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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.



Take Back the Tech! Philippines

Nica and Jothi from the Foundation for Media Alternatives shares their story about the struggle for legal redress for technology-related violence against women in the Philippines. Without the full recognition of women’s human rights, the path to recognition can sometimes act to cripple instead of empower. Nica speaks about the reality of women in her country, and what it takes for real protection of the rights of women.

Read her story. Be inspired. And share your own struggles and reflection on what it takes to address violence against women online in your country. Write a journal entry and email,tweet or upload it here.




I remember using my first computer when I was 16, using a dial-up internet connection, and buying my first mobile phone upon reaching 18.

With the advancement of technology, new innovations were created to connect peoples, as well as their advocacies. Internet and mobile technology enables connections that are no longer limited to a tangible physical space but have even become borderless. If this is the case, then you would think that freedom has become easier to exercise, enjoy; and mindsets can be changed in a snap with information just a mouse click away.

However, what if it’s the other way around? Technology is being used as a tool to reinforce gender discrimination and marginalization.

Just recently, the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175 was signed into law. At first, you would think that this is the law that would address emergent forms of technology-related violations such as cyberbullying, cyberharassment, cyberstalking and sex scandals. After all, R.A. 10175, they say was enacted in the name of women - to protect them from violence.

However, it is not clear in the law how it proposes to regulate these online violations. This is what usually happens when the framework is not founded upon the freedoms already won by our very active and dynamic women’s movement.

With R.A. 10175, instead of making the Internet as a liberating tool, as a space for empowerment, it has become a controlling one that creates fears to women.  Obviously, women are at the losing end here.

Offline, putting women in the limelight every after raids in alleged sex dens and beerhouses, already put so much blame and shame on them, while the owners including the men patronizing such businesses were nowhere to be found.

Online, same thing or even worse can happen with the cybersex provision of R.A. 10175. It can make women victims as perpetrators of cybercrimes and penalize them doubly and harshly.

On the other hand, there are so much hate speeches, discriminatory notes going against women online. Some women activists belonging to LBTs (lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders) who also supports efforts of the Take Back the Tech Philippine campaign has also received numerous comments on social networking sites on how they were just ‘a waste’ since they are not of the heterosexual orientation. While it gives some comfort that R.A. 10175 will run after cyberbullies, it is not clear on how it will provide corrective measures to these discriminatory acts.

Because of the reinforcement of gender discrimination, marginalization and unwanted social constructs women’s groups have collectively spoken that they wanted R.A. 10175 deleted in their midst. If the government wanted to protect women against violence, the first thing it should have done is to have them onboard and consult them.

Have them draft policies that protect them from oppression. Put women at the center of development, have them contribute largely in phasing out the discriminatory social constructs in place and allow them to continue carrying the discourse on women’s rights in cyberspace. Lastly, to have the already existing protective laws work and not resort to knee-jerk reactionary laws with harsher penalties.

While there might be fears around because of the potential harm technology can inflict on women, the government acts should be that of education and empowerment, and not of immediate criminalization, and worse control. Us, women see, that an effective way to combat violence is to confront, and address the fears and claim the power of the freedom won.

We have to stand together and take control of technology to make sure that we strengthen our freedoms. Let us amplify our united women’s voices and demand what we all want - FREEDOMS not FEARS.


The Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) has been an active Take Back the Tech! campaigner since 2009. They seek to democratise information and communication systems and resources for local citizens and communities in the Philippines. FMA focuses on strategic interventions designed to promote the right to information and the right to communicate and explores the intersection of ICTs and violence against women.

FMA Take Back the Tech! 2012 campaign activities include:

  • Co-organising the “Takbo ’Te Run for Equality” with the Proud to be LGBT campaign and the College of Human Kinetics Student Council to raise awareness on gender equality issues as well as fundraising for the Home of the Golden Gays, a care home for elderly LGBT people.

