Zimbabwe News

Lawyer urges women to report online gender-based violence

A lawyer, Lizwe Jamela, has urged victims of gendered online violence to report the abuse to the police and seek justice to deter perpetrators from causing more harm and dissuade would-be perpetrators from committing similar crimes.

Speaking at a podcast hosted by the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, in collaboration with CITE on gendered online violence, Jamela said women should not suffer in silence but report online abuse. Said Jamela (via CITE):

Women should not feel like they are defeated and cannot fight online violence. Some organizations can help them, that deal with legal issues and that help women specifically.

They can be assisted as far as filing reports at police stations. There is an adequate support system that they can receive. The law is there to protect them.

Women must not suffer in silence, they must speak out. If what happens to you is taken head-on and the perpetrator is convicted and sentenced, it can send out a strong message to other perpetrators that they are not above the law. This can also help to encourage other victims to seek justice for themselves.

If the victim decides to file a civil suit, they could win the case. The media can pick that up and report on the compensation that the victim may have received and that would encourage other victims to follow suit and would also deter perpetrators from committing such offences.

He also appealed to men to stand up for women in the fight against online violence. Said Jamela:

Men need to stand up for women and speak out against gendered violence so that women can be protected.

If women are left out to fight for themselves, they may not be taken seriously but if men can join in the fight too they can advocate for a positive change.

According to Global Citizen, online gender-based violence refers to targeted harassment and prejudice through technology against people, disproportionately women, based on their gender.

It encompasses various harmful actions that occur in online spaces, including stalking, harassment, bullying, and unsolicited p0rn0graphy.

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