UNiTE Campaign Orange Day Action Plan: July 2017
Cyber Violence against Girls
The 25th of every month has been designated “Orange Day” by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. As a bright and optimistic colour, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls. Orange Day calls upon civil society, governments, and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), but every month.
In 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through its 17 goals, the 2030 Agenda calls for global action over the next 15 years to address the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. All the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are fully integrated with one another and therefore we cannot think of them in isolation.
SDG 5 recognizes gender equality and the empowerment of women as a key priority pledging that “no one will be left behind.” Building on this vision, throughout 2017, the UNiTE Campaign will mark all Orange Days (the 25th of every month) under the overarching theme “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” to underscore its commitment towards reaching the most underserved.
This Orange Day, 25 July 2017, the UNiTE Campaign focuses on Cyber Violence against Women and Girls.
Girls and boys, including adolescents, are increasingly spending more time online and start using the Internet at younger ages than ever before.1 Although girls’ and boys’ access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) remains dominant in high-income countries, the rapid expansion of affordable, accessible Internet through mobile technologies in low- and middle-income countries is bringing more children to the Internet worldwide.
ICTs bring tremendous benefits to children, providing access to information, education, entertainment and social networks that broaden their horizons and stimulate their creativity. However, at the same time they can reinforce inequities among children and lead to harmful consequences and risks to their safety, personal development and well-being.
Although children have long been exposed to violence and exploitation, ICTs have changed the scale, form, impact and opportunity for the abuse of children everywhere. While both girls and boys are vulnerable to the different risks and harms related to the misuse of ICTs, girls have been disproportionately victimized in sexual abuse and exploitation through the production and distribution of child sexual abuse materials. In 2013, 81 per cent of child sexual abuse materials depicted girls.2
Girls are also particularly vulnerable to being groomed online for sexual encounters and sometimes exploited through live streaming of their sexual abuse. Many children are experiencing widespread victimization through online bullying, harassment, and intimidation, where girls are particularly targeted due to gender norms and power dynamics. Gender discrimination, lack of confidence, difficulty with language, poverty, and cultural factors can adversely affect girls and lead to their heightened vulnerability to these crimes and victimization.
SDG 5 on Gender Equality places women’s access to technological empowerment as one of the core indicators for progress. To achieve this goal, we must make sure that the internet will be a safe and more secure place that allows all women and girls to fulfil their potential as valued members of society and live a life free from violence.
SOME RELEVANT PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS:
In 2008, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched the Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative, a multi-stakeholder effort within the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) framework. The initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the global community to create a safe and empowering online experience for children around the world. As part of the initiative, ITU and its partners are assisting countries in developing strategies and enhancing capabilities and infrastructure with the aim of ensuring the online protection of children worldwide.
In 2016, UNICEF worked in at least 34 countries worldwide, undertaking research on the impact of Information Communications Technologies on girls and boys, implementing awareness raising campaigns and working with governments, civil society, and the private sector to create specific programmes to protect girls and boys online, and promote children’s digital citizenship. Building on the vision of the first #WePROTECT Children Online Summit, UNICEF implemented a global programme in 17 countries aimed at building capacity to protect children specifically from online child sexual exploitation.
In response to an increasing number of cases of school-related gender based violence (SRGBV), and especially cyber harassment, UN Women in Vietnam provided technical support to the Ministry of Education and Training to develop a circular that provides guidance to schools nationwide to introduce counseling services to help students deal with issues such as school-related gender based violence (SRGBV) and difficulties in gender relations.3
TAKE ACTION THIS ORANGE DAY!
- Join the Facebook Live conversation about cyber violence on the UN Women Facebook page on 25 July for #OrangeDay. Details to come.
- Sign up to the WePROTECT Global Alliance Statement of Action to protect girls and boys from online child sexual exploitation.
- Check the privacy settings of your online accounts, and encourage your friends to same! The #replyforall initiative offers useful tips on how to increase your online safety.
- Teachers! Discuss the issue of cyber violence against girls in your classroom. Review UNESCO’s Global Guidance on Addressing School-Related Gender-Based Violence to find out more about what you can do to keep your students safe online.
- Are you under 18? The United Nations specialized agency in ITCs, ITU, wants to hear your view on cyber bullying. Take part in the survey today.
- Policy specialists! Take a look at the ITU’s guidelines on child online protection. Especially developed for policy makers, these guidelines provide guidance on creating and implementing national strategies for online child protection as well as education and awareness resources.
- The Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Gender Dividerecently published a set of recommendations that specifically addresses threats aimed both at promoting better understanding and awareness of the ways in which women experience threats, and ensuring that stakeholders help to make the Internet and its use safer for women (page 32). Proposed actions include researching and understanding threats, increasing awareness of threats and how they can be addressed or reduced, developing safety applications and services and strengthening protection measures and reporting procedures.
- The “Perils and Possibilities: Growing up Online” report, recently published by UNICEF, provides a glimpse into young people’s opinions and perspectives on the risks they face coming of age in a digital world.
- UNICEF is collaborating with companies, governments and civil society to promote children’s rights related to the Internet and associated technologies. Take a look at their online depository of new business tools and guidance on child online protection which among others includes useful resources, learning materials, and tools for companies.
- The Guidelines for Child Online Protection, prepared by ITU, outline best practices and key recommendations for different interest groups, including policymakers, industry, children, as well as parents, guardians, and educators. More resources on Child Online Protection can be found in the ITU’s database here.
- INHOPE is an active and collaborative global network of Hotlines, dealing with illegal online content and committed to stamping out child sexual abuse from the Internet. The network offers a way of anonymously reporting Internet material including child sexual abuse material they suspect to be illegal.
- The Global Guidance on Addressing School-Related Gender-Based Violence, jointly released by UNESCO and UN Women, provides a comprehensive, one-stop resource on school-related gender-based violence, including clear, knowledge-based operational guidance, diverse case studies and recommended tools for the education sector and its partners working to eliminate gender-based violence.
- Launched in January, HeartMob is a project of Hollaback!, a non-profit organization powered by a global network of local activists who are dedicated to ending harassment in public spaces. The platform provides real-time support to individuals experiencing online harassment and empowers bystanders to act. (Article Source: United Nations Secretary Generals Campaign UNiTE)