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The trap of social media
How girls become victims of love messages?

The trap of social media

Peregraf- Asrin Muhammad

Sakar was sitting inside the Sulaimanyah court with her mother, sadly and anxiously waiting to be called by the judge.

She is only 17; she met her boyfriend through social media, who is three years older than her. They started with love messages and now as a victim, she looks up to the court to support her.

“I loved him purely, he was always telling me that he cannot live without me, but I did not know he had another purpose and had not told me the truth,” Sakar told Peregraf.

After five months of exchanging messages on social media, what Sakar was afraid of has finally happened: her boyfriend obtained the private photos and videos of her, and he used them as a threat against Sakar.

Violence against girls and women on social media is viral. Several have been trapped by different bands and individuals as when they obtained private photos and videos, they asked for money in return so as not to publicly publish the private photos.

Kurdo Omar, the head of the General Directorate of Combating Violence against Women, explained to Peregraf that 80 percent of violence against women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq take place via social media.

According to the directorate’s statistics, in the past year, 505 different types of violence against women have been reported, which is less compared to the year 2017 as 592 cases were reported. The cases included suicide, murdering, blazing,       and self-immolation.

Sakar preferred not to remain silent. Faced with threats, she went to the court in order to get out of the trap. 

She explains that at the beginning she only exchanged messages with her boyfriend, later it changed to pictures and videos, at night she would show herself nude to her boyfriend without knowing that he would be recording all the scenes.

Ever since, the boy threatened Sakar to publish the record to the public if she did not give him money, “This was driving me crazy, I gave him money several times, finally I admitted to my mother and went to court to file a suit.”

It has been six months, the Hotline started to work, which is available 24 hours for free, especially for those facing violence and looking for help. 

Jutiar Nasir, the head of Hotline told Peregraf: “Both women and men called us looking for help, but the number of women is more.” He added: “Anyone who is in need for immediate help, the employees of Directorate of Combating Violence against Women offer help.

In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, there is a law to Combat Domestic Violence, which is used for violence cases. Also there is a law to Prevent the Misuse of Communication Devices, which can be used for the cases such as Sakar’s.

According to the articles of that law, if someone misused a communication device or the Internet for threatening, accusing, or leaking a chat, picture or message without permission, which causes damage to the honor of someone, the person might face five to six years of prison sentence, or fine from one to five million Iraqi Dinars, or one of the two sentences.

Hevar Ibrahim, the former head of Women’s Rights committee of the Kurdistan Parliament told Peregraf that the laws regarding violence against women are good however, “Executive authority do not apply the laws the way they exist.”

She also believes that Social Offices of the political parties in the Kurdistan Region are one of the main obstacles in front of the trail of women’s murders, “Solving women’s problems in a social way make a situation that the laws are not effective and women’s murderers are free.”

 In the Kurdistan Region there are some 150 organizations specialized to support and raise women’s awareness. Due to the financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region of Iran (KRG), there has been a reduction in the financial support given to them, hence many of the organizations have closed.

Hana Shwan, the head of the media department of women’s intellectual organization told Peregraf that cutting the financial support had a negative impact of decreasing their activities to raise women’s awareness to confront the violence against them.“

In the Kurdistan Region, there are four women's shelters located in Erbil, Sulaimanyah, Duhok and Garmyan to be used as hope for those women who live under threat. As for now, 875 women are living in those shelters.

“The shelters are a necessity in Kurdistan to protect women although they are also suffering from financial issues.”

Despite the difficulties and obstacles, there are many activities to reduce the rate of violence against women especially encouraging women to rely on the court.    

Sakar relies on the court to do something for her and take her out from the trouble as her loved one, once upon a time, is now in prison.

Inside the Sulaimanyah court, Sakar could not hide her grief, she was thinking about what the judge would say as she wished for the boy to be sentenced so that she is released from her anxiety.

 

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The trap of social media

2019-03-11 22:37:22

Peregraf- Asrin Muhammad

Sakar was sitting inside the Sulaimanyah court with her mother, sadly and anxiously waiting to be called by the judge.

She is only 17; she met her boyfriend through social media, who is three years older than her. They started with love messages and now as a victim, she looks up to the court to support her.

“I loved him purely, he was always telling me that he cannot live without me, but I did not know he had another purpose and had not told me the truth,” Sakar told Peregraf.

After five months of exchanging messages on social media, what Sakar was afraid of has finally happened: her boyfriend obtained the private photos and videos of her, and he used them as a threat against Sakar.

Violence against girls and women on social media is viral. Several have been trapped by different bands and individuals as when they obtained private photos and videos, they asked for money in return so as not to publicly publish the private photos.

Kurdo Omar, the head of the General Directorate of Combating Violence against Women, explained to Peregraf that 80 percent of violence against women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq take place via social media.

According to the directorate’s statistics, in the past year, 505 different types of violence against women have been reported, which is less compared to the year 2017 as 592 cases were reported. The cases included suicide, murdering, blazing,       and self-immolation.

Sakar preferred not to remain silent. Faced with threats, she went to the court in order to get out of the trap. 

She explains that at the beginning she only exchanged messages with her boyfriend, later it changed to pictures and videos, at night she would show herself nude to her boyfriend without knowing that he would be recording all the scenes.

Ever since, the boy threatened Sakar to publish the record to the public if she did not give him money, “This was driving me crazy, I gave him money several times, finally I admitted to my mother and went to court to file a suit.”

It has been six months, the Hotline started to work, which is available 24 hours for free, especially for those facing violence and looking for help. 

Jutiar Nasir, the head of Hotline told Peregraf: “Both women and men called us looking for help, but the number of women is more.” He added: “Anyone who is in need for immediate help, the employees of Directorate of Combating Violence against Women offer help.

In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, there is a law to Combat Domestic Violence, which is used for violence cases. Also there is a law to Prevent the Misuse of Communication Devices, which can be used for the cases such as Sakar’s.

According to the articles of that law, if someone misused a communication device or the Internet for threatening, accusing, or leaking a chat, picture or message without permission, which causes damage to the honor of someone, the person might face five to six years of prison sentence, or fine from one to five million Iraqi Dinars, or one of the two sentences.

Hevar Ibrahim, the former head of Women’s Rights committee of the Kurdistan Parliament told Peregraf that the laws regarding violence against women are good however, “Executive authority do not apply the laws the way they exist.”

She also believes that Social Offices of the political parties in the Kurdistan Region are one of the main obstacles in front of the trail of women’s murders, “Solving women’s problems in a social way make a situation that the laws are not effective and women’s murderers are free.”

 In the Kurdistan Region there are some 150 organizations specialized to support and raise women’s awareness. Due to the financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region of Iran (KRG), there has been a reduction in the financial support given to them, hence many of the organizations have closed.

Hana Shwan, the head of the media department of women’s intellectual organization told Peregraf that cutting the financial support had a negative impact of decreasing their activities to raise women’s awareness to confront the violence against them.“

In the Kurdistan Region, there are four women's shelters located in Erbil, Sulaimanyah, Duhok and Garmyan to be used as hope for those women who live under threat. As for now, 875 women are living in those shelters.

“The shelters are a necessity in Kurdistan to protect women although they are also suffering from financial issues.”

Despite the difficulties and obstacles, there are many activities to reduce the rate of violence against women especially encouraging women to rely on the court.    

Sakar relies on the court to do something for her and take her out from the trouble as her loved one, once upon a time, is now in prison.

Inside the Sulaimanyah court, Sakar could not hide her grief, she was thinking about what the judge would say as she wished for the boy to be sentenced so that she is released from her anxiety.