Hear me too!

 JOYS K, Kenyan Safe Sister

My passion lies in creating better spaces for journalism in the digital space, particularly for journalists. I have utilized my online journalism to create a process for unveiling different practices of organized crime and sexual harassment. I have been using this place to give voice to people who are ordinarily not heard and used that power to push for policy change and accountability through the research and writings that I do. I also work with human rights organization, helping shape their communication policies and strategy for better advocacy.

What has been your personal experience in online spaces?

I’ve been a victim of offline and online bullying. To an extent that it affected my health and my mental health. I sunk into depression. I hated myself. I had no self-esteem. It was hard for me to piece together who this strong woman who has overcome a lot of odds was. And I’ve seen what bullying can do. Bullying really messed me up and it took a lot of time for me to rebuild myself to be who I am today!

What community outreach have you done?

Part of the healing process involved me taking it upon myself to be able to train women journalists and with time I incorporated men because I believe they play a very clear role in the conversations and in the promotion of digital safety and security for women.

Since 2018 I have been working to build capacity for the deaf community especially on digital safety and security. People ask why the deaf, but I feel like this community has been ignored because they don’t have any obvious physical marks over disability. In having conversations with deaf human rights defenders for the last several years, I realized what mess they were in. Most of them are victims of online harassment and had been of targeted by online scammers on either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok. In some cases, victims were deceived with advances of love and trusted the scammer with their information and property. In some cases they were lured into a physical meeting which ended in sexual assaults.

In Nakuru where I come from we have a group of female human rights the women human rights defenders who train deaf people on basic human rights, civic education, how to access basic services. The deaf community is rising there and I think that we must beautiful thing. I’ve seen them go to government offices and demand for their right to celebrate the International Deaf Awareness Week. I’ve seen them run online campaigns; some of them had hashtags #hearmetoo which meant like ‘listen to me with my disability’.

They also do their own videos showcasing human rights issues in sign language. I believe that in the next few years we will have one of the strongest groups of deaf women human rights defenders.

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