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December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on Talking about our bodies: a tale of Eiynah, the taboo-breaker!

Talking about our bodies: a tale of Eiynah, the taboo-breaker!

Team-DRF tried to gather some stories from Pakistanis for the international Take Back the Tech! 16Days campaign. Here is the story of Eiynah who writes on sexual issues on her blog Nice Mangoes

"I am a Pakistani-Canadian female blogger/artist and I write/draw about desi sexuality. A topic that many wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, I've chosen to confront, dissect and discuss. Some call it bold and some call it insane... because obviously, being a Pakistani woman and talking openly about the body and its nooks & crannies comes with its disadvantages, its threats and of course its hate mail.

I anticipated that though... so getting lewd comments and anonymous sexually explicit messages doesn't phase me. We are from a sexually repressed society and any mention of sex coming from a woman is thought to be an open invitation for such remarks, by many.

My aim is to pass on some very basic facts, and open the channel of communication for things that so many people are confused about in our culture. I want to create awareness about things like equality in the bedroom, and Child Sex Abuse... And when I get harassed about raising my voice regarding these things... this is when I'm surprised. I mean, who in their right minds would be against talking about these issues? Who would send me threats about keeping my mouth shut about Child Sex Abuse? Who on earth are these sick minded Pakistanis that view this as me 'airing Pakistan's dirty laundry in public' ? Honestly you'd be surprised at how many comments and angry emails/tweets I receive... telling me to keep our country's darker side hidden, because apparently speaking about such ills will only bring shame upon us. What a twisted way to view our reality...

This is exactly the kind of mentality that inspires my blog. Despite me being called a devil-worshipper, wannabe atheist, slut, etc... I am motivated to keep writing about such things because I can see it making a difference. I get emails every week from people regarding their stories of abuse. Some of them wish to share on the blog and some don't. But sharing at all is a huge first step, some have come forward saying that they have never had the courage to speak out before they read others stories on my blog.

So these things definitely outweigh the negative.

I am a woman, a Pakistani woman - And I WILL keep speaking about how Pakistanis from different walks of life, different genders, different orientations are treated unjustly because of their sexuality. It doesn't matter how many cowards I piss off. Go ahead and leave me your empty words.

Now I'm no sex expert, and never have I claimed to be. I'm just someone with an interest in getting some basic information across - especially to women and the men in their lives....


December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 15 | MISOGYNY ONLINE | FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & VIOLENCE


“Trolling” has become an increasingly reported method of attacking writers and users online who clearly identify as female, or who speak from feminist points of views. They range from unrelenting comments that belittle the opinions of the writer, to name calling, to specific threats of violence – often sexualised and almost always gendered.
There are many types and ways of trolling, but generally, they work to disrupt threads of conversation by provoking someone into long, pointless debates, or into an emotional response.
In cases of trolling and harassment that women and girls face on the internet, they also work towards shutting out and silencing feminist discourse and the voices of women and girls. This is especially evident when the blogger or writer is speaking about an area that is often seen as the domain of men - whether this is in the area of comic booksscience and technologyentertainment or religion. Women human rights defenders have reported that harassment is the most common threat they face online.
Often, the strategy of sexist trolling and misogynistic harassment works. It can be incredibly frightening to continue writing in a space that has been taken over by hundreds of comments by unknown persons who threaten rape and attack the writer’s ideas, gender and sexuality. Or who thinks its funny to post violent, degrading, edited images of the writer in various positions of sexual submission or gendered violence.
This is especially if the writer is a relatively new user of the internet, and who has not yet built the community or skills to be able to feel that she can defend herself and her space from such attacks. Even when the blogger is highly skilled with a strong community of supporters, it can still be terrifying when the trolls and harassers post specifically violent threats that are accompanied by personal details found online.
Sexist trolling and misogynistic harassment is a threat to women’s fundamental human rights to freely and fully express themselves. It creates a hostile and violent online environment that attacks the safety and dignity of women and girls.


  • Write about your experience of targeted harassment and trolling.
  • Make it visible, and compel recognition that these are not just isolated incidences, but a gendered online communication culture that needs a collective response.
  • Document the experience to build knowledge on how gendered harassment and trolling works, and how to deal with them.
  • Share your strategies.
  • When your fellow feminist writers, bloggers and tweeps are trolled or harassed, show them your support.
  • Post your stories on the Take Back the Tech! map, or share us a link to your post in a comment or by email. Or tweet us @takebackthetech (#takebackthetech #16stories)
Reject the culture of sexual harassment and sexist trolling online. Take Back the Tech!



