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18 February 2009 | Updated on 6 May 2024

How technology is being used to perpetuate violence against women…

  • The World Health Organisation states that women are disproportionately the victims of violence worldwide
  • The UN estimates that 95% of aggressive behaviour, harassment, abusive language and denigrating images in online spaces are aimed at women and come from partners or former male partners
  • Both men and women are affected by cyberstalking, but a survey in India found that victims aged between 18-32 were predominantly female
  • Research in Argentina shows that a woman’s mobile phone is one of the first items to be destroyed by a violent partner.

And how technology is being used to fight it…

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) like the internet and mobile phones are a double-edged sword – they can be used by abusers to deepen their control and by survivors of violence to connect to help and by women’s rights defenders to inform, denounce and strategise to end violence.

To APC, the most realistic and sustainable solution to the host of problems presented by these issues is the empowerment of women and girls through skills, knowledge, advocacy and community-building.

The MDG3: Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project – which began in January 2009 and aims to achieve the United Nations’ third Millenium Development Goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women – helps women participants negotiate the fraught terrain of ICTs where freedoms go hand in hand with growing privacy and security concerns. In a multifaceted approach to the intersection between ICT use and violence against women and girls, APC is:

  • administering small grants for interventions aimed at stopping violence against women through the use of ICTs
  • localising the Take Back the Tech! campaign in the 12 selected countries
  • organising Feminist Tech Exchanges to build the capacity of women’s right activists, marginalised women and girls, including survivors of violence
  • catalysing policy advocacy processes to integrate women’s rights perspectives in ICT policies in national contexts
  • working to increase women’s involvement and leadership in ICT policy spaces that have an impact on women’s rights.

Ultimately, we want to help create a global community of women and adolescent girls who are critically taking up ICT tools and using them to change what the UN Millennium project has called a global epidemic of violence.

A Take Back the Tech! Fund has also been set up to provide small grants of up to $5000 USD each to over sixty local, primarily community based organisations to implement projects that use ICTs to end violence against women and building their capacity to do so.

What countries are involved?

The project is being carried out in 12 developing countries:

Africa: South Africa, Uganda, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Asia: Pakistan, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Latin America: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil.

Who are the women and girls most likely to benefit?

Marginalised women: Survivors of domestic and sexual violence will participate directly in training activities. Vulnerable women, especially poor, rural and migrant women, will be reached in partnership with women’s rights organisations and work will be aimed at increasing their capacity to use technology for awareness-raising and educational rights-based campaigns.

Teenage girls: The project will reach out to adolescent girls and girls’ networks in target countries for participation in training activities, digital storytelling workshops, and in the Take Back the Tech! campaign.

Women in armed conflict: The project will offer training on safe practices for internet and telecommunications use to women and women’s organisations working in conflict situations.

More information

For more information on the intersection of ICTs and violence against women, please read our fact sheet How Technology is Being Used to Perpetrate Violence Against Women – And to Fight it.

Read reports and watch video presentations of the APC WRP team’s Take Back the Tech! Reclaiming technology for women’s rights session at the 55th Commission on the Status of Women (2011) in New York.