The purpose of this issue paper is to lay out the key legal, institutional, and ethical issues concerning technology-mediated Violence against Women (VAW), to raise critical questions for further deliberation and action. This paper draws upon secondary literature in this area, and inputs from Indian feminist scholars and practitioners working in the domains of gender-based violence, women’s rights, digital rights, and online violence.
This paper analyses the adequacy of the current legal and institutional frameworks in India and proposes alternate models that need to be debated and analyzed. The paper raises a series of questions on overhauling the existing legal framework, effectively addressing intermediary liability, and strengthening law enforcement and other institutional mechanisms.
The paper was published as part of ‘Online freedom for all = No unfreedom for women’, a project that intends to trigger national-level policy dialogues on balancing the right to free speech online with women’s right to freedom from technology-mediated violence, in India and Bangladesh. The project, launched in January 2017, seeks to address key gaps in existing legal institutional frameworks on technology-mediated violence against women in the two countries. The project was initiated by IT for Change and the Women’s Rights Online network of the WWW Foundation.