A Rapidly Shifting Landscape: Why Digitized Violence is the Newest Category of Gender-Based Violence

31 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2023

Date Written: November 29, 2023


This paper proposes that new research on technology-facilitated violence must shape lawmaking on gender-based violence against women. Given the AI revolution, including large language models (“LLMs”), and generative artificial intelligence, new technologies continue to create power disparities that help facilitate gender-based violence both online and offline. The paper argues that the veil of anonymity provided by the digital realm facilitates violence; and the automation capabilities offered by technology amplify the scope and impact of abusive behavior. Although the direct physical act of sexual violence is different in offline violence, there are similarities. Firstly, both acts share the structural gender and intersectional inequities that lie at the root of such conduct. Secondly, the defense that women and girls are free to exercise the option to leave an abusive online environment denies women’s and girls’ free exercise of rights to assembly and expression in the online public square. In the final analysis, although not all isolated acts of online violence meet a legal threshold, we need to see these acts as a part of a continuum of offline violence that call for new forms of discourse and a dynamic application of international women’s human rights norms into evolving categories of violence.

Keywords: Gender-based violence, artificial intelligence, violence against women, technology-facilitated gender-based violence, generative AI

Suggested Citation

de Silva, Rangita, A Rapidly Shifting Landscape: Why Digitized Violence is the Newest Category of Gender-Based Violence (November 29, 2023). SciencesPo Law Review, forthcoming, U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 23-43, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4648409

Rangita De Silva (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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