First published in LSE’s Women Peace and Security blog, this article discusses the need for a feminist jurisprudence on violence against women. Laws on online VAW draw from foundational ideas that have informed interpretations of gender-based (in) justice, recognizing the immersion of human society in digital experiences. There is a presence of historical imbalance of power between men and women where violence is used as discriminatory tool against women. ‘Harm’ to the body, mind or both is often seen as the ‘proof’ that violence has occurred. The language used by the law to address the issues relating to violence often puts the victim on the stand for their ‘morality’ to be assessed. An alternative theory of harm needs to be incorporated which is seen as a discriminatory practice impinging upon women’s dignity and violation of her right to privacy. Institutional intervention needs to be built upon the foundations of gender equality, dignity and privacy, as the core constituents of just societies in the digital age.
This article has been co-authored by Anita Gurumurthy and Amrita Vasudevan, and is part of our Online Freedom for All project.