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21 March 2019 | Updated on 6 May 2024

APC launched the Exploratory Research on Sexuality and the Internet (EROTICS) network in 2009 to undertake a research and advocacy project in India, Brazil, Lebanon, South Africa, the United States and Indonesia that looked at internet-related challenges facing LGBTIQ and other sexual rights communities.

One of EROTICS' greatest achievements since then has been to bring in new actors from different movements, building alliances to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movements and influence internet rights groups to also take up gender and LGBTIQ issues in their work.

Building on this strong pre-existing coalition, between 2016 and 2018 the APC Women's Rights Programme (WRP) implemented the “Building EROTICS Networks in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka” project, which strengthened the participation of an already participating country (India, partnering with active member of the network Point of View), and brought in new actors from two new countries to this advocacy arena: in Sri Lanka (partnering with Women and Media Collective), and in Nepal (partnering with LOOM).

EROTICS network expands and deepens

In 2019, and as a continuation of the previous work to deepen the network regionally, APC WRP will implement “Expanding the EROTICS network in South Asia”, a two-year project with support from AmplifyChange, which aims to achieve three key developments:

  • Expanding the network of sexual rights and digital rights activists from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal and including new partners in Bangladesh, as well as strengthening the network with partners in Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Expanding capacity building on feminist digital security through storytelling with local partners through a training of trainers, to amplify the reach of skills and knowledge.
  • Strengthening the policy advocacy work of the network in regional policy processes on internet rights and sexual rights by supporting in-depth policy research, as well as the advocacy capacities of the network members.

The local partners in Bangladesh, India (Point of View), Nepal (Body and Data and LOOM) and Sri Lanka (Women and Media Collective and Ghosha) will contribute to the development of the EROTICS network at the national level on five main areas of work in the region, which are:

  • Network development, acting as a node for LGBTIQ and sexual rights activists, collectives and organisations to learn about the issues; building linkages and trust between existing and new stakeholders by convening people; and working towards creating the conditions for self-organised efforts “making the periphery the norm”, promoting decentralisation and autonomy.
  • Knowledge sharing by co-creating knowledge and learning together, through localisation of the global monitoring survey on sexuality and the internet for South Asia and the realisation of baseline research in Bangladesh looking at the intersection of sexuality, rights and the internet.
  • Capacity building on storytelling and digital security.
  • Collaborative national and global campaigns.
  • Collaborative national and regional advocacy interventions.

The EROTICS network has worked to bridge the gap between movements by building the capacity of sexual rights activists to engage in debates on internet governance policy, as well as building the awareness of internet rights organisations to include sexual rights in their advocacy. Increasing the number of organisations and sexual and internet rights activists from different contexts to become part of this effort is a strategic step towards building a feminist and safe internet for all.

By the end of this project, APC and partners expect sexual rights and internet rights activists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to be an active part of building and sustaining resilient networks of activists and organisations who share knowledge, are aware of potential threats, and are better able to respond.

Visit the EROTICS website here.

Check the full list of our partners here.

Read the EROTICS Global Survey 2017: Sexuality, rights and internet regulations.

Read the EROTICS South Asia exploratory research: Sex, rights and the internet.