ISLAMABAD - Speakers at a panel discussion urged the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to come up with a policy to control increasing trend of cybercrime against women in the higher education institutions suggesting to make cyber harassment a part of the Harassment Act.

To highlight violence faced by women especially young girls due to negative use of social media, Gender Equity Program (GEP) of Aurat Foundation supported by USAID organised the discussion titled 'Social Media: New Dimension of Violence against Women'. The event was organised to commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. A large number of students from public and private universities participated in the discussion.

The participants were of the opinion that increasing trend of cybercrime against women immeasurably hurt young girls who face subsequent loss of personal freedom, mobility, recreation and most importantly educational and employment opportunities.

It was revealed that a large number of girls and women are victims of this kind of violence which includes harassment via email, cyber stalking, exploitation, tampering, cyber pornography, defamation, morphing, visual surveillance and tracking. Director Institute of Gender Studies, University of Sindh, Dr Misbah, urged HEC to issue directives to the university administrations for the control of rising trend of cybercrime against girls in educational institutions. 

In her talk about psycho-social impact of cybercrime against women, Mental Health Prof. Dr Khadija Tahir said that the internet is creating new ways and means for crimes to be committed against women and children.

An audio of a heart-touching story by a university student was presented who had to leave her studies and suffered extreme physical and psychological violence because a fake statement from her that appeared on a confession page created by a university boy on the Facebook.