Source: The Namibian

Sixty-five percent of Namibian social media users have experienced online abuse. The founder of the Internet Society Namibia Chapter, Nashilongo Gervasius, revealed this in a report released yesterday.

She said those who have been subjected to this abuse include women in politics and in prominent spaces such as journalists, artists, and the beauty industry.

Gervasius also said indigenous women, vulnerable and minority groups are also subjected to online abuse.

In her report titled 'Report launch – status of online violence against women in Namibia', Gervasius said 53,5% of women experience online abuse perpetrated by men, while 11,3% experienced violence perpetrated by women.

She added that Facebook was found to be the unsafest platform, while TikTok was found to be the safest.

Those who participated in the survey indicated that they felt unsafe using WhatsApp and Instagram, she said.

According to her, the respondents indicated that they were threatened with rape, body shaming, stalking, extortion, sextortion, slut shaming, harassment, threats of sexual violence, derogatory words, and violent speeches, among others.

Although the number of women abused online is high, only 49,3% have reported cyberbullying.

In her findings, Gervasius indicated that Namibia does not have specific policies and laws that protect women and girls on the internet, nor is there training for the judiciary and law enforcers on digital rights and the protection of women and girls online.

Namibia University of Science and Technology lecturer Gloria Iyawa said women should be educated about online abuse and they should be taught where to report such abuse.

Elizabeth Kamutuezu, the deputy director for information communication and technology policy and regulations in the ministry of information, said the perpetrators of online abuse should be brought to book.

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