We use cookies for this site. Read more about ourpolicy



One part of Operation 1325’s activities is to strengthen women’s voices in peace processes. Which we are doing together with partner organisations in for instance Yemen, Palestine and Turkey. An important part of this has been practical training of young women, in producing content and using social media. Because of the extremely powerful tool social media have proven to be, for reaching out with a message both to those already agreeing and to those who hear the message for the first time. With small resources you can reach a great audience. In today’s fast and connected world, with an abundance of information, it is necessary to master social media. If you are not seen, you are not heard.

However, it comes with consequences. Just like in real life, violence and threats occur online. Women are twice as likely to be victims of digital violence.

Plan International recently conducted a study presented in the report “Free to be online? – Girls’ and young women’s experiences of online harassment” which spanned 31 countries and asked more than 14,000 girls and young women about their experiences online. It found that girls as young as eight years old had experienced harassment and most girls and young women participating in the survey, first experience harassment between the ages of 14 and 16.

Harassment can range from threats of violence, including sexual violence, to bullying and degrading language, to sharing pornographic images. As a result, many girls and young women either reduce or stop using social media platforms altogether. According to the study, over 30% of girls who were frequently harassed had either reduced their use of social media or simply stopped using it.

International IDEA shares a similar conclusion from the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) #NotTheCost campaign, which shows that women running for political office or political activists are abandoning their own websites or leaving social media platforms due to fear of harassment and violence. This because, digitalisation has opened up new ways of exercising violence against politically active women. Some of these women leave politics altogether.

Women in our partner organisations testify of a tough climate and how they think both once and twice before publishing anything on their social media channels not to attract unnecessary attention, including threats and violence. In other words, women who are often already neglected, in the countries where Operation 1325 supports activities, risk even greater backlash when they spread their important message about the importance of women’s rights and that their voice counts as much as anyone else’s.

The conclusion is clear: digital violence silences women’s voices and robs them of the opportunities that digitalisation provides.

It is unacceptable that women are penalised for their engagement with the risk that they withdraw and do not take advantage of the widespread opportunities that social media provides. Not only to make their voices heard, but also to meet like-minded people and be strengthened in their beliefs, receive encouragement and meet new friends around the world.

To prevent girls and women from falling behind the rapidly advancing development, it is important to work with preventive measures against digital violence.

We as an organisation can help by creating networks where girls and women can share their experiences and support each other. This should not be seen as a normalisation of violence or that it is the victims’ responsibility to prevent it from happening. The responsibility always lies with the perpetrator. And the responsibility to fulfil the rights of victims and create safe spaces lies with the social media companies that provide the service and with the politicians who create policies and make laws regarding digital use. And those tasked with enforcing these laws.

You as an individual can also help, by being an ally. Both by speaking out publicly when you witness digital attacks, for example in comments on posts. You can also be an ally by talking about it and raising the issue. You can find more information here: