- Experts have called for more synergy between society at large, law enforcement and digital platform owners
- The call aimed to increase the cases of end violence against women (offline and online) to a proper conclusion
- They also urged employers to conduct background checks on potential employees to assess their habits outside of the workplace (including their social media ) to review history)
Lagos – The Nigerian government, digital platform owners and other stakeholders have been urged to provide more responsibility to end technology-enhanced gender-based violence against women and girls in digital spaces.
This point was raised during the second session of the ongoing Digital Rights & Inclusion Forum (#D RIF22) – an annual event organized by the Paradigm Initiative under the motto “Towards a digitally inclusive and Rights-Respecting Africa” which took place in Lagos on Wednesday 27 April.
The session, hosted by TechHer, focused on “Sexual & Gender-Based Violence Perpetrated via Digital Spaces” and featured Aisha Salaudeen- a multimedia journalist; Nana Nwachukwu – lawyer and women’s rights activist; and Executive Director of the Gbenga Sesan-Paradigm Initiative.
The panel was moderated by Amina Salaudeen – Program Officer at TechHer.
The Panelists reiterated that the currently available consequences for perpetrators of online violence are too lax and a major factor in increasing cases of technology-enhanced gender-based violence.
They also raised the blurriness in the Reporting structures and gaps in the legal framework put in place to deter perpetrators of online gender-based violence.
“Actions should have consequences to have. It’s critical that we stop rationalizing the habits of people who have character flaws that are directly related to online violence.”
Sesan echoed the sentiment and insisted Make sure that:
” If digital rights laws are strong enough, people will respect them whether they believe in legal jargon or not. That’s the power of consistency.”
He added that women are disproportionately often the targets of online attacks, and frowned at men who are more anxious to do so appear to defend perpetrators of online violence rather than seek justice.
For her part, Aisha Salaudeen stated that perpetrators of online violence would continue to be encouraged if retaliation was not swift , would be spoken out and made public, while women’s voices would be silenced on digital platforms.
“Leave the perpetrator alone appropriate justice is done in the country and in digital spaces. Social media has encouraged so many trolls and people behind their keyboards. You often have to admit that such people are far away, even if it doesn’t feel good.
“It is important to spread information about women’s rights and protection. Equally important is making sure some of these online trolls understand that there are massive consequences for their misconduct towards women online.”
Nwachukwu shifted focus to policy and digital platforms that have more responsibility, noting that online harassment reporting lines are frustratingly ambiguous.
Panelists agreed that a unified database identifying perpetrators of of gender-based violence online would help protect women and girls from abuse.
Amina Salaudeen, who moderated the discussion, concluded:
“We need to remember to put in the work that is required to help those who have been socialized a certain way get to a place where they will change their minds and help get tech-enabled sat to combat gender-based violence.”
DRIF22 will continue with more sessions on the African continent to discuss other relevant issues, focusing on digital rights for users.
Federal government promises to ensure justice for late Osinachi
Meanwhile, the federal government has vowed that justice will be done for the late gospel singer Osinachi Nwachukwu even if he dies .
Dame Tallen said the late popular gospel artist’s husband, Peter Nwachukwu, who is said to have repeatedly violently abused her, is being prosecuted.