Million Women’s Rise March
Honoured to speak at Million Women Rise march last weekend. The energy in the air was indescribable. We march against male violence and patriarchy and we wear red in solidarity with survivors ❤
Below is a copy of my speech- we must challenge patriarchy and we must challenge those who do not exhibit good sisterhood
My name is Seyi Akiwowo, I founded Glitch!UK an advocacy, campaigning and training organisation that aims to end online abuse against women .
In February 2016 my life change, a video of a speech I made at the European Parliament went viral and I faced horrendous online abuse and harassment.
Online abuse is not about robust debate it’s about intentional harassment of women in order to force us to leave the online public space, to modify our behaviour and to submit patriarchy and to censor our voice.
There is an increasing number of attempts to silence women and diverse groups online through various forms abuse, ranging from but not limited to revenge porn, doxing, harassment and mob-style trolling. There was one young girl in the UK who was subjected to online abuse, body shaming and harassment because she said “I hate hummus”.
This is a glitch in our online world
This glitch is an increasing threat to democracy as women are being silenced in political discussion and expressing political beliefs.
It’s a glitch because 41% of women survey in Amnesty International recent research said they feared for their physical safety.
It’s a glitch because 3/4 of women are censoring themselves
It’s a glitch because Women’s Aid research showed 48% of Domestic Violence survivors had been harassed or abused online by their ex-partner once they had left the relationship.
38% reported online stalking.
A further 45% were abused online during their relationship.
There is a significant problem with law enforcement across the world not taking reports of violence including online violence seriously.
Online abuse is a glitch in the online world that can and must be fixed
These are glitch that can be fixed if we moblise and put pressure on governments and social media companies to protect women online.
We must lobby for transparency and better self-regulation of all social media companies
We must lobby for legal reform and legal protection
This glitch can be fixed if we all make a commitment to be a good online citizen and an active by-stander online.
To end I’d like to share something my friend and activist, Zita Holbourne said to me on International Women’s Day.
We celebrate. We reflect. We challenge
We celebrate the amazing achievement all women have made, whether that’s being the “the first” or for creating women movements and campaigns.
We reflect. As much as we celebrate we must take a moment to think of all the women that cannot celebrate yet, who are being cut, trafficked, killed, bought, sold, exploited, undermined and ignored. There are women in the borough of the 2012 Olympics who with their family of small children are living on £34 a week!
We Challenge. We challenge the institutional patriarchal and racist structure
We challenge imposter syndrome
We challenge our friends and family who need to be better allies
We call people in as well as call people out
We challenge those that do not exhibit good sisterhood – this week a woman ran a negative campaign calling out the first woman of colour mayoral candidate for not having children, we must challenge this division.
We challenge ourselves.