Publisher: APCNews Johannesburg, 14 December 2010
As part of APC’s MDG3: Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women campaign, international news agency IPS partnered with APC to report on the intersection of ICTs and violence against women around the world. In these three articles, IPS reports on how women are targeted for cyber crimes in Pakistan, are using ICTs to build self-esteem in Argentina, and are experiencing greater gender-based violence due to an increase in ICT use in Uganda.
Women targeted for cyber crimes in Pakistan
In Pakistan, women’s rights activist Fariha Akhtar says that women have become easy targets for cyber crimes in her male-dominated South Asian country. “We prefer being abused and harassed than being ‘dishonoured’ in the eyes of society,” she said in “For Women, Cyber Crimes Are All Too Real,” an article written by international news agency IPS for APC’s Take Back the Tech! campaign to end violence against women.
The article reports that women in Pakistan are increasingly becoming victims of cyber pornography, where photos of women are altered electronically to become lewd images that are then posted on the internet or are sent via mobile phones.
The article also explains the lack of a legal framework in Pakistan to prosecute cyber criminals means it is difficult for women who are victims of cyber crimes to seek justice. Akhar joined the Take Back the Tech! campaign in 2009 and since then has advocated and written widely on the safe and secure use of ICTs (information and communication technologies).
Using ICTs to build self-esteem in Argentina
In Click Here to Escape Gender Violence IPS reports on a Catholic nun, Norma Santa Cruz, who heads a programme in Buenos Aires, Argentina, aimed at bringing ICTs to women who are victims of violence.
“The goal is for the women to set up an email account, a blog or a Facebook page, in order to use the social networking sites and link up with other women, in a learning process that can help them rebuild — or build — their self-esteem,” says Santa Cruz. The programme won a Take back the Tech! Fund small grant.
Increase in ICT use sees increase in violence against women in Uganda
IPS describes the rapid growth of the ICT market in Uganda coupled with the increase in gender based violence due to the use of information and communications technology in ICT Boom for Economy, A Bust for Some Women.
The article reports on a new study from Makerere University’s Department of Gender and Women Studies, which found that the majority of women ICT users have had conflicts within their families, especially over issues of freedom and control.
The article also looks at how APC partner WOUGNET has trained women and rights advocates on how to use ICTs, how to minimise the negative effects of using ICTs, and has raised awareness of violence against women in Uganda through use of short message services (SMS).
IPS is APC’s MDG3: Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women campaign media partner for 2010.