Pakistan: Cyberviolence Growing Threat to Women and Girls
Thursday, October 9, 2014 9:35 AM

Abuse of women in social media is a growing trend worldwide, but such “cybercrime” has become particularly dangerous in Pakistan where violence against women is prevalent. According to a recent report by the human rights and technology non-profit Bytes for All, Pakistan, Pakistani women face extensive harassment and abuse online, including threats of death and rape. This harassment forces many women to withdraw from social media and erase their online presence.

The report, “Technology Driven Violence Against Women,” found that cyber-violence has often led to physical violence against women, “ranging from rape to attempted assassination.”  According to the report’s author, “[t]hese technologies are helping to increase violence against women, not just mirroring it.”

Advocates with Bytes for All say that large social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter are not moving fast enough to respond to serious cyber-threats against women. According to advocates, forceful action by these companies to protect women from online violence is critical because law enforcement is currently “too weak” to adequately investigate, prosecute and deter cybercrime. Bytes for All also called on Pakistan to strengthen its polices and laws against cyber-violence.

Compiled from: Shah, Pir, Pakistani Rights Groups Denounce Cyberviolence Against Women, Voice of America (September 30, 2014); Reuters, Online Abuse of Women in Pakistan Turns Into Real-World Violence, The Express Tribune with the International New York Times (September 30, 2014).