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Illustartion woman fends off digital violence

No power of cyber violence! - DaMigra conference on the International Day against Violence against Women * 2019

Conference on the International Day against Violence against Women * 2019
"#MyDigitalWomenRights and the Istanbul Convention"

On the occasion of the International Day Against Violence against Women * The umbrella association of female migrant organizations - DaMigra e. V. on November 25, 2019 for Conference entitled “#MyDigitalWomenRights and the Istanbul Convention” on cyber violence to Berlin.

One in ten women * has experienced sexual harassment or stalking from new technologies. In the 21st century, social media are an indispensable means of communication that make life easier, but can also make it incredibly difficult. This includes social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. They are tools to keep in touch with family and friends and also to make new contacts in communities. However, these means of communication can also serve to make people - especially women * - the target of sexist violence. The openness and accessibility in digital space confronts migrant and refugee women * on the Internet not only with sexist cyber violence, but also with racist violence and discrimination.

What options under criminal and civil law are there for those affected by cyber violence? What is the significance of the Istanbul Convention in this regard? What forms of digital violence are directed against migrant and refugee women * and what barriers do they face when they seek help?

We met politicians, lawyers, activists and around 100 participants at the conference on cyber violence, followed interesting inputs from experts and discussed them together in a large group.

Dr. Anne-Katrin Wolf (lawyer for criminal law and member of the criminal law commission of the German Association of Women Lawyers) explained in the first lecture how the Istanbul Convention can also protect against cyber violence. The convention, which aims to prevent and combat violence against women * and girls *, designates not only actual acts of violence, but also threats of such acts, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty as well as discrimination as human rights violations. But the protection of the Istanbul Convention does not apply to all women in Germany *. The Federal Government only ratified the Istanbul Convention subject to Article 59 Paragraphs 2 and 3, which explicitly concerns women * with refugee and migration experience. The legal situation regarding cyber violence is also not always clear and makes it difficult for the aid agencies to handle them.

In the second lecture, Jasna Strick (feminist, author and activist) went into more detail on the various forms of digital violence against women *. Often these are so unconscious that they are simply played down. Cyber ​​violence encompasses a variety of forms of attack aimed at degrading, damaging their reputation, social isolation and coercing or blackmailing certain types of behavior on the part of those affected. All the more important are the terms that have emerged that concretize digital violence and make it visible, such as cyber harassment, cyberstalking, cyberbullying and hate speech.

But how can an anti-sexist and anti-racist Internet be created for all women *?

Together with Kristy Augustin (CDU politician, MdL Brandenburg), Duygu Bräuer, (CEO of DaMigra eV), Dr. phil. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (Alliance 90 / the Greens, MEP), Dr. We discussed this question with Lisa Mazzi (chairwoman of ReteDonne eV), Anne Wizorek (expert and freelance consultant for digital strategies) and the participants.
Vulnerable and marginalized groups have so far been seen and protected too little from different perspectives. The aim is to break stereotypical ideas of refugee women and migrants and to stop the stigmatization. Migrant women and refugee women are not a homogeneous group, but diverse with different realities of life and special situations and needs. The social turmoil, the everyday racism and sexism and the structural inequalities that women * all too often have to experience are evident in real life as well as in the digital world. Online and offline violence are interwoven and inseparable. The connection between real and virtual violence is strong, must not be ignored or underestimated and must be seen in context.

It is particularly important to empower women * online, to show solidarity and to make it clear that we will not be discouraged.

DaMigra demands:

  1. The Istanbul Convention is a Europe-wide agreement to combat violence against women *. We need a consistent and unconditional implementation of the Istanbul Convention, which includes and combats forms of cyber violence. This also requires in particular the creation of new anti-sexist and anti-racist laws.
  2. Cyber ​​violence victims take them seriously and create multilingual, low-threshold support offers and apply the applicable laws more consistently.
  3. Digital companies and media must be made aware of cyber violence, especially racist and sexist agitation, and be held responsible for violations!

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