Women and marginalized communities should have a safer web and authorities must ensure better reporting mechanisms and speedy implementation.
Trolling in the name of freedom of speech!
After eight months of research on what to insert into my vagina, ten years of actually having periods, and twenty one years of having a uterus it was stupid of me to actually believe I would know as much as men.
The gaming industry is a male-dominated space and when women try to make inroads, that space is threatened with repercussions like the Gamergate controversy of August 2014 which involved attacks on a woman game developer, Zoe Quinn. However despite such gender barriers, there will always be girls and mothers who choose gaming over other options.
While more and more women are reclaiming online spaces by using digital platforms to express their opinions and raise their voices, they live in constant fear of what it might mean for their offline lives. This, however, does not mean that the most ideal thing to do is to shut off and disconnect. The onus is on each one of us to make spaces safer for each other; more so on the privileged to call out their peers and ensure a safe and secure internet for all.
I’m not here to give a solution to that problem. But I’ve been waiting for a long time, scared of telling anyone what I went through, for the fear of being judged, for the fear of my trauma being invalidated. For the fear of me again being denied my voice, like that night when I felt compelled to say “yes” because I couldn’t say “no.” I’m here to reclaim my voice as a survivor of cyber-rape.
Digital Rights Foundation headed by Nighat Dad is a one of its kind organization in Pakistan which is working towards the digital rights in the country. It recently launched a helpline for women to report cyber harassment.
Sexism, racism, homophobia and misogyny masquerading as “free speech” has only done irreparable harm by reinforcing toxic, discriminatory majoritarianism, leaving behind several unfortunate marginalisations in its wake. If the free speech that incites minority-ism is left unchecked even on the internet, there will truly be no avenues left for the more vulnerable groups to exist and articulate freely.
Why do we need Feminist Principles to run the Internet when women and queer individuals already have the freedom to access the internet ‘just like men’, you are just as safe or vulnerable”
Using euphemisms like “sex scandals” or merely referring to these instances as “cyberbullying” take away from the severity and urgency of the cases. In addition to any other crime that these instances have highlighted, including that of rape, these are also instances of image-based sexual abuse. There can be multiple loci of injustices within one incident, and not identifying or acknowledging all the instances of injustices makes a crime appear less serious than it is.