Technology Assisted Violence against women in Kenya: Has the law protected women?

Despite the improvements in the policy and legislative frameworks, recent statistics show that the trend of TAVAW continues not just in Kenya but globally

By Eunice Muiku Mwaura

As a build up to the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations, KU-WEE Hub organized a webinar linked to this year’s theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. The webinar held on 7th March 2023 was graced by Ms. Elsy Saina, the Executive Director at the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya). During the webinar, Ms. Saina presented the results of a study that ICJ Kenya undertook in order to assess the scope and manifestations of technology-assisted violence against women (TAVAW) in Kenya and to examine the relevant legal safeguards and remedies.

The most common TAVAW in Kenya, according to Ms. Saina, are cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online harassment, trolling, hacking, spying, impersonation, denigration, malicious dissemination, and, in the case of minors, grooming. The most prevalent sorts of instances mentioned by respondents were receiving hostile communication and disseminating humiliating content on social media profiles. The study also found that while many platforms through which TAVAW occurs (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) have policy guidelines that regulate conduct and allow for reporting, there is still more that needs to be done. In some platforms, reporting and complaints handling mechanisms remain weak. These accountability challenges are exacerbated by limited transparency with regards to the statistics of the number of complaints made through the platforms.

Based on the findings of the study, Ms. Saina noted that ICJ Kenya advised that in order to combat online violence against women, it is essential to recognize TAVAW, admit that women are disproportionately vulnerable to it, and recognize that women experience it at a higher rate than males do. To stop TAVAW, efforts should be made to enhance institutional frameworks, governmental directives and regulations, compliance and enforcement procedures, and public awareness and education campaigns. However, despite the improvements in the policy and legislative frameworks, Ms. Saina observed that unfortunately recent statistics show that the trend of TAVAW continues not just in Kenya but globally. A lot more therefore needs to be done.

Preliminary findings of our study on Gender Based Violence can be accessed HERE


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