When Kashmiri all-women rockband Pragaash recently decided to disband, the online abuse that they had received – including rape threats – was believed to have played an important role in this. The members of Pragaash are not, however, the only ones who have faced such abusive speech. Over recent months, it has become increasingly evident that many women who are vocal on the Internet regularly face speech of a deeply sexualised or gendered nature, ranging from smaller forms of harassment to rape and death threats.
This phenomenon raises a number of questions:
- What forms of abusive speech do women face online?
- What strategies do women actually use to deal with abusive speech of a gendered nature?
- How effective are existing laws in addressing the abuse of women on the Internet?
- What other measures are required to curb sexist behaviour on the Internet?
The Internet Democracy Project has been working on a pioneering research study that seeks to better understand these issues. We would like to invite you to join us for a Mumbai consultation to discuss the research findings and their implications in greater depth. We also hope to hear about your own experiences and strategies to deal with abusive speech and to get your input on the ways forward.
The consultation will take place on 6 March, from 2 to 6 pm, at the Meera Watumull Auditorium, RD National College, Linking Road, Bandra West, and is hosted by the Internet Democracy Project and Point of View.
All are welcome.