Day 13: Interrupt normality | Change what is seen!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Internet or cyber cafes are many people's only access to computers. For work, for fun, for school, for basic communication, these internet connectivity points receive local community members, travellers, and many youth.  Depending on their location, atmosphere and clientele, cybercafes can be extremely hostile environments towards girls and women, further limiting access. Many times desktops are littered with programmes and images downloaded from internet; the history of pages visited may reflect an array of web mail and social networking services, porn, music and gaming.

Most people customise their home pages to suit their routine, setting their webmail service, morning newspaper, or Google search as their starting point for surfing.

It's time to shake up that routine and your own, and remind everyone that violence against women is not routine or normal, and everyone has a role to play in doing something about it.

1. Change homepages!

Find a cyber café near where you live, and invite their many users to think about violence against women instead. Change the first thing they see by changing the browser homepage – the first page seen when people get online.

Set the Take Back the Tech! website: http://www.takebackthetech.net or any other page with information about VAW as the home page. Perhaps there is an important bill in the works, or a case demanding action in your country that you'd like to focus attention on.  Have users open their browser to an online quiz to help women in a new relationship recognise the early signs of violence. Or, intrigue them into movie-watching by displaying women's digital stories in Take Back the Tech's media library.

Computers may have several browsers installed, but setting the default home page is always similar.  If you're not sure how, simply do a search on “How to change my home page” and the type of browser and you'll find many step-by-step instructions, in several languages. This holds true for all of the steps we suggest below.

2. Clutter the desktop with provocative images

Download a different type of provocative image to a cybercafe computer desktop for a change. Pepper it with Take Back the Tech digital postcards, your Wordle images from Day 4, tbtt own wallpapers from our gallery or images that you talked back on for Day 11. Make one a screen saver or desktop wallpaper.

3. Change your own look

Change your email signature to link to Take Back the Tech or other VAW resources. Ask questions or give statistics and information on seldom-discussed forms of violence against women: ie.  In Canada, women with disabilities are 1.5 to 10 times more likely to experience violence than women with no disability; the impunity of mass rape and gang rape of women in zones of conflict everywhere in the world; Nicaraguan women being forced to choose between jail or death when facing an ectopic pregnancy.

Download a Take Back the Tech avatar for your instant messenger and social networking profiles.  Wallpaper the Twitter site you created on Day 3 or download our tbtt Twitter background image here.


Break with routine, change what is seen, and challenge violence against women as the norm.