End violence against women: language and action @ CSW57th

This GenderIT.org edition offers reflections on language and actions surrounding issues of technology-related forms of violence against women (VAW). We’re looking at these in the perspective/context of the APC project “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” and the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which took place between 4-15 March in New York.

The 57th CSW was dedicated to the theme “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. For the first time ever, this global policy-making body included among its agreed conclusions a paragraph addressing the intersection between VAW and information and communication technologies (ICTs). It specifically mentions the needs to promote technology as a means for women’s empowerment and to prevent and combat technology-related forms of VAW. Though far from perfect, this is an important step in the engagement of governments, ICT companies and civil actors in addressing this new form of VAW which is increasingly becoming part of women’s experience.

Read the unedited version of the CSW 57 agreed conclusions

Read APC Women’s Rights Programme Statement to the CSW 57th Session. Violence against women and information and communications technology

Read more about the End violence: Women’s rights and safety online project

The edition is a part of APC’s End violence: Women’s rights and safety online project financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (DGIS) Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Fund

Image by UN Women

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Right into reality

Important achievements were attained at the recent Commission on the Status of Women 57th session reviewing government progress worldwide in addressing violence against women and girls. One such attainment was governments' recognition of the growing role of information and communication technologies in the continuum of violence against women.

Perhaps you are a bit skeptical about the usefulness of such declarations in transforming women's every day lives. After all, in this same meeting feminists and governments alike heard about ever-increasing violence against women and girls – sexual violence in areas of conflict, sexual harassment on the streets, adolescent and child pregnancy, intimate partner violence, feminicides. Even if we interpret greater documentation as a sign of government progress to address VAWG (despite many noted limitations in unifying and honing data collection) the figures are numbing. We still need those vital civil society shadow report statistics to offer us a closer and frequently harsher, albeit unoffical, view of VAWG realities across the world.
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Technology and violence against women @ CSW57th: "Both NGOs and states raised this as an issue of concern"

The 57th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women met in New York from 4th to 15th March. This year the major theme was the 'Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women'. Chat Garcia Ramilo and Jan Moolman from the Association for Progressive Communications' Women's Rights Programme were there, and spoke to Sonia Randhawa about what the CSW is, why it is important and some of the major discussions that took place.
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Philippines: “If no justice is given to the survivors/victims then the laws become useless”

Violence against women in the Philippines is considered a public crime. According to the Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey, one in five women aged 15-49 has experienced physical violence since age 15. The advent of computers and internet exposes women to another dimension of violence. GenderIT.org writer, Esther Nasikye, talked to Foundation for Media Alternatives about the forms that violence against women takes online, and if new laws are needed to specifically address this issue.
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Reflecting on tech-mediated violence against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This interview conducted by Selina Mudavanhu from the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town (South Africa) with Leila Seper, member of OneWorldsee in Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) and responsible for the ‘Take Back the Tech!’ campaign and networking, reflects on the work developed by OneWorldsee, a civil society organization that works on online spaces and is one of the partners of the Association for Progressive Communications’ "End violence: Women's rights and safety online" project.
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Violence against women in Colombia: ICT overshadowed

In Colombia there is no law or public policy that relates directly to violence against women and information and communication technologies. "This is a scenario where a lot that needs to be done, but which, at the same time, offers us an opportunity," said Olga Martinez Paz of the organization Colnodo, which runs the Colombia part of the APC project "End violence: women's rights and safety online." GenderIT.org contributor Florencia Flores Iborra interviewed her about the highlights of the project in its first year and expectations for the coming year, the national legislative scene, the experience with mapping and documentation, and advocacy work on the local political level.
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Just a few words...

In the weeks leading up to the Commission on the Status of Women (4-15 March) violence against women I watched and read and listened and wept over the brutal gang rape and murder of "Anene Booysens":http://mg.co.za/article/2013-02-15-00-will-anene-booysens-brutal-rape-an.... As I remembered a similar gang rape and murder of another young woman – "Valencia Farmer":http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/385373.stm- 14 years ago, and read each day of more rape and sexual assault all around the country, I thought my heart would crack open and spill out all the fear, and powerlessness and horror and sadness. It didn’t crack open, but the hot tears that ran down my cheeks every night brought some relief.
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VAW that is committed, abetted or aggravated through the use of ICTs and in online spaces are part of the continuum of violence

Since 2006, cyberstalking, online harassment, image manipulation and privacy violations have increasingly become part of intimate-partner violence and sexual harassment, compromising women and girls' safety online and offline in many countries. Read APC's Women´s Rights Programme statement to the 57th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women.
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Violence against women online: A selection of tweets from CSW 57

Twitter activity during the 57th session of the Commission on Status of Women between 4-15 March 2013 was quite intense. GenderIT.org took part in the tweeting by addressing the debate around emerging forms of violence against women and information and communication technologies, and advocating for its inclusion in the agreed conclusions of the meeting.