January 25, 2021

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – Elle Cætera & ESET look at the impact of digital tools on violence against women

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – Elle Cætera & ESET look at the impact of digital tools on violence against women

  • An innovative digital tool created to combat violence against women: Lilabot
  • Confinement and violence against women, what are the findings?
  • Three simple gestures to protect one’s privacy
  • Educate ourselves on the right attitude to adopt to protect ourselves from the dangers of the Internet.


Violence against women and digital tools, what are the realities?

EC: In 2019, it is estimated that 225,000 women were victims of physical and/or sexual violence by their spouse or ex-spouse.

However, 4 out of 5 victims say they have not filed a complaint and more than 50% of victims have not taken any action with a professional or association.

Young women are not spared from violence. But they also form the majority of those who suffer other forms of violence, such as cyber violence.

The impact of digital tools on violence against women

EC: The tools and digital spaces are easily accessible for aggressors. They allow them to ensure control and domination, particularly through spyware. Social networks, and the Internet in general, make it possible to conceal the identity of aggressors, which encourages cyber-violence (cyber-harassment, cyber-sexism, cyber-surveillance…) and the online publication of hateful content.

ESET: In order to protect one’s digital identity and preserve privacy, it is essential to limit unauthorized access. To begin with, you should choose a strong and different password for each account. While this may seem complex to manage on a daily basis, fortunately there is a very simple and practical tool: the password manager. Free or paying, this companion is a real digital safe. Secure and easy to use, it remembers your passwords and enters them for you when you log in.

In the case of cyberstalking, serious platforms have reporting mechanisms, allowing you to limit both the impact and the actions of the attacker.

EC: Nevertheless, Elle Caetera considers that these tools and digital spaces can also be a great lever to mobilize and inform oneself in the face of violence. The #metoo movement has been a demonstration of this, as it has been widely relayed on social networks, notably on Facebook, and has enabled women to free their voices.

But unfortunately, this is not enough, because all the women who have denounced sexist and/or sexual violence on social networks have not necessarily had the courage to file a complaint or to speak to a professional. Fear, guilt, but also the lack of knowledge of the main associations that help victims are all reasons that prevent women from pushing the doors of a police station or an association. The associations rarely use digital tools: the Internet represents only 7% of the methods of referral to specialized structures.

An innovative digital tool to combat violence against women: Lilabot

Based on all these observations, Elle Cætera wanted to create a tool that could become a real intermediary between specialized associations and victims. A tool that facilitates the information and orientation of women who have suffered violence.

Elle Cætera thus created Lilabot: the first Facebook Messenger chatbot for women victims of violence.

Available 24/7, Lilabot is accessible:

  • Via the Facebook page of the association Elle Caetera
  • Via the Messenger application by typing “Elle Caetera” in the search bar.
  • Via the website of the association

After a short conversation of about 3 minutes, the chatbot will be able to:

  • Identify the offence of which the young woman seems to be a victim.
  • Explain the offence in understandable (non-legal) terms.
  • To direct her to the structure adapted to her situation (the closest to her home)

Through this initiative, Elle Cætera wishes to encourage women to go to the associations to receive legal, psychological and/or social support and, correlatively, to file a complaint.

Confinement and violence against women, what are the findings?

EC: During the period of confinement, the associations have seen an increase in intra-family violence but also cyber-violence against women – especially young women – with the appearance of “FISHA” accounts consisting of “posting” young girls deemed “easy” by publishing photos of them naked without their consent.

Sexual advantages to the webcam, “FISHA” accounts or “revenge porn” (intimate images disseminated by the ex-boyfriend for revenge) have thus flourished during confinement. This is explained in

particular by the fact that the young people, having lived through a period of boredom, were overexposed to the Internet on their smartphone, often alone in their room.

ESET: Between the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, the “spyware” category on Android jumped by a third (link ESET report). This software, often offered with the legitimate purpose of monitoring children or consenting persons, is diverted from its primary use and is used to spy on a spouse or relationship. Due to the large number of detections, we have classified these software programs in a specific category, in order to allow their identification in a clearer way. The vast majority of these are identified in this way by security solutions. This is why we recommend that you protect your smartphone, even if it is a free version (Google play ESET link).

Three simple steps to protect your privacy?


1/ Think of your smartphone as a computer, a powerful tool containing a lot of personal information. Fingerprint unlocking is to be preferred, as well as the installation of a security suite. Also think about updating both your phone and the applications installed on it. If in doubt, consult an IT professional to identify any undesirable applications.

2/ By using a password manager, you can disconnect accounts after consultation. This will limit unauthorized access.

3/ Remember to regularly check the privacy settings of your social networks. Some publications may be public or accessible beyond the private circle.


EC: Despite the negative image that can be conveyed by social networks, Elle Cætera believes that this channel can become a saving tool in the fight against such violence.

Attitudes are changing; it is our responsibility to ensure that new technologies in general, and social networks in particular, are now at the service of victims and not stalkers.

ESET: We are all cyber-citizens, especially since digital technology is taking up more and more space in our lives. In the same way that we learn to walk or drive, we need to learn the right attitude to adopt to protect ourselves from the dangers of the Internet. This includes education and the adoption of basic good digital hygiene practices. Without being a computer expert, we can protect our digital lives and keep harassers at bay.

About Elle Cætera:

Elle Cætera uses the possibilities offered by digital and new technologies to facilitate the care and support of women who have suffered violence.

Elle Cætera has notably created Lilabot: the first Facebook Messenger chatbot able to inform, reassure and guide women victims of all forms of violence.

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