Our executive director moderated a virtual fireplace on the experiences of young women and gender-expansive persons on advocacy for inclusive legal and policy frameworks/systems in addressing violence, the alternatives, and sharing the moments of joy and resistance. The goal was to contribute to the conversation and devise strategies for alternative forms of justice in a collective effort to end violence against women now. This space was organized by Akina Mama wa Afrika and was attended by over 50 people.
The panel "Digital Rights Violations and Digital Security Practices in Africa" was a session where Pollicy and Paradigm Initiative presented Digital SafeTea and Ripoti, different tools towards digital security violations. It was also a forum to talk about the unique digital security challenges groups like journalists, politicians and LGBTQIA+ people face, and the importance of accessible digital security education. Here are some of the questions that guided the conversation: 1. What are some key digital security challenges you have noticed in your line of work? 2. Why are digital security tools like Ripoti and Digital SafeTea important? What gaps are they filling? 3. What other ways do we envision digital security education can be made more accessible to everyone? 4. How can technology companies contribute to making digital security more accessible to everyone?
HRAPF completed a study titled ‘The Impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on access to justice for key populations in Uganda: A case study of LGBT persons and sex workers in Kampala and Wakiso Districts.’ The study discusses the impact of the April to June 2020 lock down on access to justice for LGBTI persons and sex workers in Uganda. The report makes recommendations on what access to justice related institutions can do to ensure that Key Populations access justice even during COVID-19 lock downs, which can also apply to other minorities and other Ugandans in general
In collaboration with CREA world and Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI), The Uganda LBQ women Loose network in July 2021 submitted the first ever LBQ women UPR shadow report to the UPR council highlighting the Human Rights concerns of LBQ women in Uganda. A launch event was therefore held to officially introduce this report to the public for advocacy purposes as well as information sharing.
HER Internet was part of a panel discussion on the various challenges faced by Youth Human Rights Defenders in the current shrinking civic environment in Uganda. This event was organized by Freedom House Uganda and was attended by several organizations working on human rights,the ambassador of the USA to Uganda and other key stakeholders in the human rights space. We highlighted the challenges faced by queer womxn and sex workers in utilizing and accessing digital platforms with the ever increasing rates of online violence.
HER Internet was part of a consultative meeting held by Pollicy on behalf of Facebook to understand how Facebook’s policies can better serve their user community and how to manage violating content on the platform. Specific discussions around the violence faced by public figures on their platform were held with the intention of enabling Facebook’s Bullying and Harassment policy, better serve their user community. Facebook regularly reaches out to external stakeholders to seek their expertise, provide visibility into their policies as well as discuss questions and concerns about their products
The Odyssey of Desire is a series of online conversations and explorations intended to lead us on a journey through the depth and breadth of our desires, in all their complex glory. Adventures (from the bedrooms of African women), an online platform where African women share their intimate experiences as told by us for ourselves is the one behind organising this series.
Our team leader took part in the Odyssey of Desire, a live Twitter conversation that candidly addressed things like sexting, sex tapes, and nudes and nothing was off-limits.
HER Internet is part of the accelerator campaign in partnership with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Amnesty Denmark. In light of the Sexual Offences Bill being passed by the parliament of Uganda, the campaign under #RepealSOBUg and #DeleteClause11 started off by the accelerators visiting various partners and allies in order to revisit commitments of allyship and strengthen existing partnerships with them and the LGBTQ community. The month of May was also significant to kickstart the campaign to celebrate and honor the International day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). All the organizations reached pledged to create safe spaces for LGBTQ persons in Uganda.
HER Internet hosted the launch of our report on a research study conducted all over Uganda to determine the experiences of lesbians, bisexual and queer (LBQ) womxn and Female sex workers (FSW) with violence in online spaces as part our contribution to build an evidence base to support collective advocacy efforts for the LGBTQ and sex work communities.
We are very happy to share with you the research report titled “The trends and impact of technology assisted violence among Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer Womxn and Female sex workers in Uganda.” The increasingly rapid technological advances have created new possibilities for the criminal misuse of ICTs. It is therefore important to interrogate how far the harm goes, the avenues of access to justice for these violations and what LBQ womxn and FSW needs are in this regard.
Technology intersects with virtually every aspect of our daily lives. In a survey involving service providers who provide services to victims of GBV, 97% indicated that victims who seek their services were being harassed, monitored and/or threatened by perpetrators misusing technology.
Understanding the impact of abusers’ misuse of technology, the types of technology misused, and the ways in which technology can be used to assist survivors is therefore crucial to providing survivor support. While harassment, threats and intimidation are not new tactics in the world of stalking, domestic and sexual violence, abusers are increasingly using technology as a means to monitor, harass, threaten, intimidate, impersonate and stalk their victims, making it difficult for survivors to find physical safety and eroding their sense of safety.
Uganda has seen tremendous growth in mobile penetration, and access to the internet; for example, teledensity estimates in 2015 were 64%. The country also continues to experience growth in the internet subscription, with a 37.4% internet penetration rate in the same time period. With these advancements in access, there is also a marked rise in the incidence of cybercrime such as fraud, hacking and identity theft.
An increasingly worrying trend amongst cybercrimes is online violence against womxn and the numbers increase exponentially. When queer womxn, non-binary persons and sex workers are added to the equation.
In the recent U.N. report, cyber violence was found to be just as damaging to womxn as physical violence. The report goes on to indicate that womxn are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber violence with growing access to internet across the world, which could in turn detrimentally impede the uptake of broadband services by girls and womxn worldwide.
“Online violence has subverted the original positive promise to the internet freedoms and into many circumstances has made it a chilling space that permits anonymous cruelty and facilitates harmful acts towards womxn and girls “
-Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN women.
We hosted a space with womxn to dialogue under the topic "Privacy online, offline and in between" as part of our contribution towards #cybersecurityawarenessmonth call to all of us to DoYourPart #BeCyberSmart.
Whether or not we have privacy while online today is up for debate. The key is knowing where the invisible line that we so often cross is. We believe the liberation of womxn comes from having the right information.
We are raising awareness on violence that occurs while using the internet and collecting experiences from different communities as well. We aim to equip as many womxn as possible with pertinent information on how to engage safely online which will in turn ensure that womxn are aware of their freedom*s* on the internet
We #ChooseToChallenge patriachy, a system of social stratification and differentiation on a gendered basis which provides material and opportunity advantages to men while simultaneously placing severe constraints on lives and activities of womxn.
Patriarchy is embedded within the online social fabric whether it is the predominance of womxn facing trolling, gendered censorship of bodies, male dominace in the technology industry or stereotypical representations reproduced in technologies like Alexa, Siri.
"Recognition of the harm that patriarchy has to people and planet does not mean that men are wrong and women are right; rather it's a call for new organisational forms and for relishing gender differences within a context of equality".
- Elizabeth Lesser.
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