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#HEREMETOO: Technology In The Gbv Equation

Publishing Date : 27 November, 2018

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Sunday 25 November 2018 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) will pedestal one of the greatest problems of today’s socio-economic challenges that continues to threaten the development of societies and growth of economies; development and growth translating into tangible qualitative and quantitative impact, that bears an array of positive socio-economic fruits, some namely equality, inclusion, diversity as well as safety.

Individuals, national actors, governments and the rest of the world from 25 November 2018 – 10 December 2018, will “Orange The World” brighter as a mark of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence on Women and Girls. Since the inception of the 16 Days Campaign, originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership in 1991; great strides have been made in advancing the elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), however the numbers continue to speak loudest in the road ahead that leads to realising the ideals of the 16 Days campaign.

In a fact sheet presented by the United Nations, “It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner”.

The Gender Based Violence Study Botswana indicated that, “Over two thirds of women in Botswana (67%) have experienced some form of gender violence in their lifetime, including partner and non-partner violence. A smaller, but still high, proportion of men (44%) admit to perpetrating violence against women. Nearly one third of women (29%) experienced violence perpetrated by an intimate partner”. The study further highlights that, “Emotional violence is the most common form of IPV experienced by women (45%) and perpetrated by men (37%) in the sample in their lifetime”.

Admits the wake of the interconnected world we exist in, with the rapid development and adoption of technology, the abovementioned statistics then begs the question; how has technology influenced the perpetuation of Gender Base Violence in our societies?
As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users. Internet World Stats reported Botswana has 830,000 Facebook subscribers in Dec/2017 out of the 923,528 internet users Dec/2017.

Technology has made it more affordable, efficient and easier to communicate and locate those we live and work with. It has as well served and continues to as a medium for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) perpetrators not only to commit but as well extend the violence committed through non-technological forms. With emotional violence being reported as the most common form of intimate partner violence in Botswana; a project led by the Association for Progressive Communications revealed that, “Most tech-related gender-based violence is perpetrated by someone known to the victim, either as an intimate partner or as someone belonging to the survivor’s immediate social circle.”

An ongoing global conversation has been held on the intersection of technology and GBV. This conversation has acknowledged the advancements that technology has enabled GBV survivors share experiences, advocates to rally support and individuals to take action in ending GBV. The conversation on technology-based GBV has also recognised the incomparable access and platform by perpetrators to information such as personal data and location of about their victims.

We must begin to have the conversation of the role of technology in GBV more boldly and loudly in Botswana. We must define the problem better through data as well as continually reflect on the structures in place institutionally to prevent, address and respond to GBV fundamentally those of legislature. Most importantly, we must empower now women and men alike, especially children on the definitions, identification and course of action one can take when faced with GBV.

Realising that technology has catapulted the problem of GBV we must view it as the tool that can be controlled and used to provide solutions to the GBV as it has in countries such as Australia through the development and use of mobile applications. The 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Girls of “Orange The World: #HereMeToo” gives each one of us an opportunity to be a part of ending all forms of violence on women and girls.



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