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OAS launches publication on online gender violence, impact on the lives of women and girls

WASHINGTON, USA – The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the Organization of American States (OAS), with the financial support of the government of Canada, launched on October 21 the publication “Online gender-based violence against girls and women: Guide to basic concepts, digital security tools and response strategies”.

The document was presented by its author, Katya Vera Morales, during the fourth edition of the #MujeresCiber event, organized in conjunction with INCIBE.

This document is based on the homonymous manual published in 2019 by CICTE’s Cybersecurity Program, and contains updated information on the phenomenon of gender violence online, what are its manifestations and impacts, the actions taken by Latin American governments regarding this issue and a series of response strategies for women from different fields.

This report offers a unique perspective by providing, through studies from different sources, case studies and analysis of emerging threats, a comprehensive overview of how GBV is shaping up globally and its importance on the gender agenda and cybersecurity. Its content also highlights the existence of public policies to counteract manifestations of this type of violence in the region and includes a series of recommendations for the prevention and treatment of cases of gender violence online. Similarly, the publication is divided into two sub-documents, one with basic concepts and another with digital response strategies.

Among its main findings, the report highlights:

  1. Digital violence against women and girls has become one of the main risks to women’s freedom of expression, privacy, and digital security. It causes serious damage to the victims themselves and the digital community by reducing the validity of the human rights on the internet and the possibility of having a free, safe, and equitable cyberspace.
  2. Although more and more women are using the Internet, the persistence of gender stereotypes that keep them away from the use of technologies, added to the normalization of gender violence online, leads them to navigate in cyberspace without information and the tools necessary to prevent attacks on their digital integrity.
  3. When women are victims of online violence, they often reduce their digital interactions and censor themselves against the risk that the violence will continue, in turn limiting their ability to use the internet freely and confidently.

Alison August Treppel, executive secretary of CICTE, stated that: “Through this publication, CICTE reiterates its commitment to contribute to the generation of cybersecurity knowledge with a broader, more diverse perspective and with gender considerations. The importance of its publication in the current context will allow us to continue building a broader debate on how we can create a cyberspace in which more women and girls can express themselves and benefit from information and communication technologies (ICT) for their development.”

Alejandra Mora Mora, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the OAS, stressed that: “The online world has not only learned how to replicate the violence and discrimination experienced by women in real life, but also, in a second, it manages to amplify it to exponential levels. Therefore, it is essential to know the risks and take the necessary measures to prevent online violence against women and girls. This manual is a tool to achieve this goal.”

The publication is part of an alliance of the Cybersecurity Program attached to CICTE and the CIM, which seeks to disseminate information on cybersecurity with a gender perspective to promote reflections on these issues and responses by governments, civil society, and the private sector.



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