Gender-based violence is very real in every community, even online communities. Technology is used by perpetrators to harass and abuse victims more and more. But used smartly, the same technology can be used to protect victims and empower survivors of GBV!
We (#Tech2EndGBV) looks at the ways in which one can use tech tools and guidelines to protect ourselves and victims and hopefully by sharing resources and knowledge, we will help to eradicate online abuse.
If you suspect that you are being monitored without your consent or someone seems to know a lot about your whereabouts and online activities, your intuition that you are being watched or stalked online is probably correct. Here’s what you can do you can do to keep your perpetrator at bay:
- Secure your devices by installing anti-malware software.
- Change usernames and passwords for all of your online accounts. Try to create non-detectable passwords that are not too easy for people who have done some “research” on you to guess.
- Look at your cellphone settings. These days it is very easy to link devices. Make sure that your Bluetooth is only connected to devices that you know (e.g. Smart Watch), and if possible, keep it switched off until you need it and that goes for your location too.
- If you suspect that someone might be accessing you phone without your consent, then it would be best for you to get a new device. Remember not to use your old email address to set up your new phone as this might give the perpetrator access to it.
- Be discreet about your personal information. Instead of making card payments rather pay cash. Paying with your credit card might make things easy for the perpetrator to track your whereabouts. If possible, avoid storing your card information on your devices.
- Check your home for hidden cameras or get a trusted professional to do so.
- Empowering SMS Services: The reality of our country is that majority of the population is scattered in disadvantaged areas and rural areas where a smartphone and internet service are often difficult to use which is why having SMS services that will help educate women on how to stay safe is essential.
- Education: The software development and tech industry are still seen as a very difficult industry for women across the global to succeed in. However, over the years we have seen a strong stance of both women and young girls challenging these stereotypes. “Girls Who Code” is a perfect example of an organisation that advocates about, educates and raises awareness to people about the importance of giving equal opportunities for young girls and provides avenues for that education.
It is important to remember that, technology cannot end gender-based violence – it is up to us as a society and more importantly, the perpetrators to change their ways. Technology can however be an indispensable tool in the fight against gender-based violence – use is safely and responsibly.