Meet Betty, a young woman from Morelos, Mexico. Her story speaks about the different connections and interactions that she encounters through online social networking – some of them expected and welcomed, some of them a little less straightforward. It’s also about how Betty exercises her judgment and discretion in dealing with them.

How do you exercise your judgment and right to privacy in online social networking spaces?

Access to and use of social networking services like Facebook is increasingly an important aspect of participating in public and political life. We have heard many recent examples of how social networking platforms have become valuable sites of social and political mobilizing and democratic participation. At a more personal level, they are becoming an important part of how we interact and connect with our communities. They can also be a space for us to construct representations of our “selves” through the things we share, including photographs, what we do, interests and personal information. For women and girls who are constrained in other spaces because of culture or norms, this can be especially important.

At the same time, there are certain safety risks when it comes to social networking sites. Because of the wealth of personal information available, it can be possible to make assessments about a particular person and target them for specific reasons. For example, based on what a person shares about her employment situation, or her relationship status, she can be targeted for financial scams involving fake employment and migration opportunities or “romantic relationships”. In countries such as Mexico where human trafficking is recognised as a serious issue, women’s rights activists are critically assessing the role of social networking sites in targeting potential victims.

How can we participate in shaping a social networking environment that enables us to fully participate in community and public life, without compromising our safety? How can our right to privacy be prioritised – from the development of technology, to corporate policy, to laws, to our own practices?



  • Take a dive into fine-tuning your privacy configuration in Facebook.  Segment your friends into lists and learn how to specify which audience you want for each post.
  • Play tech-tag: you show a friend how to improve her privacy settings, and ask her to share with another friend.
  • Together, bring the conversation to your social networking forums: What do we love about them, and what turns us off or away?
  • Share some stories and experiences about social networking spaces and privacy, and map them onto the Take Back the Tech! Map.


  • Find out more about trafficking in your country. You can start with the International Migration Organisation.
  • If you think it is not happening, you are wrong. And you can bet traffickers are taking advantage of social networking platforms to find women and girls who "fit their profile".
  • Understanding and sharing how traffickers operate debilitates their chances of success.


Take Back the Tech! in Mexico took the November 25 "Festival de las vivas" fair-goers to the test, putting up banners with "quizzes" to test internet safety practices and detect tech-related violence against women and girls. Facebook awareness campaigns via flyers and radio spots share tech-tips, like: "Have a sexy photo you just have to share? Then segment your Facebook friends into lists first".

Surveys on tech-related violence are being applied at youth workshops and cine debates throughout Morelos.   Virtual activities include online daily actions to increase digital security for women journalists and human rights defenders, reaching 100's of women throughout Mexico and Central America. The campaign will close this year  with a tech-fest on mobile security for women journalists and social communicators.

Take Back the Tech! partners in Mexico include youth sexuality and reproductive health activists, DDESER; anti-cyberbullying and child pornography initiative Social 2.0 for A Safer Internet; CIMAC women's news agency and network of journalists, and women human rights defenders throughout Mexico and Central America.

December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 12 | SEX WORKERS' STORIES | DEMAND DECRIMINALISATION


"That was when I started to be a sex worker. But my kids never die with hunger, because I was providing them with enough food, clothing, schooling [...] Sex workers have the same rights as everyone else"

Listen to the story of Muchaneta, as she speaks about her journey, experience and claim for her fundamental human rights

“Sex workers have been saying for years: 'Decriminalisation is the best form of regulation for sex workers" (1)

There are many stories from sex workers around the globe of horrific violations and humiliation not only from clients but from the police and authorities who should be upholding sex workers human rights. Migrant sex workers are often the most vulnerable to harassment and exploitation.

Because sex work is criminalised, sex workers are denied access to their fundamental human rights including critical services such as access to health care. Police abuse and harassment of sex workers is common, including rape by police officers. There  frequently is no recourse to justice if sex workers report police abuse or sexual violations. Violence from the state occurs through policies and practice criminalising sex work and turning a blind eye to a range of human rights abuses.

Organisations such as the Dubar Mahila Samanwaya Committee in India, SWEAT in South Africa, the Red Umbrella Project in the United Kingdom with the "Protect, Don't Prosecute" campaign, the Scarlet Alliance in Australia, and Stella in Canada are organising sex workers to speak, act and advocate for access to human rights and a stop to the abuse.

We demand that rights of sex worker - which include, among others, the right to privacy and the right to life, liberty and security  - be recognised as human rights. We call to decriminalise sex work as a way of ensuring better access to rights. Decriminalisation means that police can't arbitrarily regulate sex work, criminal laws will be removed and sex work would be regulated like any other business. Sex workers would have recourse through law and their human rights would be respected.


