AfghanistanWomen & Human Rights

New Research: Afghan Women Face a Wave of Violence on Social Media

Sakina Adib

Bayan News – A new research study indicates that Afghan women are facing a wave of online harassment and abuse on social media, and the study suggests that increased online support for women is accompanied by a rise in online misuse.

This research, published by an organization called “Afghan Watch,” which monitors the human rights situation in Afghanistan, reveals that following the Taliban’s reestablishment of control in Afghanistan, social media platforms have become instrumental for Afghan women to express their opinions, establish networks, and launch social campaigns. These platforms enable activists and members of civil society to convey their goals to an international audience.

The organization emphasizes that social media platforms are not without risks for women and girls, as online support for Afghan women has been accompanied by misuse, harassment, and abuse, leaving negative impacts on women’s personal, social, and professional lives.

Afghan Watch’s findings demonstrate the alarming impact of online abuse on women’s online participation, affecting them in their personal, social, and professional spheres.

According to Afghan Watch, Afghan women have reported receiving direct messages containing explicit content, sexually suggestive images, and threats of sexual assault and death.

The project states that inspectors have observed how women are repeatedly targeted with obscene and derogatory narratives, and they are also accused of being “Western agents” or fabricating claims of seeking asylum outside the country.

This is the first study published in the past two years on online harassment and abuse of Afghan women and girls.

The research comes at a time when the interim Kabul government has imposed severe restrictions on women and girls, including the ban on girls’ education, restrictions on women’s employment, and limitations on their freedom of movement.

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