Welcome to the first in a series of seven mini-editions we’re putting together to highlight the project End violence: Women’s rights and safety online. Each edition focuses on one country in which the research was conducted, and brings together articles, major findings, and interviews with the research teams.

In this edition we look at Pakistan, where religious and cultural controls over women intersect with technology, language barriers prevent intermediaries from addressing abuse, and justice has a slippery meaning. Using the voices and stories of three women survivors and research led by human rights organisation Bytes for All, this edition explores various facets of technology-related violence against women in Pakistan.

Of cultural controls and gender inequality: Talking about technology-related violence against women in Pakistan

Pakistan was one of seven countries covered by APC’s research project “End violence: Women's rights and safety online”. The research in Pakistan was done in association with Bytes for All, a human rights organisation that focuses on ICTs. Here, GenderIT.org speaks to the manager of advocacy and outreach at Bytes for All, Furhan Hussain, to bring us a closer look into the research findings.


How doing the research became a game-changer for me

It is an honour for me to introduce this edition of GenderIT.org. This particular issue brings together articles on some of the most important aspects of technology-driven violence against women, hitherto not well understood by the general public, governments or institutions. Much of the material in this issue draws on extensive research conducted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and its seven partners. In my capacity as one of the partners and researchers on the ground in Pakistan, I am witness to the groundbreaking nature of this research and its powerful impact in my country. The most significant impact lay in the real-life stories, the real-life tragedies, and the on-ground realities. The research was case study-based. The women were real women – human beings, with social and political contexts, the stories of violence they experienced, and their attempts at judicial remedy. They were not numbers or statistics – here lay the impact.