Run for Equality

  • Talking to students about tech-related violence and encouraging them to participate in mapping their experiences on the campaign map.
  • Taking part in the Philippines PRIDE March in December.
  • Releasing a declaration on tech-related violence along with different civil society partners working on internet rights, human rights and women's.
  • Hosting a discussion on the Philippines' cybercrime law with women's rights groups.

Check out FMA's campaign page to find out more about their activities and their campaign materials, including digital stories and more.


Taken from the Tech Back the Tech! global campaign.

November 30, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 2 | FROM MYTHOLOGY TO REALITY | STORIES THAT MATTER


Today we share with you a folk story. Folklores and fairytales are the earliest form of education, embodying collective wisdom and memory of a community through each retelling. It is a form of living history that allows the audience and storyteller to reinterpret and critically reflect about meanings and power in this world, and our places in them.

Because they are told to us from a very young age, they also play a big part in shaping our values and ideas of gender roles: princesses wait to be rescued; princes kill monsters; beauty and deformity being clear signs of good and evil.

But there are also many folklores and fairytales that speak about courage, resourcefulness and empowerment of the less powerful. Find these stories in your culture and share them. Or retell a popular folklore by changing the unequal social norms that textures the story, and by turning its gendered stereotypes on its head.

Share them by uploading your stories on this site, or email it to us or send us a tweet@takebackthetech (#16 stories #takebackthetech)

Help us create a culture that is free from violence against women, starting from folklores and fairytales that speaks of equality and empowerment. Take Back the Tech!


Tale of Two Sisters: Bawang Merah & Bawang Putih

Two Women Carrying Baskets by Aristide MaillolIn a village, by the river at the edge of the forest lived a Mother, Mak Kundur, and her two Daughters, Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih. Bawang Merah was pale, quiet and beautiful, and the one more loved by Mak Kundur. Bawang Putih was brown, active and equally lovely, but somehow, she was always a little ignored by their Mother. Being strong and hardworking, Bawang Putih didn’t mind, and took it upon herself to take care of all the work that needed to be done.

In the mornings, she picked plants and herbs from the forest for food and medicine. In the afternoons, she cooked hot and wholesome meals for the family. In the evenings, she cleaned, washed and swept. Bawang Merah sometimes remembered to help, but usually she was lost inside one of the five books they owned, which she read and reread everyday. Mak Kundur who was still grieving over the loss of her husband would find some comfort in combing Bawang Merah’s long black hair while she read out loud. So they passed their days, seldom talking, each absorbed in their own routines.

One evening, while Bawang Putih was washing their clothes by the river, one of her mother’s sarong was carried away by the current. Knowing that they already had very little, Bawang Putih followed the piece of cloth along the river to try and find it. Eventually, the river flowed into a cave and she followed in. There she met an Old Woman.

“Gentle Makcik, have you seen a piece of cloth that came floating in? It belongs to my mother and she does not have much.”

The Old Woman replied, “Yes, I have seen it. But before I return it to you, can you help me with some tasks? I am an old woman, and my strength is not as before.”

Bawang Putih immediately agreed, and went about collecting wood and fruits, weeded and tended to her small patch of vegetables, swept and cleaned the cave. The Old Woman was so pleased with her hard work that she praised her affectionately and gave her a warm and loving hug every time she was done with each task. Bawang Putih missed such comforts very much, but did not realise it. Longing for more, she offered to do more and more tasks for the Old Woman.

Meanwhile, days have passed and Bawang Merah and Mak Kundur became worried with Bawang Putih’s absence. At first, they were more concerned about getting used to the work that she usually did. Later, they began to miss her presence and the way she would whistle while she worked.

Bawang Merah who read all those books knew how stories went. She knew she would have to go and rescue Bawang Putih from the magic she is entrapped in. So she equipped herself with a poem, a thumb of young ginger and a silver fish, and went in search of her sister. It has been so long since she has been to the forest, and she enjoyed the sunlight and the wind and the sound of insects and birds around her.

