Senator Nancy Binay has just filed a bill called Electronic Violence Against Women (E-VAW) Law of 2013, a law that aims to protect individuals from online violence including cyber-bullying.
The E-VAW aims to regulate “the exploitative and irresponsible use of social media that has become a mode of disseminating scandals involving both television personalities and private individuals.” In addition, victims of online violence by perpetrators like a relative, former spouse or partner, or an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, can seek protection under the proposed law.
“Being bullied or harassed by a known perpetrator, or someone close to you, has a serious emotional and psychological impact than being hassled by a stranger. Mas masakit sa mga biktima kung kakilala nila ang gumagawa ng mga panliligalig sa kanila.” Binay said.
The bill defines “electronic violence” as “any act involving the exploitation of data that can cause or is likely to cause mental, emotional and psychological distress or suffering to the victim.” These involve the following:
- unauthorized recording, reproduction or distribution of videos showing the victim’s private areas
- uploading or sharing any form of media with sensitive and indecent content without the victim’s consent
- harassment through text messaging, electronic or any other multimedia means
- cyberstalking, including the hacking of personal accounts on social networking sites and the use of location trackers on cellular devices
- the unauthorized use of the victim’s identity (pictures, video, voice, name) for distribution that can harm the victim’s reputation
Under the proposed law, any act causing electronic violence against a woman and her child is punishable by 6 months to 6 years imprisonment, while “threats causing electronic violence” is punishable by 1 month to 6 months.
Violators can be fined up to Php300,000 to Php500,000 depending on the gravity of distress caused to the victim.
Cyber-bullying has become one of the most common “online violence” that’s been reported to authorities in the past couple of years. A previous report from NBI-CIDG claims that 7 out of every 10 cases filed with them are related to cyber-bullying or libel.
There have been numerous cases reported that victims end up committing suicide because of cyber-bullying.