“Take Back the Tech” Campaign: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Imagen compartida en Facebook por Dominemos la tecnología.

“If you're being harassed or abused online, find help and report it.  Online abuse exists and it's a crime.  Virtual Self-Defense, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.”  Image shared on Facebook by Dominemos la tecnología (Take Back the Tech's Spanish language campaign).

From 25th November to 10th December, 2013, the group “Take Back the Tech” invites you to the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women campaign, and to take action each of those days in order to end gender violence.

Each day's action explores a problem related to violence against women and its connection to communication rights. These actions will tackle different communication platforms both on and offline, in creative and tactical ways.

¿Cuál es el límite entre lo privado y lo público? ¿Es el hogar? ¿El cuerpo? ¿Se trata de pensamientos, relaciones, o espacios? ¿Qué pasa con los espacios digitales que cada vez ocupan más lugar en nuestras vidas? […]. Define tu límite. Da forma a tu espacio. Puedes aprender más acerca de la campaña este año aquí. […] #dominemoslastic #privacidad #16días

What is the limit between the private and the public? Is it the home? The body? Does it relate to thoughts, relationships or spaces? What about the digital spaces that take up more and more room in our lives?  […]. Define your limit. Shape your space. You can learn more about this year's campaign here. […] [Take Back the Tech] [Privacy] [16 Days]

“Take Back the Tech” was created in 2006 as a part of the women's rights program Association for Progressive Communications or (APC), a group of women from different parts of the world who “advocate for online collaboration in order to achieve social change and empower women through the use of information and communication technologies.”

The group aims to create safe digital spaces that protect everyone's right to participate freely, without harassment or threats to individual security.  “Take Back the Tech” also looks to recognize women's critical participation throughout history as well as their contribution to the development of information and communication technologies. Campaign kits and other material are offered on their website to help those interested organize individual or group campaigns.

The group starts with the premise that privacy is a right and an essential element in women's security; but that the same digital tools that are used to upset our privacy can also be used to recover it.

Imagen compartida en Facebook por Dominemos la tecnología.

“If you have experienced, or are experiencing internet violence, you can report it [on this website].” Virtual self defense, 16 Day of Activism Against Violence Against Women. Image shared on Facebook by Take Back the Tech.

Violence exists not only physically, but in social networks when one half of a relationship uses technology to watch their partner's behavior, often protected by the anonymity these spaces allow.

In social media networks the idea of what is public and private is risky and contradictory, meaning that women are at risk of new forms of violence. It's not always clear when consent is necessary, if anyone is watching, exactly what they are revealing or how open they are being with the public.

There are many victims of online abuse, including the making of threats or false accusations – frequently with insinuations of a sexual nature – on blogs, in chat rooms or over the phone. Some cases go so far as to end in identity theft, or the theft of personal information, to spying or to tracing internet and computer use. Threats such as these can make their way from the digital, into the physical world.

On Twitter, users quickly turned to the platform to express their opinions using the hashtags #16days and #takebackthetech [Tweets below come from the hashtags #16días and #dominemoslastic from the Spanish language campaign].

Some users offered quotes and statistics:

On a world scale, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by a person other than their partner. [16 Days]

Women who have suffered sexual violence are 2-6 times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. [16 Days]

In urban zones, women are two times more likely than men to suffer from violence [Orange the World – another hashtag associated with the campaign] [16 Days]

Women: 2-4 times more likely than men to contract HIV. [Orange the World] [16 Days]

Others shared their ideas about the campaign:

@Juanqro said it: REPORT IT. [Join In] [16 Days] to end Violence Against Women and Girls.

Let's color the world orange in 16 days! [16 Days] of activism against gender violence.

[Get Involved] @albertocara25 Be a Women, Be Brave, REPORT IT. [Join In] [16 Days] to end Violence Against Women and Girls

@dirpoblaciones @mincultura Sadly, so many forms of slavery survive. [16 Days] against violence against women.

Several websites, like Amnesty International and the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) have joined the campaign with links on Twitter and Faceboook showing examples and concrete cases of women whose rights have been violated.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, a 16 day blogathon has been organized, allowing both men and women to share their reflections, write poetry and stories, or publish information and photos to express their opinion against violence against women.  You can write about topics related to women, gender relations and their connection with technology.  There so many ways to participate – you just have to choose the one you like best!



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