Online attacks: What threats do women human rights defenders face?

Human rights activists inevitably face harassment both on and offline, and this effect is magnified by the topics tackled by women’s rights activists. Discussion of deep-seated taboos sparks heated debates across the globe.

The Association for Progressive Communication (APC) recently released a report exploring the kinds of threats that some women’s rights activists face online. APC surveyed 40 activists working across the globe, as part of their ongoing efforts to use technology to battle violence against women online.

The greatest fear for respondents was the possibility of private information being shared online without their consent, while 90 per cent of Spanish-speaking respondents expressed fears over the security of social networking sites. English speaking respondents were also more likely to report harassment online over Spanish speaking ones, but this could do with English being more widely used online.

The report looked at the kinds of threats the activists have faced as well as the kinds of training that activists feel they need:

Analysis of threats faced by surveyed WHRDs  | Association of Progressive Communication (APC)

APC is also working on a more long-term project documenting and fighting against violence against women online — whether that is cyberstalking, surveillance, or manipulated images. It’s important to examine gender-specific obstacles to free speech both on and offline.

More on this story:

Women and free speech

Sara Yasin is an editorial assistant at Index on Censorship