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THE TRENDS AND IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED VIOLENCE AMONG LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, QUEER (LBQ) WOMXN AND FEMALE SEX WORKERS (FSW) IN UGANDA

Earlier this week, HER Internet officially launched her research report on THE TRENDS AND IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED VIOLENCE AMONG LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, QUEER (LBQ) WOMXN AND FEMALE SEX WORKERS (FSW) IN UGANDA. The event was graced by feminists, representatives of LBQ women and FSWs led organizations and human rights defenders with a special focus on digital protection of rights for marginalized communities including LGBTQ/ SW communities. The project was supported by Global Fund for Women and Equality Fund.

In her welcome remarks, the Founder and Team Leader of HER Internet, Ms Sandra Kwikiriza recognized the support of the board who played an important role in technical assistance and guidance of the entire project. She also appreciated the team at HER Internet for their incredible support and efforts towards the progressive work of the organization.

Ms Kwikiriza further shared a brief introduction about the organization’s work and mandate. HER Internet is a feminist led organization that advocates for the digital rights and internet freedoms of LBQ women and female sex workers in Uganda with a focus on four (4) thematic areas of digital security, digital literacy, research and documentation and advocacy against online violence perpetrated against LBQ women and Female Sex Workers (FSWs).

In her presentation, Ms Sandra noted that this technology assisted violence is high risk to all women and girls who exist on the internet or use technology. Technology Assisted Violence is a term that broadly explains all violations that not only take place online but transcend offline with the assistance of technology and the internet.

"But with LBQ women and FSWs, the number increases exponentially because of factors that are beyond our control such as patriarchy, criminalization and homophobia that are really systems of oppression that can't be fought alone. Before this research study, there has been no data that highlights the prevalence of Tech Assisted Violence in Uganda perpetrated against LBQ women and female sex workers so this is the very first of its kind in Uganda and undoubtedly East Africa," Ms Kwikiriza asserted.

This project is important at this particular point in time because in the recent past, various factors including the presence of the global pandemic COVID19 has greatly changed the way individuals use internet and technology. This has made raised an urgency to understand how tech assisted violence affects different women and girls with a special focus on those that identify as lesbian, bisexual and queer together with female sex workers.

"We need to document the experiences of tech assisted violence against LBQ women and FSWs in Uganda, identify our unique challenges as those affected by this kind of violence as well as define the unique needs of LBQ women and FSWs in relation to tech assisted violence and offer proper recommendations or solutions in regards to how the situation is now. All these have broadly been covered in this research report," Ms Kwikiriza said as she delved in to a presentation on the findings of this research report.

In a Q&A session, different concerns were raised by attendees at the event. The need for a sustainable and consistent advocacy group or coalition to look into TAV cases against LBQ and FSWs victims besides the unstructured support system of friends who can temporarily help resolve the issue. The fact that social media platforms greatly influence online violence and limitations by the constitution when it comes to pursuit of justice for LBQ women and FSW victims of TAV which makes it difficult to report to the authorities.

One of the mechanisms currently in place to report online violations and TAV incidences; HER Internet together with DPI recently developed with an anonymous incident reporting tool that can be used to report these online and TAV cases.

For more recommendations on the subject, download and view a copy

http://2 final report Her internet