FG, Other Stakeholders Urged to Step Up Fight Against Online Violence Against Women

FG, Other Stakeholders Urged to Step Up Fight Against Online Violence Against Women

  • Experts have called for more synergy between society at large, law enforcement, and digital platform owners
  • The call was geared toward ending the cases of violence against women (offline and online) to a proper conclusion
  • They also called for employers to conduct background checks of potential employees to verify their habits outside the workplace (including their social media history)

Lagos - The Nigerian government, digital platform owners, and other stakeholders have been urged to take more responsibility to end tech-facilitated gender-based violence perpetrated against women and girls within digital spaces.

This point was emphasised during the second session of the ongoing Digital Rights & Inclusion Forum (#DRIF22) - an annual event organised by Paradigm Initiative themed: “Towards a digitally inclusive and rights-respecting Africa,” held in Lagos on Wednesday, April 27.

Stakeholders Urged to Step Up Fight Against Online Violence Against Women
The three panelists and moderator pose for a photo after the end of the session. Photo credit: @TechHerNG
Source: Twitter

Hosted by TechHer, the session focused on “Sexual & Gender-Based Violence Perpetrated via Digital Spaces” and featured Aisha Salaudeen- a multimedia journalist; Nana Nwachukwu - a lawyer and women's rights advocate; and Gbenga Sesan- Paradigm Initiative’s executive director.

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The panel was moderated by Amina Salaudeen - TechHer’s program officer.

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Panelists affirmed that currently obtainable consequences for perpetrators of online violence were too lax and a significant driver of increasing instances of technology-facilitated GBV.

They also highlighted the haziness in reporting structures and gaps in legal frameworks set up to deter perpetrators of GBV online.

Nwachukwu said:

“Actions should have consequences. It is crucial to stop rationalising the habits of people who have character flaws directly linked to online violence.”

Sesan echoed the sentiment insisting that:

“If the laws protecting digital rights are strong enough, people will respect them whether they believe in legalese or not. That’s the power of consequence.”

He added that women are disproportionately targets of online attacks and frowned at men who seem more invested in defending perpetrators of online violence rather than seeking out justice.

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On her part, Aisha Salaudeen explained that unless retribution was swift, pronounced and publicised, perpetrators of violent actions online would continue to be emboldened while silencing women's voices on digital platforms.

Her words:

“Let justice be served against perpetrators appropriately across the nation and within digital spaces. Social media has encouraged so many trolls and people behind their keyboards. One often has to admit such people are far gone, even though it doesn’t feel good.
“It’s crucial to put out information around women’s rights and protections. It’s also just as important to ensure that some of these online trolls understand that there are massive consequences for their misconduct against women online.”

Shifting focus towards policies and digital platforms bearing more responsibility, Nwachukwu noted that the reporting lines for online harassment are frustratingly ambiguous.

The panelists agreed that a unified database indicating perpetrators of online GBV would help to protect women and girls from abusers.

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Amina Salaudeen, who moderated the panel, said in closing:

“We must remember to put in the work required to help those who have been socialised in a specific way to arrive at a place where they change their minds and help battle tech-facilitated GBV.”

DRIF22 continues across the African continent with more sessions looking to discuss other relevant matters focused on digital rights for users.

Federal govt vows to ensure late Osinachi gets justice

Meanwhile, the federal government has vowed that Late gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu will get justice even in death.

Minister of women affairs Dame Pauline Tallen said this in a statement she personally signed and seen by Legit.ng on Monday, April 11.

Dame Tallen said Peter Nwachukwu, the husband of the late popular gospel artiste, who was said to have violently abused her repeatedly, will be prosecuted.

Source: Legit.ng

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