The 'bodyright' initiative running as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women campaign, highlights that intellectual property is more highly valued and better protected online than images of human bodies, which are often uploaded to the Internet without consent, and used maliciously.
logos and Intellectual Property (IP) receive greater protection online
than human beings do, according to the United Nations Population Fund-UNFPA, the women’s health agency that works
to end gender-based violence.
The concern was raised at the launch of a new campaign to help shield women's bodies and minds from cyber violence. The 'bodyright
' initiative running as part of the 16 Days of Activism
against Violence Against Women campaign, highlights that intellectual property is more
highly valued and better protected online than images
of human bodies, which are often uploaded to the Internet
without consent, and used maliciously.
UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem called the online world "the new frontier for gender-based violence because it's relentless, borderless and often anonymous. She added that it is time for technology companies and policymakers to take digital violence seriously.
violence is rife from cyberstalking and hate speech to doxing
private or identifying information about an individual) and the
non-consensual use of images and video, such as deep-fakes (whereby a
person in an existing image is replaced with someone else’s. Yet still,
many countries lack laws that make online violence illegal,
leaving anyone trying to remove exploitative images of
themselves with few legal rights and a long process for those who try
to enforce those rights.
says that the protections and repercussions used when someone infringes
on music or film copyright must also extend to individuals and their
photos. Governments have passed laws making copyright infringement
and digital platforms have devised ways to identify and prevent
unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Often, digital platforms
remove the content immediately, when they confirm any kind of
and spoken-word artist Rakaya Fetuga has authored and
performed poetry for the campaign that communicates the impact of online
violence and the novel concept of bodyright. And to advocate for action from Governments, policymakers, tech companies and social media platforms, UNFPA
has launched a Global Citizen-hosted petition
, that demands tangible action to end digital violence and abuse.
the campaign, online users will be required to add the ⓑ symbol to any
image directly via Instagram stories using stickers, to
hold policymakers, companies, and individuals to account while
simultaneously driving the message that women, girls,
racial and ethnic minorities, and other
marginalized groups are valued and will not be violated online.
Activists say that online violence silences the voices
of women and that nine-out-of-10
women report that online violence harms their sense of well-being, while more
than a third of women state that cyber violence has led to mental
health issues. They add that digital violence inhibits authentic self-expression, and
impacts the professional and economic livelihoods of people who depend
on online and social media spaces.
the Economist Intelligence Unit, 85 per cent of women
with access to the internet reported witnessing online violence against
other women, and 38 per cent have experienced it personally. Some 65 per
cent of women surveyed have experienced cyber-harassment, hate speech
while 57 per cent have experienced video and image-based abuse and
‘astroturfing’, where damaging content is shared concurrently across. UNFPA
has also launched “The Virtual Is Real” website
which features stories of victims and survivors of digital violence
from around the world, alongside innovative work done by UNFPA to
address this human rights violation.