Since 2005 APC been working to strengthen the capacity of women’s rights activists and organisations to use technology tools in their work to end violence against women and to respond to the growing incidence of technology-related violence against women . In 2006, the Take Back the Tech campaign was launched to call on all users of information and communication technologies ICT) – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence. From 2009 to 2011, this work was further developed to deepen knowledge and actions around these issues. The results of the "Take Back the Tech! To end violence against women” project demonstrated the need to use new tools to ascertain and find solutions to the type of violence women face online.
Through this ongoing work, we found that the most common cases of technology-related VAW documented include cyberstalking, sexual harassment, surveillance, privacy violations and the unauthorised use and manipulation of personal information including images and videos. We found that while these violations are increasing, women and girls who fall victim do not know what to do to stop the abuse, what charges they can report, who they should report to and what help they can get. In many countries policies, regulations or services that respond to these new forms of violence do not exist or are inadequate. The report "Voices from digital spaces" elaborates on these issues in great detail.
Violence is taking place online. Monitoring efforts by governments in many parts of the world on cases of violence against women often omit this critical and growing form of violence. Without documentation, they remain unrecognised, excluded from or little understood in the concerted efforts to end the persistent reality of violence against women all over the world.
Map it!! Join this initiative!
The call to document is a call to bear witness. It is to make the invisible visible. Take Back the Tech! calls women and girls to take control of technology to tell our own stories, create our own testimonies, represent ourselves and shape our own narratives about the violence that women and girls face all over the world.
It is about demanding the world see what it doesn’t want to see, or only see from the lens of the sensational or horrific. And to hold witnesses accountable for being implicated in creating a world where violence against women perpetuates.
We are calling for connections, between women who think their stories are isolated, insignificant or anomalous, to seeing a global picture of the violence that women all over the world are facing, simply because we are women, and that each story matter. Because each story is part of a whole that we create together, as people who see, who act, who tell, who respond, who reinforce, who subvert, who disrupt, who transform.
This initiative is about a feminist way of knowing, of representing, of bearing witness. And of demanding and creating change. It is part of the Take Back the Tech! Campaign and a new project “End Violence: women's rights and safety online”. It is a collaborative effort that calls on organisations and individual campaigners in different parts of the world to document, tell stories and build a body of evidence on violence against women that takes place online, or through the use of ICTs like mobile phones and the internet.
The stories will be used by campaigners to advocate for recognition and redress for technology-related violence against women at local, national and international levels. They will also inform efforts to strengthen the capacity of women and girls to address and deal with violence against women that they might face online, and the work of women's human rights defenders and internet rights advocates on the issue of violence against women.
The map is initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications, and built by the following organisations and collectives, also in charge of their country maps. These country maps aggregate simultanously to the global one:
- One World Platform for Southeast Europe (OWPSEE), Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia
- Colnodo, Colombia
- Si Jeunesse Savait, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- KictaNet, Kenya
- Bytes for All, Pakistan
- Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), Philippines
- Erika Smith, APC
MAP IT! We invite you to join and report cases in your own countries or that you know of in other areas of the world to help us to build strong evidence to work for the elimination of online violence against women!
This project is possible thanks to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Fund