion in marginalised areas. ICTs are
used to promote prostitution and pornography produced
in the country via the internet and
cellphones. Government has produced a
campaign to foster a “healthy use” of internet and to
protect children. Social movements and women´s movements have
also used ICTs for anti-VAW campaigning,
supporting survivors and promoting images
of women free from stereotypes in the
media.
Main
recommendations for action:
Government:
the country needs urgent action to end VAW in public, private and
institutional spaces, in the internal armed conflict and in the
symbolic sphere. There is a need to unify
all information systems and to strengthen the Inter-institutional
Committee Against Trafficking to prevent this crime and assist
victims.
Though there are laws that try to
prevent VAW and punish perpetrators, there are no public policies
aimed to eradicate VAW. In the ICT arena,
government has made progress in ICT use and
universal ICT access programmes. More
has to be done and measures should be taken to prevent ICT use in
VAW. Government should also take steps to protect women in conflict
areas, where they are victims of different kinds of violence
(economic, social and sexual).
Civil
society organisations: organisations
should start using ICTs strategically to prevent VAW, via
campaigns, research, information and analysis. They should be able to
disseminate good practices to overcome VAW.
Publication date: 
Miércoles, Noviembre 4, 2009
Year of publication: 
2009