Why this research?
Today, online spaces such as social media and alternative news sites have become important sites for political, economic, social and cultural participation for women and girls worldwide, ranging from organising against discrimination and exclusion to the running of profitable businesses or making informed decisions about sexual health. Governments are also increasingly using the internet to provide services and information to citizens. However, there is a growing trend to silence women and keep them out of online public spaces and technology development. This is being done through tactics which are very similar to that of offline VAW, such as harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy.
Since 2005, APC have been mapping and analysing technology-related violence against women, as well as working with women's rights organisations and individual internet users to challenge harmful sexist practices, and promote women and girls' control of technology.
When we started this work we were often asked why are you doing this when there is so much “real violence” against women in the world. This is a luxury. The stories collected through the research document, why, not only is it misleading to think that there is no connection between the online and offline violence, but also show that this attitude of not seeing it as “real” has devastating consequences for women.