I have spent many hours talking to people about domestic and sexual violence, advising they try not to pass judgement when someone discloses or push them to take actions that they are not ready to take. I tell them how important it is to let the person who was impacted make the decisions for themselves and regain the power that was taken from them.

Well, I learned firsthand recently how difficult that is to do when the person who has been hurt is someone you love — in this case one of my closest friends.

The details of the story are not important. Suffice to say, violence and abuse was perpetrated and the criminal justice system was involved. And this is where I fell down — hard.

Rather than listen, I lectured. Rather than understand, I vented my anger. Rather than just support my friend, I got frustrated with the direction they were heading and the decisions they were making. 

Until…I realized what I was doing — and instead of making it about me and what I wanted, I started to really explore what my friend wanted and what would be best for them.

For my friend, closure was not about punishment, but about feeling heard and being free to move on. It was about finding peace. 

For me, it was about learning to practice what I preach — and how difficult it is to put what you think is right aside when a person you care about has been hurt. 

At their core, domestic and sexual violence are about one person exerting power and control over another. A key part of healing is regaining that agency over your life and making your own decisions — even if they are not the ones family and friends want you to make. 

I am still processing how I reacted to the situation and have learned a lot over the last few months — most importantly: the path to healing is different for everyone — and is not about me or what I want. 

If you are someone you know who is interested to learn about NO MORE, please visit our website

www.NOMORE.org

 

If you or someone you know would like to look for resources and support, please visit

www.NOMOREDirectory.org

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Cybercrime an Online Violence Against Women and Girls

Over the past 25 years, there has been an explosion of digital technologies and online platforms, all of which were envisioned to be good and helpful societies.  These developments have indeed led to astounding improvements in scientific, medical, educational, cultural and individual advances.  And yet, there is a much darker side to these advances. At any given moment, someone you know may be experiencing online abuse, it can be isolating and all-encompassing, creeping from one online platform to another and reaching into all aspects of life.

Technology Facilitated violence and abuse, (TVFA), includes actions perpetrated online and offline.  For example cyberstalking, forcing a person to pose for or send unwanted sexual pictures, the distribution of sexually explicit photos without consent, cyber flashing, sextortion and other forms of harassment and abuse.

The scale of the current situation is alarming:

  • Women are 27 times more likely to be harassed online than men
  • 1 in 5 women in the United Kingdom has been subjected to online harassment or abuse
  • Black and minoritized women and non-binary people were more likely to report enduring increased online abuse during COVID-19, with 38% saying that the context of the pandemic had led to increased online abuse
  • 1 in 7 young women has experienced threats to share their intimate images or videos
  • 85% of women who experienced online abuse from a partner or ex-partner said that it was part of the pattern of abuse they also experienced offline.

The problem itself has many different factors which we need to work together to address namely:

  • When technology develops alarmingly fast, it is important that we appreciate and understand its full ability and ensure that measures are in place to prevent harm. 
  •  We need to work together to ensure accountability and champion legislation, such as the UK’s Online Harms Bill. 
  • We need to focus on Increasing awareness and understanding of the impact of online behaviours
  • With urgency, we need to improve the response to online harm 

Today, Pamela Zaballa, Global CEO of the NO MORE Foundation will be addressing the Commonwealth Rule of Law Conversation Seminar Series on Cybercrime and Online Violence Against Women, Girls and Children.  Along with leaders from the Commonwealth, UN Women, Get Safe Online and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  

At NO MORE, we are constantly asking ‘What can we do’, with the aim of inspiring activism and fueling cultural change.  

At NO MORE, we are encouraging people to improve their understanding of what online harmful behaviours are, the level of trauma they can cause, to report abuse and to demand change. We create and deliver education programs for young people and parents about online harm and we work closely with the private sector, especially tech companies, providing advice around safeguarding, safety and end-user support. And critically providing opportunities for the voice of survivors to be heard – they have the knowledge and experience we need to tackle this epidemic.

There is no one solution to address cybercrime and online abuse.  It will take time, dedication, determination and flexibility to work collaboratively.  We at NO MORE are honoured to participate in this critical conversation. Our desire is to truly inspire awareness, listen to the victims of abuse, and transform this knowledge into change.  Cybercrime and online abuse must be addressed in a holistic and collaborative manner if we are truly going to inspire NO MORE sexual and domestic violence.

 

If you are someone you know who is interested to learn about NO MORE, please visit our website

www.NOMORE.org

 

If you or someone you know would like to look for resources and support, please visit

www.NOMOREDirectory.org

 

Get News Updates and Alerts From NO MORE