Sign the petition to decriminalize sex work, to be presented at the United Nations by the Connect your rights! initiative of the Association for Progressive Communications. Read the cases of violations of sex workers' internet rights.

Read about the history of the Red Umbrella Campaign. Follow @RedUmbrellaProjon Twitter and help amplify the voices of people in the sex trades through media, storytelling, & advocacy.

Find the Twitter handle of your government representatives and tweet them with messages asserting sex worker rights. You can use the examples below. Remember to use #takebackthetech and #16stories hashtags.

  • no more violence towards sex workers from the state
  • stop police harassment of sex workers
  • sex work is work
  • decriminalise sex work
  • sex workers have rights like everyone else
  • protect migrant sex workers from exploitation & abuse

Share your story on the Take Back the Tech! siteMap incidents of violence towards technology-mediated violations of sex workers on the Take Back the Tech! map.

Take back the tech! Help decriminalise sex work.

December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 11 | STRATEGIES TO BE SAFE | WHAT WOULD YOU DO?


blur ! image“The past summer I had gone on a cruise with a close friend. She and I met two brothers, who had taken an interest in us. After much dancing and drinking together, I began to feel sick. One of the brothers helped me back to my cabin, taking care of me as I became almost physically impaired. I eventually passed out.

I awoke naked, on top of bloodied sheets. At some point while I was unconscious, the brother who had accompanied me back to my cabin had sex with me.

I did not see or hear from him again until months later in early October. He had somehow figured out my last name and found me on Facebook. He messaged me, calling me "trouble" and a "slut." He said if he was ever in the town that I attend school, he would be sure to come up to "rub in my face."

His message forced me into reliving the event I had tried to erase from my mind. It caused problems with me and my current boyfriend, but most of all it had frightened me. Facebook allowed him to track me down, and make abusive and threatening comments to me. He abused this online technology, causing me even more pain than he already had.” – Story from Charlottesville, USA


blur blur, by bsdfm“It’s been a month since I have been receiving nasty mean text messages, death threats and rape threats. I was also being watched. Whenever I receive a text its either they say that they are watching me or following me. Its becoming more scary everyday.

The problem is I dont know who is those people who send those text messages.
It started when my fiance was supposed to be promoted but he decided to un renew his contract. Then lost of things popped out. Some people harassing me on facebook then now on text messages.

We really have no idea who is the one behind it. But my fiance have a list who could probably do it. As much as I want to file a case I cant do anything because I have no proof on such person.

I tried to contact the network company if they can help me regarding my case. But they just said the person who sends me those text is using a prepaid and they cannot do anything about it.” – Story from Philippines


These are stories and experiences shared by women, girls and activists on the Take Back the Tech! map. As part of our effort to build awareness, advocate for recognition and justice for technology-related violence against women, we have been calling for the documentation, mapping and sharing of cases and experiences of harassment, stalking, threats and violence that women and girls face online, or through the use of internet and mobile technologies.

In most places in the world, there are no adequate laws that recognise this issue, and those who face such violence have little place to turn to for help. Police are unsure of how to help when it is not specifically recognised as a breach of law. Companies like mobile phone providers and social networking platform providers don’t see this as part of their responsibility. Women’s rights organisations working on violence against women increasingly have to respond to the role of things like Facebook and SMS messages in the cases that they receive, with the need for more capacity building and analysis.

Each experience is different. At the same time, there are some aspects of each story that resonates with our own knowledge and experience.

How can we share what we know to help provide support and make online spaces safer?

How have you dealt with SMS harassers in the past, and what seemed to work?

What do you do to increase the privacy and safety of your social networking spaces?

Is there a strategy that you follow on what to share and what not to share online?

One of the most important ways to address violence against women online is to build our knowledge and skills on how to use internet and mobile technologies more safely. Share your strategies and support!

  • Read the stories and cases on the Take Back the Tech! map
  • Post your thoughts on how to deal with the situation as a comment. Share your experience or knowledge.
  • Share useful resources on online safety and privacy on the Take Back the Tech! Facebook page or tweet us [@takebackthetech #takebackthetech]
  • Start by checking out the “Be Safe” section of the campaign site, and find out more about how internet and mobile technology works, the risks, and what you can do to be safer.

Take Back the Tech! Share your stories and strategies for safety.


From Take Back the Tech!



 Congolese women demand justice and accountability

Watch the full video here. Video from JUPEDEC and the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice in collaboration with WITNESS.

Our Voices Matter features interviews with women victims/survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence from North Kivu, South Kivu and Province Orientale. Through their testimonies, this advocacy film highlights the multiplicity of perpetrators operating in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the lack of accountability for these crimes, and the medical services, psychosocial assistance and economic support urgently needed by victims/survivors.

