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Imagine waking up to a stranger --
sometimes multiple strangers --
questioning your right to existence
for something that you wrote online,
waking up to an angry message,
scared and worried for your safety.
Welcome to the world of cyberharassment.
The kind of harassment that women face in Pakistan is very serious
and leads to sometimes deadly outcomes.
This kind of harassment keeps women from accessing the internet --
essentially, knowledge.
It's a form of oppression.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world,
with 140 million people having access to mobile technologies,
and 15 percent internet penetration.
And this number doesn't seem to go down with the rise of new technologies.
Pakistan is also the birthplace of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner,
Malala Yousafzai.
But that's just one aspect of Pakistan.
Another aspect is where the twisted concept of honor
is linked to women and their bodies;
where men are allowed to disrespect women
and even kill them sometimes
in the name of so-called "family honor";
where women are left to die right outside their houses
for speaking to a man on a mobile phone,
in the name of "family honor."
Let me say this very clearly:
it's not honor;
it's a cold-blooded murder.
I come from a very small village in Punjab, Pakistan,
where women are not allowed to pursue their higher education.
The elders of my extended family didn't allow their women
to pursue their higher education or their professional careers.
However, unlike the other male guardians of my family,
my father was one who really supported my ambitions.
To get my law degree,
of course, it was really difficult,
and [there were] frowns of disapproval.
But in the end, I knew it's either me or them,
and I chose myself.
My family's traditions and expectations for a woman
wouldn't allow me to own a mobile phone until I was married.
And even when I was married,
this tool became a tool for my own surveillance.
When I resisted this idea of being surveilled by my ex-husband,
he really didn't approve of this
and threw me out of his house,
along with my six-month-old son, Abdullah.
And that was the time when I first asked myself, "Why?
Why are women not allowed to enjoy the same equal rights
enshrined in our Constitution?
While the law states that a woman has the same equal access
to the information,
why is it always men -- brothers, fathers and husbands --
who are granting these rights to us,
effectively making the law irrelevant?"
So I decided to take a step,
instead of keep questioning these patriarchal structures
and societal norms.
And I founded the Digital Rights Foundation in 2012
to address all the issues and women's experiences in online spaces
and cyberharassment.
From lobbying for free and safe internet
to convincing young women
that access to the safe internet is their fundamental, basic, human right,
I'm trying to play my part in igniting the spark
to address the questions that have bothered me all these years.
With a hope in my heart,
and to offer a solution to this menace,
I started Pakistan's and the region's first cyberharassment help line
in December 2016 --
to extend my support to the women who do not know who to turn to
when they face serious threats online.
I think of the women who do not have the necessary support
to deal with the mental trauma when they feel unsafe in online spaces,
and they go about their daily activities,
thinking that there is a rape threat in their in-box.
Safe access to the internet is an access to knowledge,
and knowledge is freedom.
When I fight for women's digital rights,
I'm fighting for equality.
Thank you.
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【TED】Nighat Dad: How Pakistani women are taking the internet back (How Pakistani women are taking the internet back | Nighat Dad)

353 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on June 8, 2018
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