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Web 2.0 Female edition: saving lives, asking for advice and… getting married

Few days ago Ukrainian web society exploded with rage – famous company “Prostoprint”, which produces T-shirts with different prints, was suddenly attacked by police. As my boyfriend works for this company, I knew: recently they created prints with ironic slogan about Ukrainian President, so the forces were quick to react.

I discovered this situation from Facebook, when my friend stream fulfilled with messages in few seconds. “Lying on the floor”… “Confiscated property”… I wanted to arrive immediately, but my boyfriend disagreed, because it was too dangerous for a girl. That was a moment when I realized – the web communication can be my only power.

Me and my friends use Web 2.0 for protecting city monuments and organizing protests. Social networks saved the life of my colleague, 23-year-old journalist Iryna, who had a serious form of cancer. Ukrainian journalists created a group in Facebook, where girl’s friends commented on each step of treatment process. This “live show” helped to collect the required amount.

Why do Ukrainian women join the Web? Many of them grew up behind the iron curtain of Soviet Union, where it was uncommon to discuss intimate spheres of their lives with friends and even doctors. In virtual space women share their experience without any risk of being recognized or blamed. Sex, pregnancy, forbidden love stories – there are no secrets and limits. And that attracts for sure.

Maybe it sounds funny, but many Ukrainian girls from villages and small cities find husbands in the internet. It’s not about wedding agencies which only make money with the help of naïve foreigners, but forums, Facebook and even random ICQ/Skype search. The most important thing– not to be disappointed after meeting each other in “Outernet”.

Of course, there are some women, who have a vital need in online anonymous helplines and female communities. It’s not a secret, that women in Ukraine are seriously discriminated. Statistics is awful – 30-40% calls to the police are caused by incidents of home violence. 35-50% women are taken to the hospital with injuries, received in domestic rows.

According to the social researches, about 1000 women in Ukraine die each year because of the home violence! Web becomes the way to share the sufferings and receive an advice, while traditional media are often silent or just indifferent. It’s ironic, but the most computer literate politician is… Julia Tymoshenko. She performed a web revolution in the political world. when started using Twitter for publishing her own ironic comments during the court hearing.

Speaking about myself, I write articles and investigations about using social media and web resources for journalists. I mostly use web for searching for topics and speakers. Despite of this I’m absolutely sure: the main goals of web communication are personal realization and collective assistance. One real woman, who found her salvation in the internet, is a hundred times more valuable than any researches and professional advices.

Comments

Meena Afghan's picture

Nice, found it very

Nice, found it very interesting.

Peace Seeker,

shaygalto's picture

Interesting

This was a very well written piece! I like how you incorporated your own stories with the ongoing fight for freedom of speech. Also, I am was not aware of the severity of the violence against women in Ukraine, I like how you talked about the statistics then offered a way to combat those statistics through social media. Thank you for this piece, it was very informative!

Joanna Krotz's picture

Social justice via social media

Infinitas, you built a very good bridge from "Outernet" violence, repression and politics to online activism and communications for women and the vulnerable. Domestic violence in Russia has been an ongoing and horrendous issue and it's great to see you covering that and (good reporting!) including those awful, awful statistics.
Joanna

Infinitas's picture

Thanks for your thoughts

Thanks a lot for your comments - I appreciate your thoughts a lot! I've only started writing in English recently, so it's still a challenge to put my thoughts in a precise amount of signs. Hope to improve my style and make it even more interesting with your help.

I've also noticed, that there is not that much information about Russia/Ukraine/Belarus in this community. For me it's another great reason to search for facts and stories and publish them here.

Fay's picture

Informative, Enlightening, and Delightful

I liked how you incorporated such a dramatic personal story - about your boyfriend's employer being raided and your limitation as a woman - as well as stunning statistics that showed how much women struggle for a voice in the Ukraine. Your story paints a vivid picture that compels readers to experience some form of emotional reaction. You deserve great applause for your essay, and also for your efforts to empower women through networking and communication!

Fay

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