Giving testimony to acts of violence is a courageous choice. As a survivor, bearing witness for the many thousands who have experienced similar violations gives voice to those who cannot speak. It brings alive the experiences of those who have died, and gives some healing to the one who speaks out. For women in situations of armed conflict, the rape and terror are sometimes not an isolated incident but can continue for years through abduction, forced marriage and enslavement to military forces.

Today we feature the voices of survivors in the DRC and Central African Republic (CAR), and the organisations that assist in documenting voices, working to provide psycho-social support and walking the road to justice for women through bringing cases to the International Criminal Court.

Listen to their testimonies. Stand witness with them. Amplify their stories and collectively demand for justice and peace.



The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has one of the most serious incidence of gender based violence and human rights violations in the world. The DRC was until recently, a county emerging from years of armed conflict which has perpetuated rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. DRC's capital city of Kinshasa was dubbed the “capital of rape” by the UN special rapporteur Margot Wallström. In South Kivu  alone 54,000 cases of rape were reported in the first six months of 2010. According to an Al Jazeera report, one commonly quoted statistic in DRC is that there are about 400 rapes a day.

The DRC government has signed onto various commitments to eliminate gender-based violence including signing on to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women CEDAW and the special Protocal to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocal).

The DRC has also enacted national laws in the form of family and criminal codes and sexual violence acts which provide protection for women and girls against violence. However, these provisions are often not enforced.

We recognise that the war in the DRC is reignited. On 20 November 2012, the city of Goma, capital of the North Kivu province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was overtaken by the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) militia group.

You can read more at the AWID website which has collected news and analysis, statements and press releases, and action appeals that call attention to the situation.

On 15 November 2012, the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice launched the Gender Report Card on the International Criminal Court 2012 which highlights important events and trends in the institutional development and substantive work of the ICC over the past 12 months.


"Women have died in the bush, and others keep on suffering as I am talking to you. I am asking the International Criminal Court to have Joseph Kony and his officers arrested. They should be brought to justice to answer for what they’ve done, for the sufferings and losses, and the blood, which was spilled in the Central African Republic." - Nanzouno-Dadine Lea from “Our Plea” produced by JUPEDEC, WIGJ & WITNESS

Because of the extent of our suffering, I can no longer keep silent. […] We ask you to be the voice and the light of those who suffered […] and stand with us.”  - Oyela Irene from “No Longer Silent” produced by Greater North Women’s Voices for Peace Network, WIGJ & WITNESS

Help keep the activism of organisations working towards peace and justice for women in situations of armed conflict alive. Send messages of support and solidarity. Share your dreams for a conflict free world with gender justice as a non-negotiable.


Read more about the work of our partner organisations in this area:


  • Distribute the Women's Initiatives' Gender Report Card 2012.
  • Help document or share cases of technology-related VAW on the Take Back the Tech! DRC map managed by SJS
  • Find out more about the situation in Eastern DRC and help spread the word. Follow the Women's Initiative on Twitter @4GenderJustice
  • Support SJS and Isis WICCE on Facebook by growing the numbers and posting messages of support.
  • Advocate with donors for direct support and funding for grassroots women's rights and peace organisations working in armed conflict situations.
  • Urge the UN and governments to implement the Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security and ensure women are involved in peace talks and conflict resolutions initiatives.
  • Advocate for the prosecution of sexual violence crimes in your country, along with anti-violence education programmes and the provision of support services to victims/survivors.
  • Advocate for your government to ratify the Rome Statute and become a States Party to the International Criminal Court. For more information about ratifications
  • Find out about the work of the ICC: Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice

Take Back the Tech! Collectively take action towards peace, gender justice and non-violence.


From Take Back the Tech!



Leila from OneWorldsee Platform shares her digital story and view of the ‘internet world’ in this video. Leila speaks about online culture, shifting activism from offline to online and what agency and action mean to her on the internet.

Watch her video. Translate it into your own language and share it. Add your own thoughts and reflections on what it means to be part of the “internet world” and be immersed and shaping what is both old and new. Write a journal entry and emailtweet or upload it here.

Take Back the Tech!


A civil society network, OneWorld platform for SouthEast Europe (owpsee) works to speed up democratisation in southeast Europe through using online spaces to build connections and spaces for progressive community organisations, spreading their work between Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro.

