Gender based violence online has been reinforcing the digital marginalization of women in Nigeria and especially in the northern part of the country.
This assertion was part of the observations during the research validation meeting to address technology related violence online in Kano State organised by Center For Information Technology and Development (CITAD), with support from Association For Progressive Communication (APC), at Mambayya House, on 27th December, 2017.
A communiqué at the end of the research validation meeting also observed among others that: “There is need for sustained sensitization and education to createawareness about gender-based violence online and how t reduce its occurrence
“Current Penalty for gender-based violence related offences are inadequate and should reviewed to make them commensurate with the magnitude of offences and the possible consequences of such to the victims.”
Read the communiqué below:
COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE RESEARCH VALIDATION MEETING TO ADDRESS TECHNOLOGY RELATED VIOLENCE ONLINE IN KANO STATE ORGANISED BY CENTER FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT (CITAD), WITH SUPPORT FROM ASSOCIATION FOR PROGRESSIVE COMMUNICATION (APC), AT MAMBAYYA HOUSE, ON 27TH DECEMBER, 2017.
In 2016, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) undertook a research to find out factors that were inhibiting the use of internet by women in northern Nigeria. The outcome of the research is the book, “Internet for Men?:The Digital Marginalization of Women in Northern Nigeria.” One of the factors identified from that research was the fear of the internet. In particular, there were references to sexual harassment and other negative experiences that women are subjected to online. CITAD, with support from Association for progressive Communication (APC), therefore conducted a follow up research with a view to finding the instances of Gender Based Violence Online and what can be done to address it. On 27th December, 2017 it convened a Validation Meeting at which the findings of this research that were presented to the participants in the Validation Meeting for their comments and observations. Participants to the meeting which held at Mambayya House, Kano were drawn up from the academic, civil society, journalists, relevant government agencies and development partners.
During the Meeting, the participants resolved on the following:
- Gender violence online is a reality as the several cases presented from the findings of the research
- There is low awareness about safety tools and procure(ment) among women users of the internet
- That many perpetrators of gender based violence online exploit the lack of skills of women in safely serving the internet
- That as a consequence of the prevalence of gender-based violence online, a number of women do not want to use the internet
- There is also misconceptionand misunderstanding about the nature of the internet among people, including both men and women, which is reinforced by the instances of gender based violence online
- Instances of gender based violence is used by some men to discourage or even prevent their wives and daughters from using the internet
- Gender based violence online is reinforcing the digital marginalization of women
- In the specific case of northern Nigeria, this is also feeding into reinforcing the widening of gender gaps in educational accomplishment as now many examinations nowrequire competency in the use of the internet for whicha number of women are being discourage from using
- Although there is no specific law on GBVO,there are certain laws that may serve as one in course of rules of interpretatione.g the defamation of character and slander.
- The government should provide ICTs facilities within the educational sectorswith good teachers.
- There is need for sustained sensitization and education to createawareness about gender-based violence online and how t reduce its occurrence
- Current Penalty for gender-based violence related offences are inadequate and should reviewed to make them commensurate with the magnitude of offences and the possibleconsequences of such to the victims.
- There is the need for engaging the community on the impact on the internet global system.
- There is need to sensitize the public through means of communication on the mechanism that will be used on social media and internet to report, delete, block, untag violence against any persons.
- Religious leaders should preach against GBVO especially in congregational gatherings.
- Parent should help in providing guidance in the use of the internet to their children to
- Government should promote punishing those involvedin GBVO acts.
- Social media users should stop spreading GBVO related issues or controversial issues relating to GBVO.
- Provisions should be made that will make it easy for victims to access justice.
- Teachers at primary and secondary levels should create awareness of their students about GBVO.
- Review curriculum to inculcate awareness on GBVO.
- Existing laws that relate to gender-based violence online should be reviewed and new ones should be formulated to tame GBVO.
- Enhance online security tools to make it difficult for GBVO perpetrators to bully women.
- Women should not be publicizing their privacy online.
- Women should have a good understanding of “Terms and Condition” of any online application before accessing it.
- Barrister Badariyya Rabi’u Abubakar, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
- Sagir Salihu Chedi, Center for Research and Documentation (CRD)
- Binta LawanB ichi, Principal Kano Capital.
- Hauwa Sani Agadasawa, Representative of Shekara School
- Maryam Ado Haruna, Gender and Internet Advocayc Project, CITAD