By Tausi Nakato
Jinja City has been cited as an area with high cases of online gender-based violence (GBV)
This is according to new research findings from a study conducted by Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET).
According to the research conducted in 2020, 99.7 percent of females were impacted by online GBV compared to 0.3 percent of males.
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) defines online gender-based violence as acts of violence that are committed, abetted, or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email.
It includes, but is not limited to, verbal and graphic threats, abusive comments and harassment, sexual assault, and rape photos and videos.
Esther Nyapendi, a technical support officer at WOUGNET, says in the five districts where research was carried Jinja topped the list followed by Kampala, Kabalore, Lira and Kabale.
According to Nyapendi, most online victims are female politicians, musicians, and university students because they are considered “vulnerable”, while most of them remain anonymous for fear of being stigmatized.
Nyapendi explains that cyberstalking and cyberbullying, are the most common modes of sexual violence, while others include; non-consensual intimate images, online sexual harassment, impersonation, doxing, trolling, hacking, and hate speech among others.
Pascaline Bahati says she lost her journalism career after her ex-boyfriend shared her nude photos.
As an intervention, Nyapendi said they have trained 40 women from Jinja to ensure that they are aware of the measures for digital safety and security while using online platforms.
These include; having strong passwords on their email accounts, encrypting their data, and not sharing their private images with their partners, among others.