Abortion and virtual violence: harassment of one in three women in Argentina

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Internet is essential for access to information, communication and for activism. But it is also used to frighten and silence the voices that express certain political positions. And among the commonly intimidated voices is that of women who support the struggle for their rights, reports Amnesty International.

Violence against women is not only manifested in the form of physical abuse, it is also obviously verbal and psychological. These aspects are multiplied in online interaction platforms, where above all anonymity gives rise to a type of virtual gender harassment which affects the visibility and self-censorship of many Internet users.
These are some of the conclusions of Corazones Verdes, the report published by Amnesty International Argentina. The text is intended to measure the depth of violence against women in social networks in the context of the debate over the legalization of voluntary termination of pregnancy.
"The world of social networks is not a parallel dimension, it is an extension of the public debate. Therefore, if the woman suffers violence offline she will also suffer online," Mariana Fontoura Marques, lawyer and director, told Sputnik Amnesty International Policy and Justice.

The dimension of online gender violence

The survey was carried out on a base of 1,200 women, aged 18 to 55, in Argentina. Of the universe of women surveyed, 28% actively participated in the debate about the legalization of abortion on social networks in 2018 and 58% said they agreed with a law on voluntary termination of pregnancy.
According to the report, one in three women said they suffered violence or abuse on social networks in that framework. Among them, 39% felt that their physical security was threatened and 24%, that the integrity of a relative was at stake.
In addition, 26% received direct or indirect threats of psychological or sexual violence, 59% said they were subject to sexual and misogynist messages, while 34% received messages with abusive language or comments in general.

"The impact of this violence does not remain in the networks, it transfers and penetrates the daily life of these people: they feel their security threatened, they suffer physical and mental health problems. It restricts their rights to freedom of expression and information," he said. Fontoura Marques.

According to Amnesty's report, among the women who reported having suffered online violence for supporting the abortion campaign, more than a third showed how the consequences transcend the virtual space.

  • 36% reported panic attacks, stress or anxiety;
  • 35%, loss of self-esteem or confidence;
  • 34% said they felt afraid to go outside;
  • 33% felt a period of psychological isolation.

Sophistication of virtual harassment

"One of the forms of aggression that we identify is directed harassment, where a person is 'targeted' (chosen as a target) by one or different users or accounts and there begins to receive attacks from aggressors or 'trolls' as a coordinated strategy" explained Fontoura Marques, referring especially to the social network Twitter.
He also mentioned that the dissemination of women's private information is used through the publication of their phones, email addresses or addresses, so that they feel threatened and self-censorship.

"70% of women who claimed to have suffered online violence changed their use of the platforms and 45% suspended their use. That may include stopping publishing or sharing content, blocking users, raising their security settings, important mechanisms. of protection but that have the collateral effect of restricting the possibilities of interaction, "he said.



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https://mundo.sputniknews.com/america-latina/201912051089533947-aborto-y-violencia-virtual-el-acoso-a-una-de-cada-tres-mujeres-en-argentina/

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