Women Fight Abuse: CHAYN's New DIY Online Security Guide

Women Fight Abuse: CHAYN's New DIY Online Security Guide

Yes, we are all guilty of it. We spend most of our life online, constantly checking our various devices, social media channels, but do you ever stop to wonder how safe you are? Where you've saved passwords? Who might have access to your online accounts? 

Well, CHAYN’s being the productive powerhouse that we love has now launched a DIY Online Security Guide. As a non-profit organisation empowering women through tech, CHAYN realised the need and importance of online safety particularly for women.

We often hear of celebrity cases where our favourite female figures are being hacked and suffering online abuse, however although this has been well documented, Sam Carroll (Project Lead for CHAYN's DIY Online Security) has found "a disturbing use of online tools for perpetrators of abuse to control, coerce and manipulate women, especially in incidents of domestic violence." As the solution in today's world can't be to totally abandon our online presence, and there's currently no completely fool proof way to be off grid or fight harassment, CHAYN has developed a DIY Online Security guide.

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In their project, Tech vs. Abuse, CHAYN found that social media and the internet offer the possibility to connect with other survivors using digital spaces such as Facebook private groups, though they also face the possibility of being discovered by their abuser. CHAYN also discovered that 45% of women who took part in their research, attempted to ‘stay safe’ by using the privacy settings, clearing browser history, using incognito pages and not disclosing personal information. The rest of the women found their own strategies to stay safe such as ‘only accepting friend requests from trustworthy people’ and ‘changing passwords for emails and social media’, but they didn't feel fully protected and safe using these approaches. 

Below are a few examples of women who have found the internet a not so safe space.

“I accidentally ended up in the background in a photo that went viral. My ex saw the photo, figured out what city I lived in, from there it was pretty easy to find me. Soon I received anonymous envelopes in the mail with pictures of acid victims and the word ‘SOON’ scribbled. My workplace received ‘This woman is a whore!’, ‘This woman is an animal abuser!’, ‘This woman has had 5 abortions!’ messages. All lies, but made me quit the job and leave the city.”

“Location services and automatic syncing of Google location, contacts, and my phone in general caused a problem. Turning off all location settings is nearly impossible on smartphones. My phone once merged my Google account with my abusers giving him access to everywhere I had been on Google maps!!!”

As part of their crucial work to keep women safe online CHAYN recently announced their partnership with UK SAYS NO MORE, the nationwide campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault facilitated by Hestia.

“We are delighted to have CHAYN on board as a partner to UK SAYS NO MORE. In CHAYN we see the commonly shared goal to bring about an end to abuse in all its forms, which includes the online sphere. We are only too aware of the dangers posed by technological advances, especially through the advent of location based apps and tracking facilities, and we believe that their easy to follow, DIY online security guide brings us a step closer to online safety” said Pamela Zaballa, Head of Policy - Women & Children’s Services at Hestia. “It is only by working together to tackle the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault that we can bring an end to these abhorrent crimes”.

The extensive project was undertaken by more than 40 volunteers, across 15 countries who over an 18 month period analysed every popular digital platform in existence, assessing ways in which a person can keep themselves safe. The guide will be available in English, Urdu, Pashto, Farsi, Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic languages with further languages to follow. Given the guide’s enormity, CHAYN have created a base version for those who may want a quick fix. To keep you company while reading the guide is the CHAYN Securikitty to bring some much needed comic relief from the technical and serious subject matter. This need was discovered in the alpha stage where readers were not completing the reading of the guide but when cats were added to it, there was a sharp increase in engagement.


The CHAYN DIY Online Security Guide - Download it here: http://chayn.co/safety



CHAYN is a global award-winning network of volunteers that produce simple crowdsourced resources (such as websites, toolkits & interactive web applications) using technology to empower women experience violence and abuse. Our methodology is 'design with, not for' as 70% of our volunteers are survivors of abuse who manage the total product cycle from ideation to project management and design.

For further information: http://chayn.co/

Contact: Paula Renzel, +44 7754 377448, team@chayn.co



Facilitated by Hestia – the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign involves a broad coalition of advocacy and service organisations, leading corporations, media companies and major advertising, branding, and design firms. The UK SAYS NO MORE campaign promotes the use of a new national symbol to express support for ending domestic violence and sexual assault in our society. The UK SAYS NO MORE signature pin, worn and displayed by influencers, people working in the field of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and members of the general public, will raise visibility, create awareness, encourage conversation, and help break the social stigma surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. You can find UK SAYS NO MORE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram



We are a charity working with adults and children in crisis, to bring about positive changes in their lives at a time when they need it most.  We use almost 50 years of experience to support around 9,000 adults and children across London each year. We try to help anyone who needs us, whatever their circumstances. Across our broad range of services we help people find a permanent home, manage their finances, take care of their health, and access work, training or education, as well as providing emotional and practical support to help people succeed in their daily lives. We believe in empowering adults and children to have a voice in the choices that benefit them, their families and their local communities – to enable them to change their lives for the better, fulfil their aspirations and live the most independent, healthy and enriching lives possible. For regular updates of Hestia’s work and the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, follow Hestia on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Find out more at Hestia.org.

Contact: Abid Gangat, 020 7378 3175 or Abid.Gangat@hestia.org


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