Saturday, 4 June 2016

EgaFem Evaluation – UN Cyberviolence Report Pt.2

Author: Blaise Wilson

Articles in this Series:

Evaluation Criteria:
UN Cyberviolence Report pt.1:
UN Cyberviolence Report pt 2: This article

This is a continuation of my analysis of the UN Cyber Violence report.

Link arguments to solutions, and solutions to wider context, including implications

Solutions are meant to be derived after looking at the problem. Through discussing wider impacts, the trade-offs and how well the solution might meet the goals a solution can be analysed.

In this report, solutions were stated without any links to the problem. No wider discussion on impacts (e.g. on freedom of speech). No talk of how it might reduce VAWG. No discussion on other problems that might arise - such as how the solution might be abused. Nothing.

The biggest worry is the solutions were stated in the objectives of the report on pages 10-11, stating that sensitization, safeguards and sanctions are the solutions.

Here are some example:

  • “The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and centre of those in charge of producing and providing the content, technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.” [p2]
  • “Sensitization to cyber VAWG must include education the next generation of ICT users, both boys and girls, through their parents, teachers and wider communities, as well as police authorities and the justice systems,” [p3] including “education programs targeting primary-age children” [p8]
  • "the public needs to recognize [cyber violence] and address it as a priority issue.” [p3]
  • Some countries have forced electronic service providers to identify individuals on request of a court order. This means capturing, saving and managing to identify individuals [p35]
  • Website should authenticate users or attribute their content and keep records in order to be able to hand this information over to the authorise on demand [p40-41]
  • Reporting of online threats should be appropriate, because at the moment local law enforcement do not have the power to act. The police officer they send will most likely be MALE! And they will most likely take notes using a pen and paper!! [p32] How terrible!
  • "Rigorous oversight and enforcement of rules banning cyber VAWG on the Internet is going to be a [pre-request] if it is to become a safe, respectful and empowering space for women and girls, and by extension, for boys and men.” [p2] – including the implementation of laws [p3]
  • “Companies need to explicitly recognise VAWG as unlawful” [p34] – gender neutral laws are not good enough.
  • The UN should “build Internet protocols and regulations to assure transparency, objectivity and the identification of illegal activities, including cyber VAWG.” [p40] includes a crack-down on social media to stop “campaigns of harassment, intimidation, humiliation and emotional distress and terror against targeted individuals” [p40]
So the solutions are:
  • Indoctrination, especially aimed at children
  • Priorities cyber –VAWG over other issues
  • Monitor and censor the whole of the internet, allowing for perpetrators to be reported to the authorities
  • Gender specific laws, set out by the UN and enforced by governments, to stop emotional distress.
And none of these solutions have been discussed either in isolation or as are a set… ummmm… you know whose internet we really want? China’s.

Mark: 3/10

Have a discussion

A discussion should talk about the report’s methodology and data. It should bring all the data together and analyse it as a whole. It is a great place to discuss the solutions as a whole, rather than in isolation.

However, this report has no discussion. It does not talk about the evidence used, or its possible bias, or if the objectives were suitable. It doesn’t consider the totalitarian implications of the solutions or their impacts on the problems they are trying to solve.

It doesn’t discuss how appropriate the solutions are to which parts of the world. When suggestions are brought over from general (non-cyber) VAWG there is no discussion on the suitability of using it for a virtual space.

Statements like “violence prevention works” [p28] – really? All of it? Is some better than others? Is some more suitable to certain applications e.g. cyber space?

There is no analysis of who the perpetrators are. It talks about victim-blaming and how it needs to stop – but doesn’t discuss what happens if a women says something stupid and/or inflammatory that provokes such an ‘attack’.

Some of the example solutions on pages 29-20 target men as the aggressors. Where is the discussion on the implications of this?

How do the solutions impact women? For example “Take back the Tech” [p30] holds witnesses and bystanders accountable. Many other solutions hold internet and contents provides responsible – but holding the victim responsible for their own safety online is ‘victim blaming’. The only role “that the individual must play [is] in self-regulating, not perpetuating negative gender norms and practices by sharing, watching and listening and by holding media and contend providers to account.” [p31-32]. Individuals must self-censor and then force that on others.

There is no discussion of current solutions such as block buttons, how to report harassment, safe searches (e.g. google safe search), restricted access (e.g. age limits), or privacy settings. Are these appropriate solutions and if not, why not?

The best bit of discussion the report manages is the need for “balancing safety of women from violence on the one hand and freedom of expression on the other hand” [p45]. And that was the limit of the discussion.

Mark: 0/10

Draw appropriate, supported conclusions

“We are faced with two priorities that require immediate attention: eliminating cyber abuse and violence against women and reproduction online of offline harmful gender based practices; and the use of technology to combat multiple forms of violence against women and as vehicles for systemic change.” [p47] (emphasis mine)

Firstly, I count FOUR issues in that statement. Secondly – were was this established in the report?

A conclusion should summaries the report. You should be able to read the introduction and conclusion (skipping the main body) and know what the goals were and what solutions are suggested to address them.

