Digital Action against Gender-based Cyberbullying and Cyberviolence

Committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, Tunisia is multiplying its actions and mobilising many means to ensure better implementation. Indeed, the fifth goal of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relates to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, which is linked to several targets to be achieved within the next 10 years. This struggle for an egalitarian society with an inclusive democracy is reflected in Article 46 of the Tunisian Constitution, which places the responsibility on the State to strengthen women’s rights and ensure their representation in elected assemblies. This article states that: “The State guarantees the acquired rights of women and works to support and develop them. It shall guarantee equal opportunities for men and women in the exercise of the various responsibilities. It shall work to achieve parity in elected assemblies. The State shall take the necessary measures to eliminate violence against women. However, widespread access to the internet, the growing use of social networks and the speed of information dissemination through mobile devices, combined with the double pandemic of violence against women and the global health crisis, have highlighted a growing problem, gender-based cyber-violence.

The Centre de Recherches, d’Études, de Documentation et d’Information sur la Femme (CREDIF) of the Ministry of Family, Women, Children and the Elderly (MAFFPA), through various forms of action, seeks to decipher, inform, raise awareness and fight against gender-based cyber-violence against women. According to the exploratory study elaborated by CREDIF on “Violence against women in social media: the Facebook model”, four out of five women declare having been exposed to cyber-violence on Facebook and 95% of them have not filed a complaint. This study highlights the need to strengthen the culture of human rights and digital safety, especially for future generations, and to develop awareness-raising activities in diverse and innovative formats.

The digital aspect of cyber-violence against women and the virtuality of the spaces in which it occurs require the use of appropriate, innovative and, above all, target-audience-friendly information, awareness and advocacy formats. Based on the recommendations of its study and the specific nature of this violence, CREDIF plans to invest in the implementation of an online communication strategy to tackle this issue.