16 Days of Activism 2020

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

For 16 Days of Activism 2020, DefendDefenders collaborated with AfricanDefenders, Encrypt Uganda, Women of Uganda Network, Digital Literacy Initiative, and Digital Human Rights Lab. For 16 days, we shared stories of victims of online gender-based violence (GBV) on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram under the hashtag #SayNoToOnlineGBV. On the final day, we shared interviews with Women Human Rights Defenders fighting online GBV (see campaign contents below).

In a policy paper, written in the context of this campaign, we assessed women’s safety in the digital space in Uganda and made recommendations to the Ugandan government, to international actors, and to civil society.

We ended our campaign on 10 December, Human Rights Day, with a digital safety workshop for victims of online GBV in Kampala, Uganda, to increase the offline impact of the campaign.

Online campaign

Interviews with stakeholders

Non-consensual intimate images

Cyber bullying

Online sexual harassment

Doxing

Cyber stalking

Impersonation

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Human Rights Defender of the month: Esther Tawiah

In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.

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