Violence against women and girls is a huge threat to progress on gender equality. As technology becomes more widely available, more awareness is needed for young women and girls to repress the prevalence of online harassment.
As part of the regional advocacy work that the Women At Web East Africa network undertakes, Acacia Book Café (ABC), Association of Media Women In Kenya (AMWIK), and Media Convergency collaborated on producing a comic strip about Online Violence Against Women, for women in the East Africa region.
Through the fictional story of Samira, an actress who experiences online violence, the comic strip breaks down online violence against women, some of its characteristics, its impact on the victim, and the importance of having a support system that can help you seek psychological help as well as justice.
The story begins with Samira attending the premiere of her latest film and waking up the next day to abusive comments under photos of her on social media. The comments denigrate her for having gained weight, and in particular, when a popular journalist posts a photo of her asking his audience whether Samira looks “hot or not” the online abuse gets worse, and she begins to receive sexual assault and death threats. The abuse sends Samira into depression, but because she has a great support system, she can take the steps to seek professional psychological help, as well as seek justice in the courts with regards to the popular journalist who instigated some of the abuse she was getting online.
The comic strip is available on the AMWIK website here: https://amwik.org/comic-strip/