For this year’s campaign, owpsee will be handing out fortune cookies in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina, filled with positive messages for girls and women - love yourself! Be active! Organize! It's just one of the menu of activities owpsee has planned. One of the most timely is the translation and showing of "Budrus", with a discussion by one of the documentary's stars, a young women who helped to defy occupying soldiers and their bullets; but there will also be music, talks on robots and twitter, trainings and presenting new tech solutions for the colour-blind!

Read more about owpsee and Take Back the Tech! here.


From Take Back the Tech!

December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 7 | 1 DEC: WORLD AIDS DAY | RIGHTS WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION


Today we mark World AIDS Day by affirming our universal human rights, free from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. The recent UN political declaration on HIV and AIDS reaffirms the importance of good quality youth-friendly information and sexual health education to combat HIV/AIDS. It also outlines the commitment to provide full access to comprehensive information and education to enable women and girls to exercise their right to have control over decision making on matters related to their sexuality.

Take Back the Tech! spotlights the Yogyakarta Principles in comic form, developed by Institut Pelangi Perempuan, Indonesia. The comic translates the Yogyakarta Principles into an easier to read format that is more accessible and relatable to younger people. The Yogyajarta Principles outlines the application of international human rights laws related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The comic follows the story of Gina, Fanny and Ai, and is based on the real life experiences of young lesbians in Indonesia. Below is an excerpt of the comic, a full version can be downloaded from here.

  • Follow the adventure. Read the story
  • Pass it on. Print out the comic and leave it on bus stops, the school canteen, or your favourite hang out place.
  • Translate it and share the comic!


YP comic, p 1

YP comic p 2

YP comic, p 3

YP comic, p 4

YP comic, p 5

The comic book, published on the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) website was also blocked by several internet providers in Indonesia for apparently contravening the Anti-Pornography Act. Research has shown that content related to sexual rights, especially on sexual diversity, often become subjected to over-blocking by the government or other actors. Right to information is a fundamental human right, and should be protected without discrimination. It is also critically linked to a range of other rights including education, safety, bodily integrity and health.

Claim our right to information and education – no discrimination & no stigma. Take Back the Tech!

Find out more about IPP, their work and experience with the comic.


From Take Back the Tech!



Ending violence against women and girls is everyone's responsibility.  In the first of five videos shared from Take Back the Tech! campaigners in Colombia, the role that men and boys can play to stop the violence is clear.  It addresses the recurring problem of privacy violations which are emerging in mapping of tech-related violence everywhere.  Women entrust and share intimate photos with partners who then violate that trust by disseminating the images broadly, a violation which is further compounded by third-party sharing.

Each act of viewing and forwarding ensures that the violence continues and is even replicated. It helps to increase the normalization of violence against women.

In Colombia, Take Back the Tech! organiser Colnodo brought university students together to discuss tech-related violence and strategies to end it. The students wrote and created the videos, in this one placing men's and boy's responsibility and respect for privacy, and a new definition of masculinity, in the very center of the solution.


In the video, the youth is asked to stop and think about what he is doing.  His violence against women is being called out. Today let´s take Colnodo's example, share this video and talk about tech-related violence with the men and boys - and women and girls - in our lives. Let´s name violence against women for what it is - and stop and think about solutions instead of viewing and forwarding violence.


Colnodo is a Colombian association opening up the web for gender and sustainable development. Working in an environment where freedom of expression barely exists, they help to open up spaces for community collaboration and sharing. This is done through developing platforms for e-learning, running an internet radio station for community broadcasters and conducting research into policy and empowering local communities.

One highlight of this year's Take Back the Tech! in Colombia is the production of a commemorative play. Not to be confined to paying theatre audiences, this will be held outside, in a park, and represent the struggles of women against violence online. Alongside this, Colnodo will be producing videos, radio spots and funky TBTT materials to help publicise the movement.

Visit the Colnodo campaign profile.


From Take Back the Tech!




Today we mark International Day on Women Human Rights Defenders in our support and celebration of women and girls who defend and promote human rights in different parts of the world. Although women are often at the frontline of struggles for civil liberties, we are often forgotten when the war is won. Women who work on sexual rights issues, such as those who fight for the right to abortion, sex workers' rights or equal rights in the family in a context where patriarchal frameworks of marriage prevail, face severe repression on the grounds of social, cultural or religious norms.

The development of internet and mobile technologies have greatly impacted the work of women human rights defenders – the way we analyse, organise and mobilise for change. It has also given us the power to shape history, and to ensure that our voices, experiences and engagement do not disappear.

In strengthening this effort, Take Back the Tech! supports the “Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution” project, and invites you to watch the incredible stories and documentation of experiences by the many different women who took to the streets and demanded for change throughout this important period in living history.

Be inspired & document your own living herstories.


From, the Take Back the Tech! global campaign.