With the rapid evolution of the internet, today we find ourselves in a digital world which is supposed to be modern, fast paced, innovative and free to be explored beyond limits. However, traditional bullying too has extended itself to promote cyber harassment. Instead of verbal and physical abuse; users throughout the World Wide Web often fall victim to cyber-stalking, malicious messages, breached privacy and even impersonating.
Pakistan has been identified as a country where the use of internet is growing pretty fast. Despite the fact that this has accelerated cyber bullying; internet users are unaware of their digital rights due to the stringent legislations against cyber crime in the country. Pakistani women are suffering the most in all this. Let’s discuss about this issue in detail.
Cyber Harassment & Women of Pakistan
We are part of a nation where women are usually victimized in different situations. Sadly enough, they tend to suffer the same fate online as they do in the offline world. In other words, they are the ones who face a higher rate of cyber harassment.
A research conducted about Pakistani women showed that 70% of the women avoid publishing their photos online in the fear of being misused, while 50% of the surveyed females believed that online violence is at its worst on social media.
The vulnerability of female users on the internet is definitely real. Facebook accounts are seen to be hacked routinely, and mostly women are made the target of cyber bullying with their private pictures getting photoshopped into erotic poses, and even nudity in some extreme cases. The hacked account is even used to send impersonated messages to the victim’s friends and family members.
Another study on the surveillance of female journalists in Pakistan depicted that media houses across the country hardly support women, when they file a case of sexual harassment. In fact, the participants insisted that line managers and editors fail to consider online abuse and digital surveillance as serious matters.
Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) to the Rescue
Nighat Dad, a lawyer by profession, pioneered into removing the daily obstacles faced by women to access the internet freely. She founded the Digital Rights Foundation to defend digital rights associated with cyber crime over social media. The organization’s latest campaign “Hamara Internet” aims mainly to shield women against abuses in the cyber world by holding digital security training workshops. It protects the rights of everyone to use the internet freely without facing any sort of harassment online.
Moreover,Digital Rights Foundation has also launched Pakistan’s first cyber harassment help line to offer free support to all victims of online bullying. Such an initiative was much-needed. Reports show that during the initial four months of cyber harassment help line operation, 535 calls were received at the help line, from which 62% were made by women. Gradually.
Digital Rights Foundation strives to ensure that women look up the internet as a safe place where they can voice their thoughts without being harassed or having their data privacy breached.
Do you know anyone who is a victim of cyber harassment? Be the first one to inform them about their digital rights today!