“I broke a story about another female journalist, Zeenat Shahzadi, who was allegedly abducted by security forces. She was 24. I could tell this could happen to me next,” Eitizaz says. “First, a storm of sexual harassment that lasted over a month. My social media was flooded by trolls. They started off abusing me with foul language, like ‘whore, bitch.’”
At the time, her social media editor advised her to go off the grid. She disagreed.
“Women’s spaces keep on shrinking, whether it’s online or in real life. We must not give up our spaces. So to me it doesn’t make sense to stay silent,” she says.
Resolve, kindness, and solidarity is what connects these two women in Pakistan with the global movement fighting for an online space defined not by online harassment, but by irrefutably upholding gender equality. It is difficult to predict which way this global battle will tilt, but women, who refuse to lose control of their online identities, are teaching others about the value of their online voice and data.
“The time has passed where perpetrators go unpunished,” Dad says.
And she’s right. With every tech-oriented class, every woman practicing safe sexting, every new law passed, and every revenge porn site shut down, women are slowly regaining control of their online identities.