Before long, she came across a mousedeer. “Sang Mousedeer, did you see my sister? She is brown, whistles while she works and is as beautiful as the sun.”

The mousedeer replied, “Yes, I have seen her. But I am busy in a match with the Crocodile. If you can give me a riddle that will stump him for awhile, I can take you to her.”

Bawang Merah pulled out her poem, which was a form of pantun teka teki, and gave it to the mousedeer. The mousedeer was overjoyed and recited it to the Crocodile, then took Bawang Merah to the cave by the river. There she found the Old Woman and her sister.

“Bawang Putih, here you are. Please come home with us.”

But Bawang Putih did not seem to hear her. Bawang Merah turned to the Old Woman and begged her to release her sister.

The Old Woman replied, “I am not keeping her here but she cannot hear you because now her ears are warm but your mouth is cold. Your words sound like nothing but distant whispers.”

Bawang Merah took her thumb of ginger and chewed and when the heat from the ginger burned her tongue and her throat she cried, 

“Bawang Putih, here I am. Please come home with us.”Flowering Tree, by Johnny Automatic, From Open ClipArt Library

Bawang Putih turned around in surprise, but could not seem to see her.

The Old Woman said, “I am not keeping her here but she cannot see you because now her eyes are hot but your blood is cold. You are like nothing but a shivering shadow.”

Bawang Merah took out her silver fish, slit it open and ate its roe and liver and when her fingers were stained pink and her stomach hot she cried,

“Bawang Putih, here we are. Please let us go home together.”

And finally, Bawang Putih can see and hear her. For the first time in a long time, they held each other tight in a loving embrace.

The Old Woman gave Bawang Putih a large pumpkin for her kindness, and when Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih returned home, Mak Kundur so missed her daughters she ran to them, comb and tears forgotten. In the haste of their embrace, the pumpkin crashed to the ground, broke open, and grew into a tree, and the tree bore heavy red fruits that tasted like sweet fire.

- Adapted from a Malay folk tale from the Malay Peninsular and Indonesian Archipelago by Jhybe for the Take Back the Tech! campaign.


Thanks to the Tech Back the Tech! campaign.

November 30, 2012 - Comments Off on 16 DAYS X 16 STORIES: TELL. LISTEN. ACT.


From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, Take Back The Tech! invites you to take one action per day to end violence against women. Each daily action explores an issue of violence against women and its interconnection with communication rights, and approaches different communication platforms - online and off - in creative and tactical ways.Take Back The Tech! End violence against women.



Banner Announcement

The act of storytelling is transformative.

When you tell a story, you are defining the experience. You are naming the actors, narrating the event, framing the values and deciding which details matter. In other words, you are constructing reality.

When you listen to a story, you are allowing your point of view to be shifted, and be immersed into another reality. When you listen actively, you are also moved through more profound understanding.

The world is made up of many, many stories. Some are more loudly told and heard than others, while some are shared in smaller circles. Often, it depends on who is telling the story and how much power they have in the context where it is heard.

If we pay attention to stories that are less easily heard, then we are contributing to changing who has power.

If we make the effort to tell stories that are not familiar, then we are actively participating in shaping what matters.

Take Back the Tech! From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, take part in the 16 days of activism and take control of technology to tell, listen and share transformative stories. Document, inspire, converse and collectively envision the end to violence against women.


We will be featuring a story every day for 16 days. Each story will present the different ways that internet and mobile technologies affect the lives of women and girls in different parts of the world.

Some are stories by women and girls who have experienced violence online or through the use of digital technologies. Some are stories that subvert ideas of technology, gender roles and harm. Some are stories that imagine a world free from violence against women – with wit, gravity, humour and imagination.

Visit the Take Back the Tech! campaign site throughout the 16 days and listen to each story. Find out more about the very real ways that internet and mobile technologies intersect with violence against women, and be inspired, moved and challenged to take action for change.

This year’s campaign is inspired by Take Back the Tech! Pakistan’s 16 days of activism campaign in 2011.


