More Power to Women – A Woman’s Day Special
न रुकेंगे न झुकेंगे
हम तो बस आगे बढ़ेंगे.
हमारी आवाज़ न थमेगी न छुपेगी ,
अब तो हर तरफ और ज़ोर से गूंजेगी.
As the world changes, so do the challenges faced by women. In an increasingly digital world, women do not just experience violence on the streets and in their homes, women also experience violence and abuse online.
Research conducted by Amnesty International last year, revealed that online violence against women has a silencing effect on women and violates their right to freedom of expression. Women who have faced online abuse reduce their presence online and stop posting content that expresses their opinion on certain issues.
However, the first step to ending violence against women, online or offline, is to break the silence!
औरतों पर हिंसा के खिलाफ अब आवाज़ उठानी है
एक दुसरे का हाथ थाम अब
ज़ुल्म की ये दास्तान, ख़त्म हमें करवानी है!
And so, this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating women’s voices and calling on everyone to do the same.
In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we reached out to women with various identities across India, who had faced abuse online. Lawyers and librarians, Muslims, Hindus and atheists, Dalits, homemakers and activists, had all faced some kind of abuse online. These women pledged their support for women’s voices online and shared these photos of themselves.
We all know women who have experienced abuse online. Just because it happens online does not make it any less real. It is time we take this issue seriously.
Kiruba Munusamy is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court of India. She is a social, political and judicial activist, who strives for social justice and works towards eliminating all forms of discrimination, oppression and inequality.
As someone who has faced online abuse, she recently shared her thoughts on this issue with our Gender Based Violence team.
“The mental agony that a woman undergoes after an abuse, harassment or trolling is not lesser than any other form of violence.
Online violence against women is equally dangerous as real life physical violence as it eventually makes women disappear by completely removing their existence from the virtual world. Restricting virtual voices of women is not only an extended form of oppression but a threat to the very basic human right of expression and opinion of women.
I believe the first step towards peace is elimination of violence against women, especially online, as it simply exhibits the intolerance towards women’s right to hold opinions and her right of personal liberty.”
Gurmehar Kaur, currently a third year English literature student of Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi was a regular college student, until one day, when the opinions she posted online made her a target for online abuse and those who wanted to silence her voice.
“I had two choices before me, either let the online violence silence me, or use the platform to amplify my cause. I chose the latter.” said Gurmehar in a recent interview with our Gender Based Violence team.
Read the full interview here.
To every woman everywhere, we salute you.
In the recent months, the momentum for women’s rights has been going strong. We have to keep it going, we must work harder, shout louder and campaign bigger to uproot entrenched inequality that women still face today.