Cyber violence should be recognised in EU and national legislation while implementing existing tools such as Istanbul Convention and including the voices of Women and girls in all processes. Over 9 million women have experienced online violence in Europe. The digital sphere should be violence and discrimination-free, a public space where everyone respects the rule of law and equality for all.
Aslıhan Tekin is legal and policy adviser on EU law and affairs in different capacities including gender equality, social policies and rights since 2006. She is the EU Representative of EWL Coordination for Turkey and alternate board member at EWL (European Women’s Lobby). She is a lawyer and working with different civil society organisations, associations, and international organisations. As one of the EWL’s Digital Experts and #HerNetHerRights (training on combatting online violence against women and girls) trainers, she has been working on cyber violence together with grassroots organisations and women networks.
Sexist hate speech, cyberbullying, cyber harassment and all forms of cyber violence are urgent issues affecting our democracies and communities; women activists, politicians, journalists, girls, and many others are facing the consequences every day. While we have to combat online violence, we should not forget that combating online violence does not lay with the individual but all stakeholders including national and EU institutions and mechanisms such as the juridical system, decision makers and tech companies. We should continue to empower Women by developing and providing tools on how to protect themselves and advocate for the implementation of effective legislation and prevention and protection mechanisms at all levels.