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Web 2.0 for Empowering Women & Defending Human Rights in Sudan: Work Under Progress

The Web 2.0 has reshaped the media. The most exciting thing about it is that people are creating the content. There is a space for mostly every person with internet access to create the news and share the very personal opinion; which may create public opinion. Another excitement is how your own words can reach out to thousands of people; they can be professionals, ordinary people or likely minded activists. As well as web 2.0 allows you to share very own opinions; it allows responding and interacting.
Web 2.0 has amplified women voices to be heard across the globe; regardless their race, age or their socioeconomic status. It really amazed me how young girls at ages of 14-15 years old are blogging about feminism and women rights. The influential role that 15 years old girl can play was proofed by the brave Malala Yousafzai which was shot in her forehead because of advocating and blogging for the girls education in Pakistan. In Sudan and many other countries Sexualized violence and rape incidents were kept in the dark because of the stigmatization of the victim and her family and perpetrators were allowed to skip the punishment; Web 2.0 technology helped revealing those incidents and encouraged women to expose what happening in the shades. Safia Ishag was the bravest young woman in Sudan to announce that on a Youtube video that she was kidnapped and gang raped by security officers as a punishment for her political activism. Revealing the abuse is the first step to stop it; Fawzia Saeed along with other fellow female employees at UNDP Pakistan has sparked a national anti-harassment movement that achieved passing legislation criminalizes sexual harassment by the parliament in 2010 .
Personally I found Web 2.0 tools empowering for me as a women human rights defender. Inspired by the Tunisian blogger Lina Bin Mihani and supported by my friends I've started blogging on August 2011. First I didn't think that my words can make a difference and blogging was my debriefing. I've started getting comments, followers and since April 2012 I got more than 16,000 visits to my site.
Sudanese youth inspired by Arab spring revolutions took up the streets on Jan 30th, 2011. They have used Facebook to send protests invitations. Although the protests were limited; but more people have joined June/ July 2012 anti-regime protests. Young activists are getting more proficient on utilizing Web 2.0 technologies and as a result improving their strategies. In June/ July 2012 protests twitter users has played a major roll on sharing information about protests, arrests and exposed crackdown on peaceful protestors to people, news agencies and human rights networks all over the world only by using #SudanRevolts hash tag.
From day to day many young activists (taking the above mentioned examples) are learning about web 2.0 tools and how to utilize it to advocate for a cause. Keeping learning and sharing experiences are in favor of empowering women to advocate for their rights.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb2960uQfg4
http://www.ned.org/events/working-with-sharks-a-pakistani-womans-story-o...
http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%A7_%D8%A8%D9%86_%D9%8...

Comments

Frances Faulkner's picture

Real life

Yosra,

You give excellent and detailed examples of how web 2.0 has really made a difference in personal lives. I especially love your statement: "Web 2.0 has amplified women voices to be heard across the globe; regardless their race, age or their socioeconomic status." This is so true, and sets it apart from any other form of communication in our entire history of the human race.

We are living in an exciting time! Thanks for your hard work -
Frances

Thanks Frances for passing by and reading my post, we need to utilize this technology to the max. to improve the life of the women

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

anab87j9's picture

Thank you!

Thank you so much Yosra for mentioning how the sexualized violence is being kept in the dark allowing the perpetrators to skip punishment. I remember about 2 years ago how I was shaken by what happened to Safia Ishaq, and was inspired by her bravery and courage to face a difficult culture, and backlash. Her bravery continue to inspire me up to this day, and that is why it is very important to shed light on this issue and bring it out of the darkness to be faced, understood, confronted and finally ended!

Yosra Akasha's picture

She is our hero

When they raped her they wanted to teach all women activists a lesson, when she spoke out she motivated more women to join the struggle for political reform in Sudan. She inspired a lot of women and girls to speak out loud.

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Zuhal Ahmed's picture

Great article

like the way you highlighted some of violence against women in Sudan and other countries, and I do agree with you Sexualized violence and rape incidents were kept in the dark because of the stigmatization of the victim and her family and perpetrators were allowed to skip the punishment…., yes there were so many cases of violence against women, specifically rape were not highlighted ,and this is due to so many reasons, unfortunately some of these reasons the negative community cultures and believes, ( in many community /Darfur people think it's shame to talk about women rap or harassment, the other reason is the Victim herself trying to hide or deny what has happened to her in order to avoid offender revenge or the negative perception for the community, during my work in the IDPs camps I met so many women they raped by government soldiers and others by Janjaeweed, but they couldn't talk about their cases they told me that they couldn't endure the negative perceptions form the community,

best regards

Zuhal Ahmed
Norwegian Chuch Aid
South and West Darfur
skype: Zuhal Ahmed Abakar Fadl

Darfur women are pioneer in highlighting the rape during conflict in Sudan, During the longest civil war in Africa between the North & South we haven't hear about weaponizing rape of the sexualized violence against women. I know now its getting more difficult for Darfur women to speak up with the absence and ristrictions on human rights monitors and victims' support groups, still if they cannot speak out we should speak on their behalf. Looking forward to hear their stories from your side Zuhal.

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Paulina Lawsin's picture

Reading your article is like

Reading your article is like looking through a lens from a wide angle. We get to know about the bravery of women who stood for their rights against sexual abuse; how the activists use social media to mobilize people for protest actions; and your personal experience as a blogger. Your visitor stats is admirable. Expect me to be one of them.

It is great to read news about Sudan from a woman's perspective. Looking forward to read your future articles.

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thanks Paulina

I'm honored by having you here, looking forward to hear your stories

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

ccontreras's picture

Hi Yosra,

Hi Yosra,
I really enjoyed reading your story and how your blog has attracted many youths in Sudan. I am particularly inspired by how the Arab Spring went as far as to Sudan to create an impact in your community and that women, like you, are taking a stand making their voices heard online through blogs. I have nothing but admiration for women like you!
Best in the future!
Cynthia from Florida

"I embrace emerging experience. I am a butterfly. Not a butterfly collector." - Stafford

thanks for your supportive words. let us all be butterflies and colour our worlds

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

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