When the rights of Internet users are protected, civic participation is more likely to flourish, leading to more empowered, inclusive and accountable societies. Fundación Avina, in partnership with OSF, Luminate, and the IDRC, has promoted digital rights regulations and policies related to online gender violence across Latin America. We presented an overview of online gender-based violence regulation trends in the region and discussed lessons learned from our work advancing access to justice for women and LGTBIQ+ communities, and their right to digital spaces free of violence. Finally, we discussed actions we’ve supported throughout the region, including advocacy strategies, innovative communication campaigns, strategic litigation, and protection of rights at the Constitutional level.
Speakers held that although online gender-based violence is prevalent, it is not sufficiently acknowledged. Civic participation in Latin America, especially among women, is significantly curtailed by gender-based online violence. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that women are often reluctant to report these cases, and the judiciary is not always adept at recognising this problem. Panellists agreed that the first step is to acknowledge the issue and give names to each type of online violence. The internet should be a safe, violence-free space that allows users greater control over their privacy.