NEW YORK: A new UN report reveals that almost three quarters women online are exposed to some form of cyber violence worldwide and only 26% law enforcement agencies in 86 countries surveyed are taking appropriate action. India is one of the countries where reporting about cyber bullying is low.
The report ‘Combating Online Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call’, by United Nations Broadband Commission says only 35% women in India reported their victimization while a larger majority 46.7% had not. About 18.3% were not even aware that they had been victimized. Reassuringly India is one of the six countries where the majority (67%) felt they could express their opinions safely. Others include Pakistan, Peru, Nigeria, Indonesia and Kenya.
The report notes that Indian laws related to data privacy, offensive communication through internet and digital communication technology still need to be developed.
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Tracking worldwide trends the report says that women in the age range of 18 to 24 are uniquely likely to experience stalking and sexual harassment in addition to physical threats and that one in five female internet users live in countries where harassment and abuse of women online is extremely unlikely to be punished.
“Online violence has subverted the original positive promise of the internet’s freedoms and in too many circumstances has made it a chilling space that permits anonymous cruelty and facilitates harmful acts towards women and girls,” said UN Women’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. We want to reclaim and expand the opportunities it offers. That means recognizing the scale and depth of the damage being done – and taking strong, concerted steps to call it – and stop it. Abuse online is still abuse, with potency and very real consequences, she added.
The report presents a set of key recommendations, proposing a global framework based around three ‘S’s – Sensitization, Safeguards and Sanctions.