The Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme (APC WRP) has worked to render visible the impact of online gender-based violence (GBV) on women’s rights for more than a decade. We have worked with women's organisations and advocates to identify, monitor, analyse and combat uses of the internet and digital technologies that are harmful to women and marginalised communities, and with individual internet users to assist them in using technology to document and combat online GBV and challenge harmful sexist online practices. We have also advocated for internet policy and regulation that enable the expression, protection and promotion of human rights, women's rights, and the rights of people of diverse sexualities to both states and private sector actors. Over the past few years particularly, we have seen how online GBV has moved from a peripheral discussion in both the women’s rights and internet rights communities to occupying a central space in conversations about a free and open internet.
This submission draws on the above experience as well as that of working with partners in the global South to understand, respond to and prevent online GBV. It takes the perspective that online GBV is part of the continuum of violence against women and as such occurs in all countries, contexts and settings, is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights, and is a “manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women and systemic gender-based discrimination.”