Be part of the 16 days story circle and tell your own powerful story of transformation. The stories can be about:

  • How you have personally experienced, been affected by or took action to challenge violence against women online or through mobile phones.
  • Creative collation and storytelling based on different cases that you have heard, read or come across.
  • Interviews with different women on their stories or opinions on why internet and mobile technologies are feminist issues and strategies on online safety.
  • Fictional and fantastical accounts of alternate realities that challenge how we think about internet and mobile technologies, power, gender relations and/or violence.
  • Or any other story, actually experienced, inspired or imagined.


We want to amplify and share stories that surface the different ways that violence against women, feminism and internet and mobile technologies intersect. Below are some thematic ideas to begin with:

  • Online harassment and cyberstalking
  • Trolling and online sexism
  • “Love”, violence and internet technologies
  • Privacy in a public digital space
  • Sexuality online
  • Girls and internet technologies
  • Feminism, activism and online threats and possibilities
  • Culture, gender roles and internet technologies
  • Strategies to be safe online

And other thematic areas that you think are important in relation to this issue.


Format and styles can be as diverse as Take Back the Tech! campaigners who come from different parts of the world. For example:

  • Videos (digital stories, interviews, mash-ups, recordings of live events, music video, webcam diaries, claymation etc) – most online videos are less than 3 minutes because of bandwidth and online viewing dynamics.
  • Audio clips (storytelling, drama, songs, podcasts etc)
  • Captioned photos, comic strips or collages
  • Performance theatre, comedy, scripts
  • Retellings of folklore and mythology or science fiction
  • Poetry, haiku, blog posts
  • Embroidery…wherever your creativity moves you.

They can be in first or third person, in the language you are comfortable in, or use no language at all.

Note on privacy

  • Check if your content/story reveals personal information about yourself or others that you don’t want to share.
  • This includes recognisable pictures or information about location, identity, age, occupation etc.
  • Check “Be safe” section on what you can do to address some of these issues.


You can share your story as part of this campaign in several ways:

  • Email us at: ideas AT takebackthetech DOT net
  • Create an account on the site to upload your story directly. If your story is in written form, you can publish it as a blog post on the site.
  • If your story is in different media formats - e.g. video, audio, photographs, images etc, you can find out how to upload content here.
  • Or if you have posted it in your own online spaces (blog, tumbler etc), then let us know by sending us a link on Twitter, or post it up on our campaign Facebook page.


Visit the campaign site every day throughout the 16 days to listen to the stories.

Find out more about the very real and different ways that internet and mobile technologies affect the lives of women and girls in different parts of the world, and how gender-based violence is a significant aspect of this reality.

Build your knowledge and deepen your understanding about the issue.


  • Let the storyteller know how the story moved you by leaving a comment.
  • Participate in our Twitter #16stories conversation.
  • Grow the story circle and respond with your own story. Follow the story guide above to tell your story.
  • Share resources about the issue that the story surfaces.
  • Build knowledge and share your ideas, thoughts and strategies on how to deal with situations of violence against women online.
  • Listen actively.


If you have experienced violence against women online, or know of someone who has, or have come across news reports about such incidents, document it on the Take Back the Tech! online map.

The Take Back The Tech! map on technology-related violence is in several languages including Arabic, Urdu, French, Spanish, Bosnian and others.

In addition, Take Back The Tech! campaigners in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan and the Philippines are coordinating country-specific maps, which will be aggregated to the global Take Back the Tech! map.

The reports will be used for advocacy efforts and to inform capacity building strategies on online safety. We will be bringing your stories, experiences and concerns to the UN meeting in 2013 on women's rights that will be focusing on violence against women, to include technology-related violence against women in the discussion.


Help us build a body of knowledge and document the experiences of violence that women and girls face online and through the use of internet and mobile technologies.

Collectively, we can make the invisible visible and demand for recognition and change.

Stories can change the world. Take control of technology and share your story!


From Take Back the Tech!