Category Archives: Advocacy and Speaking out

Abuse and Violence against Women Online-Take part and speak out

Women in the Zimbabwean Community in UK have endured the worst violence online. There is a syndicate set up under guise of human rights defender to violate them. Police has not been helpful and acts of harassments and mental torture have become worse. They are all encouraged to use this survey and platform to speak out. There are dangers some of them will commit suicide. Reports submitted to Muzvare Betty Makoni on violence they are subjected to online are many.

For more information, contact Anri van der Spuy (avanderspuy@unog.ch).

Take part in the survey and have your say http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/484-call-for-input-help-us-counter-the-online-abuse-of-women/filehttp://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/484-call-for-input-help-us-counter-the-online-abuse-of-women/file

Call for Participation: IGF Best Practice Forum
Defining Practices to Counter the Abuse of Women Online

Introducing the Best Practices Forum on Practices to Countering the Abuse of Women Online

“More inquiry is needed about the use of technology, such as computers and cell phones, in developing and expanding forms of violence. Evolving and emerging forms of violence need to be named so that they can be recognized and better addressed.”
– UN Secretary General, in-depth study on all forms of violence against women (2006)[1]

Great strides have been made to improve connectivity and internet access around the world, which have resulted in increased opportunities for advancing rights and interests of different sections in society, including for women. However, at the same time, increased access has also resulted in the use of technology to perpetrate acts of violence against women (VAW).

Online VAW has increasingly become part of women’s experience of violence and their online interactions, encompassing acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email. Examples of online VAW include (but are not limited to) online harassment, cyberstalking, misogynistic speech, privacy invasions with the threat of blackmail, viral ‘rape videos’ that force survivors to relive the trauma of sexual assault, and the non-consensual distribution of ‘sex videos’.

Violence against women and girls online limits their ability to take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs provide for the full realisation of women’s human rights, and also often violate women’s human rights. Over the past six years, there has been increasing attention paid to understanding the nature, harm and consequences of violence against women online by the media, governments and women’s movements. This is evidenced in the formal recognition of violence against women online in significant women’s rights policy spaces and the focus on secure online practices for women and women human rights defenders. However, this concern has arguably not been adequately taken up by various stakeholders within the Internet governance ecosystem. There is still a significant lack of awareness regarding what kinds of online conduct constitute abusive and violent behaviour and the variety of actions that can be taken to address and prevent such behaviour in the future.

Taking efficient and effective action to countering the growing phenomena of online VAW is not only important in ensuring that the Internet fulfils its potential as a positive driver for change and development, but also in helping to construct a safe and secure environment for women and girls in every sphere of life. Due to the nature of the Internet as a distributed network of networks, addressing online VAW requires considerable input and cooperation from a multitude of stakeholders, including the technical community, private sector, civil society advocates and organizations, governments, international organizations, academic community, users, and young people.

To help address this challenge, this Internet Governance Forum (IGF) initiative is bringing together multiple stakeholders from diverse communities to investigate the types of conduct online that potentially constitute abuse of women, the underlying factors that contribute to enabling environments for abuse, the impact that such abuse has in communities, other related contentious issues, and the solutions, responses and/or strategies that constitute good and/or best practices for countering the abuse of women online.

Muzvare Betty Makoni joins World Leaders at World Confluence of Humanity in India

Rahul Varma, Director of  World Confluence of Humanity, Power & Spirituality on behalf ofWorld Confluence of Humanity, Power & Spirituality Chairman Dr. H.P. Kanoria has  announced that Muzvare Betty Makoni who is a Royal from the Maungwe tribe of Makoni in  Rusape of Manicaland province will be amongst  Guest of Honour and Speakers at the  World Congruence.

On December 27th & 28th, 2014 World Confluence of Humanity, Power & Spirituality will host its Sixth Annual Confluence in Kolkata, India. The World Confluence has been warmly applauded by the public for the last five years where distinguished luminaries share their thoughts and life’s experience, highlighting Unity in Diversity and Diversity in Unity. It remains the task of this conference to bring home the value of enlightenment in practice as life’s journey within one’s own self and through love and service to the society at large.

