Uganda: Online Violence Against Women Soar - Human Rights Commission Boss

Digital Content

Kampala — The use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp have increased risks of violence against women, according to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).

Medi Kaggwa, the Chairman of UHRC, in a keynote address at the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa 2016 at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday, said cases of online violence against women had risen in 2015 and 2016.

"The commission has noted increased cases of abuse against women, especially through the internet by way of stalking, sexual harassment, public shaming on social media by ex-partners and spouses," he said.

Kaggwa, however, did not cite any figures because of poor statistics and limited reporting on some of the abuses online where freedom of expression boundaries are blurred.

He said online violence against women manifest through both psychological and physical consequences.

"In some instances, there have been serious consequences such as rape, suicide, and domestic violence. Unfortunately, UHRC noted that such instances of violence against women often went unreported because of the self-censorship of the victims, who in some instances refrain from online platforms," he added.

The culture of silence about such abuses makes it hard to quantify the exact extent of such violence.

According to Women's Rights Online (2015), at least 45 per cent of Ugandan female respondents declared having experienced threats or direct personal bullying, including harassment or stalking on the Internet in the past two years, against 8 per cent of Ugandan male respondents.

According to the Uganda Women's Network, The prevalence of such violence against women is extremely high in Uganda compared to other countries, including in Africa, cited in the report.

Source: The Monitor