Safety and Resilience through Digital Practices: A Participatory Study with Women at the Intersection of Gender-Based Violence and Immigration in Norway
Rahaf Mohammed, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who was subjected to domestic violence, utilized social media to make her voice heard by foreign authorities. Via this ‘digital’ call for help, she successfully escaped violence. The internationally recognized #metoo movement became active on social media enabling women victims of gender-based violence (GBV) to seek justice and healing. While these examples show how digital technologies can allow individuals to exercise their agency and communicate their voices against violence, the existing academic studies in the field of GBV have yet to discuss the empowering outcomes of digital technology use for and by victims/survivors. By addressing this gap, SaRe-DiGT aims to uncover the potentialities of digital technologies in enhancing victims'/survivors’ physical and emotional safety against violence. I particularly focus on the patterns and practices of digital technology use by immigrant women who have experiences of GBV. Considering the numerous barriers that immigrant women face while seeking safety from violence, SaRe-DiGT stresses on the instrumental use of digital technologies as a practical resource for information, communication, and mobilization to overcome violence. The project includes three phases: i) participatory focus groups, to identify and examine the opportunities enabled by digital technology use in women’s lives to navigate their ways towards safety and resilience from violence; ii) digital storytelling workshops, to co-develop resilience-promoting practices enabled by the creative use of digital technologies; and iii) website designing workshops, to co-design an online initiative as a practical digital resource to assist immigrant women in their efforts to reach safety and build resilience. In achieving these objectives, SaRe-DiGT will provide unique research-based knowledge and solutions to create transformative technology-facilitated strategies to combat violence among immigrant communities in Europe.