With the increasing reach of the internet and the widespread use of social media as well as a rapid spread of information, digital violence is a rising evil. Digital violence can be defined as any act committed in the online space that is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering, including threats of such acts. Trolling, hacking, spamming, morphing and harassment are part of digital violence. The effects of online violence are on a par with physical violence since it very often leads to the victims reducing their use of technology, which is akin to cutting off their freedom in the 21st century, or experience depression, insomnia and stress or in extreme cases, committing suicide.

Stop Digital Violence is a campaign conceptualized with the aim of reducing digital violence and providing the victims with a platform for action. The primary focus is on helping the victims take action against the perpetrators of the crime by filing a complaint with the cyber cell and taking it forward till the perpetrators are punished. The Victim’s Support Group provides any help required, and will guide anyone who has been subjected to violence online and help them report the crime on social media as well as file a complaint.

To remove the stigma associated with digital violence and to provide other victims with the assurance that the criminals will be found and punished, the campaign has started with a case study of Mrs. Dhanya Raman. After being the victim of false WhatsApp messages that went viral, she immediately filed a complaint with the police and the investigation led to every person involved being caught and brought in. She is an inspiration to other women to also come forward and file a complaint instead of cowering down in the face of such violence.

Having adequate measures to combat digital violence and raise awareness as well as provide a platform for action was seen to be a necessity in Kerala when results of a survey to discover the needs of women in Kerala, were analyzed. In January 2017, WBIP (Women’s Business Incubation Program) conducted a survey (#smartwomen) on the needs of women in Kerala and based on the inputs from 200 women, 12 verticals were identified for researching and developing programs for gender empowerment. These verticals include Health, Education, Housing, Sanitation, Security, Child Care, Law, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Media, Public Policy, Finance and Happiness. WBIP started the Stop Digital Violence campaign (under the legal and security vertical) to solve the current lack of security in the digital space and through it, increase security for women online. If you have ever experienced any form of digital violence, reach out to us and take action to stop digital violence.

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