As part of unpacking the annually commemorated 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, the Coalition of African Lesbians [CAL], in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications [APC] would like to host a day-long conversation and awareness raising platform. The engagement will be looking into violence against women online and investigating the occurrence of this violence, the recognition of cyber violence as violence by society and what the legal environment provides, in terms of protection and recourse, for women who experience violence online.
Information about violence that women experience online is not popular or public. But yet so many women are harassed, trolled and intimidated in various online spaces in South Africa. Various media outlets have resolved to altogether do away with the comment sections of their websites because many aggressions and violent expressions are carried out in online spaces.
The same misogyny that is experienced offline plays out online, and women are targeted in deliberate attacks as people who honestly and fearlessly express themselves, for various reasons and across varied online platforms. The many experiences of women’s online violence goes largely ignored, with many people, even within social justice structures working to end violence experienced by women not recognizing this as ‘real’ violence.
This day’s conversation will attempt to cover the following:
- Awareness: we hope to invite various stakeholders to assess the extent of our knowledge on online violence experienced by women. Through this process, we hope to gauge whether there is enough awareness about online violence, what it looks like, and also to investigate how violence online presents itself.
- Sharing or experiences and examples: we hope to create a safe space for women to speak about our experiences of violence online, and how/if we responded to this violence.
- Legal environment: we hope to look at the legal environment in South Africa with regards to cyber-crime, and whether violence against women online is recognised by law enforcement and what provisions exist for women seeking recourse.
- Initiatives and examples that work: we hope to look into countries inside and outside Africa that have taken steps to protect or prevent violence against women online, as well as have provided avenues for recourse for women who report online violence.
- Recommendations: we hope to draft a document that has recommendations for action for the various stakeholders present. These recommendations will be shared wide with the various stakeholders that affect and are affected by the occurrence of online violence.
To make this conversation as rich, informative and inclusive as we intend to make it, we would very much appreciate your participation.
Please indicate if you are available to take part in this which is taking place on Thursday, 3 December 2015.
Once you confirm we will be sure to share logistical information for this event.
If you cannot participate physically, you can Skype in for the conversation, or follow @CALAdvocacy on twitter for daily updates of the event, but please RSVP so that we know who will be there!
Please send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, who is also copied in on this email.
Looking forward to a yes and starting an important and exciting conversation!
Coalition of African Lesbians