Delhi-based legal not-for-profit organisation SFLC.in has in partnership with UNESCO launched a guide on dealing with Online Gender Based Violence (OGBV). The guide, titled 'How To Defend Your Online Spaces Against Online Gender-Based Violence’, is meant for users of online spaces. The guide helps in identifying various types of online abuse that take place and takes the user through possible recourses available to them to combat this form of violence. The guide is available in English, Hindi, Marathi, and Malayalam. It can be downloaded from the SFLC.in website.
Coinciding with the launch of this guide, SFLC.in also organized a learning call (webinar) to discuss the pervasive nature of OGBV and safeguards women can take to protect themselves. The learning call included a panel discussion on the topic of OGBV, addressed by Emma Gibson (Chief Executive Women Leading AI), Mahima Kaul (Head of Public Policy, APAC at Bumble), Bishakha Dutta (Co-Founder and Executive Director at Point of View). Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director at SFLC.in moderated the panel.
A recent study (based on an analysis of 94 court cases) on online gender-based violence in India reveals that Indian courts tend to treat cases of online violence towards women as less severe than physical violence due to the misconception that online space is less real or tangible than the physical world.
Speaking on the occasion, Radhika Jhalani, Legal Counsel at SFLC.in said, “Online Gender-Based Violence emerges as a formidable threat, casting a dark shadow on the active participation of women and marginalized communities in the digital realm. Despite the internet being hailed as a great equalizer, its pledge of providing a free and open space falters when women encounter hate speech online. Regrettably, many find themselves without the understanding to articulate such acts of violence or seek redress. SFLC.in's comprehensive guide, available in multiple languages, endeavors to empower users by shedding light on various forms of gender-based violence. Through accessible language and illustrations, the guide equips users with the knowledge to recognize and respond to these challenges. Our steadfast belief in a fair, open, and feminist internet is reflected in this resource”
The educational guide from SFLC.in and UNESCO is designed to help users understand what constitutes OGBV, help them identify it, and take a user through possible recourses. The guide covers offenses of online sexual harassment, cyberflashing, cyberstalking, non-consensual dissemination of private and intimate photos or videos, doxing, morphing (including deepfakes), voyeurism, online sextortion or sexploitation, hate speech, identity theft and offenses targeting minors.