The conclusion should NOT contain any new information and should link to the aim of the report. This fails on both accounts.
  • “Now that cyber-touch is recognized as equally as harmful as a physical touch” [p48]… where was this established in the main report, did I miss something? And what the hell is ‘cyber-touch’? It might have been hinted at, but a full blown conclusion?
  • "Recent research on how violent video games are turning children, mostly boys, into ‘killing zombies’ are also a part of mainstreaming violence.” [p48] this is a new topic, with new evidence not covered in the main body of the report.
  • “While the presentation and analysis of this research is beyond the scope of this paper” [p48] -
    then why did you mention it in the conclusion?!
  • “An ‘open-source’ approach to changing behaviours is needed with the help of an enlightened networked society.” [p48] – Where the hell did that come from? What does it mean?
On the plus side – it had a conclusion. I had finished reading!

Where the conclusion did link to the main body it used completely different language, e.g. using ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, making it difficult to link the subjects.

Because the aims of the report were so vague, the conclusions were not linked to them. Thus the conclusions did not answer the stated premise of the report.

Mark: 4/10

Be concise, logical and be clearly laid out

In PDF form on my laptop, it looks soooo pretty. I get the impression a lot more time and effort was spent on the appearance of the report than the content.

Unfortunately for them, the first thing I did was shove it on my Kindle Touch. Which stripped away all the pretty pictures and made elements of it unreadable. The conclusion section had sentences starting in one line and finishing within another paragraph! It worked much better when I tested it on my Kindle Fire.

I had to read this report twice. Yes, TWICE I put myself through this! Even reading the pretty format on my screen I had to re-read several paragraphs multiple times. I even had to get my partner to read some because I wasn’t sure if it was me or the report!

This report rambles, has paragraphs trying to make too many points at once, is illogical and jumps about from topic to topic – often mid paragraph!

For example on page 22, a paragraph talks about ‘revenge porn’ then goes straight into ‘sexting.’ The next paragraph talk about victim blaming, then turns to pimps violating laws with impunity, only to then discuss mainstreaming of pornography before finishing with “the anonymity of the webs can also be used as an advantage to combat cyber VAWG” on page 23.

Part 3 seems to most disjointed, and happens to contain the most feminist language – it’s possible those two points are unrelated. Part 4 uses a lot of questions, a complete shift in style.

Being concise, logical and clearly laid out should be the easiest section to get marks in. And they failed dramatically.

The Executive Summary doesn’t match the report, and nor does the conclusion. The language and tone are all over the place. Sections do not flow through and it is clear parts were written in isolation to each other.

It felt rushed, with no effort put in to make sure it made sense. And seriously, this had three editing teams. THREE?!

Mark: 5 /10


This report was actually painful to read. About 80% of the paragraphs had at least one thing wrong with it, often suffering from multiple issues. I physically yelled at it a few times, but it continued to be obnoxious, odious and spread down right misogynistic lies. That’s right. This report is misogynistic.

Take page 19 for example. Here it demonstrates its clear contempt for women nicely in one page.

It points out women’s feelings are more important than facts, “on the whole women feel safer with a mobile phone” – with no discussion of if they actually are safer or if having a mobile phone makes them more likely to be targeted to steal the phone!

Then makes it clear that women have no agency of their own because they don’t have “access and ability to pay for services and features used, [or have] intra-household decision-making.”

Women are so fearful and pathetic it stops them from going onto the internet or using applications. And women are incapable of understanding sophisticated technology on their own. They can’t empower themselves because they don’t know how, and must be taught.

They feel they have nowhere to go, because no one will believe them. Because women don’t trust authorities and fear they may be held accountable for contributing to their situation.

Yet, naturally men don’t suffer from any of these issues and are naturally born with the ability to use sophisticated technology, have full access and can deal with any issues that arise.

For a report that tries to “take all appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women” [p27] – yet it does a really good job of making women sound pretty inept.


Propaganda is defined as a bias report with an agenda.

The lack of evidence, counter-points, or discussion coupled with the use of appeal to emotion to push extreme totalitarian solutions place this report deeply in the realm of propaganda.

The context is not discussed, with the implications on wider topics such a freedom of speech being mentioned then glossed over. It over simplifies cause and effect by using assumptions of causation. It tries to include everything to give the impression of looking a wide view but fails to make any decent points.

The reports biggest crime was to presume solutions without discussion or analysis. And it did this in its very objectives. If this isn’t enough to prove this report is hugely biased and had an agenda I’m not sure what better evidence would look like.


Max Mark
Have clear aims and boundary
Have clearly defined consistent terms, tone and use of language
Providing evidence
Avoiding logical fallacies
Link main premise to wider topics and context
Providing a counter-argument to premise and explore alternative views
Linking arguments and solutions to wider context, including implications
Have a discussion
Draw appropriate, supported conclusions
Be concise, logical and be clearly laid out


In conclusion, this report received a measly mark of 31% and is deemed an epic piece of propaganda. If they ever do a rewrite, I hope they learn from these points.

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