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About this learning activity & Mechanics


This activity takes the participants through a case study of an incident of online gender-based violence, and gets them to discuss the different aspects of the case study.

Learning objectives this activity responds to

  • An understanding of the forms of online gender-based violence (online GBV) and its impacts on the survivors and their communities.
  • An understanding of the continuum of violence between the offline and the online spheres, and the power structures that allow it.
  • Ideas, strategies and actions about the ways in which online GBV, especially in their contexts, can be addressed.

An important note, while this session will touch upon ideas for response, the main purpose of this activity will be to unpack an example of an online GBV incident.

Care Note: Unpacking a case study of an online GBV incident might cause participants distress.

This is not an activity to do when you do not know your participants and / or if you have not previously gained trust from the group.

In order to do this more responsibly, it is important that you are aware of the experiences of violence that your participants have (see more here: ­Get to know your participants), and to be observant as you run this activity about how the participants are reacting.

Encourage your participants to raise their hands if they need a break from the activity.

Knowing and having some experience in some debriefing exercises such as those found in the Capacitar Emergency Kit would be useful.

Who is this activity for?

This activity can be used with participants with different levels of experience in women's rights and technology.

Depending on the level of experience of the participants on the various aspects on relating to online GBV, the trainer / facilitator will need to prepare to intervene to clarify concepts around social media, the internet, and even national laws.

Time required

About 2 hours per case study

Resources needed for this activity

  • Flip chart paper/whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Index cards to write down different aspects of the case study that need to be stressed.

Alternatively, you can prepare slides with the case studies and the questions.


You begin by describing the incident to be deconstructed, writing down the following details on individual index cards and posting them on a wall (or if you have prepared a presentation, these could be the bullet points in your slides):

  • Name of the survivor + gender + social class + race + educational attainment + any other identity markers
  • Country where the survivor is from + if there are laws that could protect them
  • The initial incident of online violence , in which platform did this happen
  • Where the incident happened , in which platform did it start
  • If you can, name of the initial aggressor/s + some details, if it's important in the case study
  • If the aggressor/s cannot be named, write down some details about them: their online handles, etc.
  • Relationship between the survivor and aggressor, if any

Then open it up for discussion by asking the participants the following questions:

  • Who else should be responsible here aside from the perpetrator?
  • Who is the community around the survivor? How do you think they could have responded?
  • What are the survivor's possible responses to the situation?
  • How do you think this incident affected them? (impact)

Write down the responses on individual index cards and post them on the wall.

Then divulge more details of the case study, marking details that the participants have already guessed and writing down more details on individual index cards:

  • How did the case escalate? In which spaces was the violence replicated?
  • How did the case spill into the survivor's life outside online spaces?
  • How did the community respond?
  • What other spaces reinforced the initial incident of violence?
  • Who else got involved?

Then open the discussion up again by asking the following questions:

  • What recourse does the survivor have?
  • What laws can protect them in their country?
  • What other impact will this have on the survivor based on where they are from, what they do, what social class they belong to, what country they are in?
  • What should happen to the initial aggressor/s? Who can make that happen?
  • What should happen to the other aggressor/s, including the ones that extended and escalated the incident?
  • What is the responsibility of those who own and run the platform where the incident happened?
  • Who else is responsible in this scenario? What is their responsibility?
  • How could the women's rights movements respond to this?

Write down the responses of the participants to each question on individual index cards and post them on the wall.

At the end of this, there will be a gallery on the wall that shows the different aspects to the case study of online GBV.

To synthesise, reinforce the following:

  • The connection and continuum between online and offline violence.
  • The complexity on online GBV: the varied stakeholders, both negative and positive.
  • The systems and structures that facilitate online GBV as well as those that might be avenues for redress and mitigation.

Facilitator preparation notes

In order to create a relevant case study that will encourage discussion and understanding of the complexity of online gender-based violence, the case study needs to resonate with the participants, which requires knowing where they are coming from and what their concerns are [Note: There is a section here about Getting to Know Your Participants.]

The Sample Case Study below would be useful in articulating the case study that you will share in this session. It outlines the Initial Presentation and the Escalation of the example to be deconstructed.

If you want to to create your own case study:

  • flesh out the survivor, where they are coming from, their contexts
  • be clear about where the incident happened first and how it escalated
  • think about the impact of the incident: offline / online; on the individual, their community / family / friends; on their well-being, digital security, physical security
  • try to describe the perpetrator/s´ actions but not their motivations
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