Power of stories to reclaim women's rights

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*GENDER CENTRED: A GenderIT.org thematic bulletin*
APC WRP - GenderIT.org, 18 December 2012
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I. THOUGHTS AROUND... Security online, security offline


- Violence against women and ICTs: Map it! End it!

- Petition: Online and offline sex worker rights are human rights


- The online world might be scary, but it can be a place where we empower one another

- Tell me what social network you use and I'll tell you what your struggle is

- Digital World 2012: stories to end violence against women


- Stories that need to be heard

- Blaming the victim

- She's begging to be raped – Twitterverse for Feminists in Pakistan!

- A Facebook status can get you arrested faster than killing someone now

- Taking back the tech by tweeting for women´s rights


- Going visible: Women’s rights on the internet

- Implicating mobile phones in violence against women

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The 2012 Take Back the Tech! campaign, a collaborative campaign that takes place annually during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, featured 16 stories for 16 days. Each of these stories presented in a different way how the internet and mobile technologies affect the lives of women and girls around the world. One of these stories was from Nica and Jothi from the Foundation for Media Alternatives, who wrote about their struggle for legal redress for technology-related violence against women in the Philippines claiming that “without the full recognition of women’s human rights, the path to recognition can sometimes act to cripple instead of empower”.

Because, ultimately, what do women rights mean if they can not be practiced? What does the right to a life free of violence mean, if many women are not able to enjoy it? What do internet rights mean if women can not communicate safely? This last GenderIT.org edition in 2012, with an editorial by Françoise Mukuku from the Democratic Republic of Congo, reflects on some of the issues that emerged from these stories of survivors and their courage.

On behalf of the GenderIT.org team, we want to say thank you for taking action with us to enhance women's rights on the internet, and wish you smooth transition into 2013.

Flavia, Sonia and Katerina from the GenderIT.org's team

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I. THOUGHTS AROUND... Security online, security offline
by Francoise Mukuku, country partner of the End violence: Women's rights and safety online project based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As I write, our online campaign: “respect online, respect offline” which, for 16 days, highlighted violence against women and girls in line with the campaign Take Back the Tech! inviting women and girls to use ICT to denounce violence, has just come to an end. But I realize that our campaign has been disrupted by the violence in my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, even though it has not come near the capital of Kinshasa. You may be wondering how conflict can disrupt a campaign that is online or public events made 2000 miles away from where the violence is taking place.

Well I have an answer. Violence that we, women and girls, suffer when we use information and communication technologies (ICT) is the same as the violence we know offline.

Read the full editorial at http://www.genderit.org/node/3725/

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*Violence against women and ICTs: Map it! End it!*
Have you or other women you know experienced violence against women online or through the use of information and communications technologies such as mobile phones and the internet? You get into action to end violence against women and map the incident. Come and join us to unmask online violence with just a few clicks.

*Online and offline sex worker rights are human rights – Sign the petition*
APC’s Connect Your Rights campaign is teaming up with the global campaign Take Back the Tech – fighting violence against women – on its 12th day of action (from 16). We are offering three stories to make the case for urgent action on sex worker rights, online and offline. Read more and be sure to sign our petition.

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*The online world might be scary, but it can be a place where we empower one another*
Online harassment has become incredibly common for women around the world. Perpetrators of this violence act without fear of recourse, as anonymity protects them, and law does not limit their hate speech. Many women leave the online world out of fear that this violence will affect them in the offline world. But there are strategies that exist for women online activists to use to protect themselves, and to continue to make their voices and opinions heard. Jen Thorpe discusses some of these in this article.

*Tell me what social network you use and I'll tell you what your struggle is*
This article, written by Florencia Flores Iborra for GenderIT.org, analyses some current cultural practices on some of the more popular online social networks, and the ways in which the publication policies of these platforms support or restrict the proliferation of certain behaviors relating to respect for the rights of women on the internet.

*Digital World 2012: stories to end violence against women*
The “Digital World 2012: Knowledge to Prosperity” conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh 6-8 December was an amazing mashup of private sector, government, education, and civil society united in their interest in ICT for development. As coordinator of APC's "End violence: Women's rights and safety online project", Jan Moolman attended the meeting to present Take Back the Tech! in a session spotlighting tech-related violence against women and girls. Never before has a major national technological event spotlighted the elimination of violence against women as a priority.

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*Stories that need to be heard*
By Sonia Randhawa
Tonight, as I was thinking through this blog, my three-year-old offered to help. “It's not easy,” I warned her. “You see, there was a man who hurt a woman. He hurt her lots, and told her that if she didn't keep quiet, that he'd hurt her again. But she didn't keep quiet, and she told people her story.”

*Blaming the victim*
By Erika Smith
It was a bit like ping-pong - reporters, activists, and representatives from civil society organisations in a hot debate on privacy in Facebook. Some pointed out how Facebook (FB) from its inception is designed to encourage giving up your innermost secrets – or at least your relationship status. That privacy configurations change frequently on FB and it's hard to keep up or understand the implications of a change.

*She's begging to be raped – Twitterverse for Feminists in Pakistan!*
By Urooj Zia
'She's begging to be raped.’ That's the response that many feminists in Pakistan get online from Pakistani men seeking to shut them up. This is a response from Pakistani men to women merely tweeting about issues related to sexualised violence.

*“A Facebook status can get you arrested faster than killing someone now”*
By Rafia Shaikh
In India, the largest democracy on Earth, 21-year old girl Shaheen Dhada was arrested for posting a status update on Facebook questioning the complete shutdown of cities for Bal Thackeray’s (rightwing leader notorious for inciting religious hatred and violence) funeral on Sunday, 18th November. Her friend Renu Srinivas was also arrested for “liking” the update which reportedly read: "People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a 'bandh' [shutdown] for that."

*Taking back the tech by tweeting for women´s rights*
This selection of tweets circulated during the 2012 Take Back the Tech! campaign spotlights some of the key issues addressed during the 16 Days as well as relevant and provocative resources regarding violence against women and technologies.

To read more feminist talks visit: http://www.genderit.org/feminist-talk

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*Going visible: Women’s rights on the internet*
Information and communication technologies create new scenarios, new ways for people to live, and these reflect real-¬life problems. The internet has become an increasingly critical public sphere for the claiming of citizenship rights and civil liberties, including women’s rights. Inequalities that women face in terms of economic power, education and access to resources also affect access and participation in shaping the internet, its debates and policy. This paper, developed by the APC Women´s Rights Programme as part of the United Nations’ global thematic consultation “Addressing inequalities – The Heart of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Future We Want for All”, questions “how can women and their rights go visible on the internet?”

*Implicating mobile phones in violence against women: What’s gender got to do with it?*
This paper written by Dr. Kutoma Jacqueline Wakunuma, gives an analysis of women and men’s differential access and use of the mobile phone and how through it gender stereotypes are reinforced. During a four year study in Zambia, it emerged that although there were clear advantages that have come as a result of mobile phones some negative social impacts which reinforce gender stereotypes and power relations and subsequently result in violence against women have remained largely un-documented. The paper therefore makes the case that despite the clear advantage of the mobile phone; it is also providing a new focal point for social conflict and violence in relationships.

Read also:
*Voices from digital spaces: Technology related violence against women - executive summary*

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*2012 APC Women's Rights Programme (APC WRP). Except where
otherwise noted, content in this newsletter is published by GenderIT.org, a
project of the APC WNSP, and licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to
share, republish or remix so long as you attribute GenderIT.org and the
author clearly as the original source.

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Write to: mailto:genderit@apcwomen.org
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