This Confluence is not religion oriented. Emphatically it is for Humanity, Peace, Harmony and Happiness and to create a world good for all.

Muzvare Betty Makoni speech will focus on her personal life journey as well as speaking about the many wars affecting children. She will join other world leaders in educating everyone about the benefits of religious tolerance in a world where everyone is different. She is expected to make a plea on behalf of  girls abducted in  Chibok in Nigeria and to pay her tributes to children killed in Pakistan. Recently there have been many situations were young girls have been abducted worldwide and sold as sex slaves.

Zimbabwe Touts made the whole world angry-My testimony

I woke up to my phone making endless sounds showing messages were going in at one minute intervals. Everyone who put a message in my whatsup was very angry. People were desperate for anyone they knew worked for women to just say something because action to protect women is often delayed and then denied. Men were very angry and these were good men. They wanted the Kombi rank touts and thugs punished. The men especially from Zimbabwe who live in South Africa expressed anger. Then I knew I had to watch the videos posted in my whatsup. I opened and saw over 20 video messages. Ogh my God, the woman was being stripped naked and they were shouting hure meaning prostitute and loose woman. The men doing this to her were identifiable.

All I wanted to know was whether the woman would survive. One good man came to her rescue during this physical harassment. Just one man who was kind came to her rescue  and we insist we know him so that we thank him for saving a life.

Of course this is not an isolated incident. I hear that two or so women were harassed the same way in the same week in Zimbabwe.Kenya too had similar incidents where men judge the length of your dress or skirt and decide to punish you for wearing mini skirts. What mini brains they have!!!

So now the big search is on the young woman to come to Zimbabwe Republic Police and press charges. It looks as if she is too traumatised to come out.  By the time this article was posted no one had confirmed this sister had come forward.Mind you, there is fear amongst the women from this background that if you go to police as a victim you may end up being blamed. The violations against their bodies take place daily whether they are in so called long or short dresses. Any woman can get beaten for whatever reason justified by some men. I think right now she is afraid to press charges after she was castigated by these touts  in public.

Zimbabwean problems and challenges politically and economically are quite complex. This mob of touts is a grouping of men who operate under guise of so called Kombi touts but to someone with a sharp eye these are unemployed men made powerless by the current harsh economic situation. They come from all over the country and most of them maybe involved in drug abuse. They are feared and they have terrorized many. They have been banned, re banned and re banned and banned again and again  and this shows they are unwanted in society, but they mushroom at different taxi ranks doing same works of terror.

Their easiest targets are women and girls. They hit targets on certain days and even demand sex for being set free. They survive on committing abuse on whoever they feel is weak.This one particular sister who got the world crying is but one of them. There are many young girls who get trafficked.

My question is whither to Zimbabwe? The answer is very simple. Lets deal with root causes rather than being hypocritical. The economic situation has to improve and good industries absorb all these young men and women lying idle. An idle mind is a dangerous mind. I am hoping though short term solution is to arrest the touts but long term solution is to ensure the economic situation improves. This is a signal that society is now rotten. Chinua Achebe is right when he asserts that Things Fall Apart.

Then for women`s movements who met and spoke against the harassment of our sister in Zimbabwe, I feel it is time all those hotel donor funded workshops stop. Here in UK no donor gives money for that at all. Funding goes to the service user. You need drop in centers for women and you also need to train women like her in community work that would empower her and other women to protect themselves. The women`s movement in Zimbabwe is very elitist-it is not known by those who need it most. How come this sister of ours does  not even know whether you exist to support her and she could have come to one of the organisations for women for support rather than going into hiding.

More work needs to be done in places of economic instability like Zimbabwe. Making press statements without this woman is hypocritical. Nothing without her is for her remains the truth.  That said, I appeal to anyone helping Zimbabwe to support drop in centers for women who suffer violence. I don’t care where funding goes to  but what  is key is to minimize elitist press meetings  when such life threatening events happen and start focusing on real support women need. We see such support here in UK where most of the funding comes from. The money goes to support services in counseling, housing, income generation and legal aid for  women like the  one who fell victim to the touts.

Muzvare Betty Makoni is former Chair of the Women`s Coalition in Zimbabwe -2005 to 2007