Briefer: Online Gender Based Violence

Challenges and Responses

Published: July 2021

With the advent of the digital era, online tools have been viewed as having the potential to empower marginalized groups, including women and girls, by generating new outlets for expression, learning, organization, solidarity, and consciousness. Some of this promise has been fulfilled, with the internet and social media facilitating new forms of mobilization by women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and activists. Unfortunately, at the same time, digital platforms have also increased violent content and behavior targeting women and girls online.

Over the last year, ICNL has supported two partner organizations working to raise public awareness about the impact of online gender-based violence on fundamental freedoms and identifying collective strategies to protect WHRDs against these attacks. In this briefer, we present some background on the issue and describe the ongoing work by our partners in pushing back against the use of online spaces and tools to violate the human rights and civic freedoms of women and girls.