Not all online experiences are equal. Women in particular often face online harassment and abuse, turning the internet into a place of vitriol and fear. This week, the United Nations Population Fund is launching "bodyright," a campaign aimed at ending online abuse by protecting peoples' images from exploitation.
The campaign was produced by Edelman and is centered around the "bodyright" symbol, which UNFPA calls a "new 'copyright' for human bodies."
UNFPA is urging people to share images and stories with the symbol as a way to protest the non-consensual use of peoples' images online and urge policymakers to help protect peoples' images online, similar to how business assets are protected through copyright laws.
The organization also teamed up with award-winning poet Rakaya Fetuga, who has authored and performed original work on the impact of online violence and harassment.
“Relentless, borderless, and often anonymous–the online world is the new frontier for gender-based violence,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem in a press release. “It’s time for technology companies and policymakers to take digital violence seriously. Right now, corporate logos and copyrighted IP receive greater protection online than we do as human beings.”
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 85% of women with access to the internet reported witnessing online violence against other women, and 38% experienced it personally.
The launch coincides with the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, an annual campaign from the UN which runs from Nov. 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to Dec. 10 (Human Rights Day).
The campaign features two spokespeople: Olimpia Coral Melo Cruz, a survivor of revenge porn named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021, and Kanem, UNFPA’s executive director.
The UNFPA also launched a website, “The Virtual is Real,” as part of the 16 Days of Activism, featuring testimonies from victims and survivors of online harassment.