Pakistan’s First ‘Cyber Harassment Helpline For Women’ Launched By DRF

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Digital Right Foundation (DRF) has announced to launch Pakistan’s first cyber harassment helpline. The decision was made official on Monday, at ‘Hamara Internet- Ending Online Violence Against Women’ conference, held in Islamabad.

The service is designed to help and provide digital security and legal counselling. Further, DRF is also aiming to provide psychological counselling to the victims. The service will go live on December 1, 2016.

The founder of DRF, Nighat Dad explained that there could be different aspects of harassment, and it is not limited to physique only. She desrcibed harassment as the state where you feel uncomfortable.

“The same applies for the internet if someone is stalking you, sending unsolicited messages of comments on posts – this can convert into violence, threats or blackmail,” Nighat said.

How To Register Your Complain

If you’re a victim of online harassment or violence, dial 0800-39393 to register your complain.

As per DRF, complainant’s privacy is their top priority and they aim to provide ‘free, safe and confidential’ environment to the complainant.

“We will not be recording any calls and storing any data in order to safeguard the complainant’s right to privacy” – said Shmyla Khan, the DRF lawyer.

Online Harassment In Pakistan

Online harassment and violence is an overgrowing issue, which, due to lack of recognition and attention has become a major issue faced by thousands of women everyday.

“After the harassment law was passed the issue was recognised but how to deal with it and how it worked was not sorted. Only those sensitive to the issue can do it”.

Keeping this in this mind, DRF started this campaign and put their efforts to raise awareness among women.

“We started our campaign a year ago and the objective was to address online harassment, we went into colleges and universities across the country and spoke to students about online harassment and what to do if they were stuck in such a situation, what preventive measures they could take, online safety and privacy and settings on social media; and how to file a report,” said Nighat Dad.

In our society, discussing with parents and family regarding sexual harassment and unsolicited matters are considered as taboo, and most of the girls fear to speak about it with their family.

“When the girls learnt about these things we started getting so many calls and messages – they realised that if they couldn’t talk to family or friends about this sort of harassment they could come to us,” she said.

While praising the campaign, Anis Haroon, an activist and member of the National Commission on Human Rights said: “It’s a good facility for women because this is a group of women who are willing to support victims of harassment and they have the understanding of the issue because it is a very sensitive issues.”