Hate proliferates online with profound, measurable effects on women and other vulnerable groups. Amnesty International found that an abusive tweet is sent to a woman on Twitter every 30 seconds, including threats of murder, rape, and the use of misogynistic slurs.
LEAF intervened in a key Supreme Court decision concerning voyeurism, emphasizing the gendered nature of the crime. We are advocating for government regulations to address online hate speech and technology-facilitated violence (TFV) more generally.
Learn more about TFV and LEAF’s TFV Project below.
What is Technology-Facilitated Violence?
The proliferation of technology has changed our society in both positive and troubling ways. Among the more pernicious consequences is men’s use of technology to engage in manipulation, control, and sexual violence against women and gender-diverse people, and the proliferation of all forms of misogyny and gender-based violence online.
Technology is changing the landscape for women and gender diverse people’s safety from violence and is being used to undermine gender equality rights. While the abuse, control, and sexual exploitation of women and gender-diverse people is not new, new technologies (and the different platforms on which information can be tracked and shared) have created new and dangerous (and too often anonymized) ways to commit these acts. This is a significant problem; if we fall behind in regulating technology, we risk seeing the many (though insufficient) legal gains made to eliminate gender-based violence lost to technological changes that are seemingly difficult to contain, once adopted.
LEAF is concerned with the proliferation of misogyny and gender-based violence that facilitated through technology. In particular, we are troubled by how technology is being used to manipulate, control, and disseminate sexual violence against women and gender-diverse people. This growing problem requires a principled feminist response. That’s why LEAF is working on conducting research on technology-facilitated violence (TFV) against women, girls, and gender-diverse people to support and inform our law reform efforts and potential upcoming interventions concerning TFV.
What is LEAF’s TFV Project?
LEAF’s TFV project is bringing together feminist lawyers and academics to conduct research and prepare a report imagining legal responses to technology-facilitated violence against women and gender-diverse people that are informed by equality principles.
LEAF’s TFV Advisory Committee members are (in alphabetical order):
Moira Aikenhead, Jane Bailey, Suzie Dunn, Pam Hrick, Nathalie Léger, Raine Liliefeldt, Molly Reynolds, Hadiya Roderique, and Karen Segal.
The Chair of the Committee is Rosel Kim.
In addition, Cynthia Khoo worked with LEAF as the TFV Researcher to author “Deplatforming Misogyny” – a report on platform liability for technology-facilitated gender-based violence. This report will support and inform our law reform efforts and potential upcoming interventions concerning TFV.
How Can I Learn More?
To learn more about TFV, take a look at the following resources:
- “Deplatforming Misogyny” by Cynthia Khoo, and related media coverage
- A virtual conversation on TFV with Cynthia Khoo, Emily Laidlaw, and Molly Reynolds, moderated by Rosel Kim
- “Tech-Facilitated Violence: The elements and impact of online gender-based hatred and oppression” by Nicole Biros-Bolton
- LEAF’s intervention in R. v. Jarvis, a Supreme Court of Canada case on voyeurism
LEAF acknowledges the support of:
The Canadian Bar Association’s Law for the Future Fund
The Pilot Fund for Gender Equality, which is supported by a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, with support from the Government of Canada
The J. Armand Bombardier Foundation