As the digital landscape expands, so does the alarming rise of Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV) across the globe.
While much attention is rightfully directed towards high-profile individuals, a recent study, Unmasking The Trolls: Research on Online Gender-Based Violence in Kenya, sheds light on the often-overlooked impact of OGBV on marginalized communities, including persons with disabilities (PWDs) and LGBTQ+ individuals.
This groundbreaking research, carried out by KICTANet in collaboration with The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), delves into the nature, prevalence, and consequences of OGBV in both rural and urban Kenya, presenting a stark reality that demands urgent attention.
The findings reveal a gendered phenomenon, with females, urban residents, and individuals under 40 disproportionately affected by OGBV. Disturbingly, the roles of perpetrators and victims are not fixed, demonstrating a nuanced landscape.
The reported incidents span a spectrum of abuses, from cyberflashing and false posts on social media to identity exposure and financial extortion. The negative physical and emotional consequences are profound, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue comprehensively.
The research further explores the dark corners of OGBV but also proposes concrete actions for various stakeholders. They range from continued research and awareness-building to better regulation of social media content and the protection of marginalized communities. The recommendations aim to pave the way for a safer digital space for all.