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How philanthropy can help tackle gender-based online harms
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How philanthropy can help tackle gender-based online harms

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Technology and the Internet have made our lives better in many ways. But they are also facilitating an alarming increase in online abuse, particularly of young women. There is upskirting, where the perpetrator takes intrusive photos or videos up someone’s skirt without their permission. There is revenge porn, where explicit photos or videos of a person are posted on the Internet, typically by a former sexual partner.

With the ubiquity of social media, there is flaming (insulting someone with offensive language), doxxing (revealing private information), and cyberstalking. And on encrypted direct messaging platforms, victims are being threatened with violence. As actress Ashley Judd noted in a powerful TEDTalk in 2016, the online abuse of women has spiralled out of control (Judd, 2016).

In Singapore, a poll conducted in January 2022 by the Sunlight Alliance of Action (AfA), a public-private-people partnership to tackle online harms, found that close to half of the 1,000 respondents polled have personally experienced one or more types of online harms (MCI, 2022). Most of those who faced gender-based cyber abuse were between 15 to 35 years. With young girls, there is the added danger of sexual grooming.

Yet, women do not always come forward to seek freedom from online harm. One reason is a lack of knowledge about recourse. Another revolves around the gendered myths that direct blame towards the victim, writes academic Laura Vitis in Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Singapore: Key Considerations (Vitis, 2021).

What can be done? This is a problem that requires a whole-of-society effort. It needs awareness, advocacy, education, as well as enhancements in regulatory response, law enforcement and social services support. We can start by talking about what constitutes technology-facilitated sexual violence. Reinforce the message that image-based sexual abuse, camera sexual voyeurism and coerced sex-based communication are offences. Urge tech companies to make their services safer by removing offending images or gendered invective. 

On July 13, the Ministry of Communications and Information launched a public consultation on a Code of Practice for Online Safety (Reach, 2022). This will require social media services with significant reach or impact to have system-wide processes to mitigate exposure to harmful online content for Singapore-based users, including those below the age of 18.

Aside from this, we need to empower women to protect themselves against online abuse. Let them know how to record evidence and who to contact for support. These include the government’s 24-hour National Anti-Violence Helpline, AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre, and TOUCH Cyber Wellness. There is also Solid Ground, a volunteer-run project that provides step-by-step guides for those facing online abuse.

More recently, in April 2022, a new non profit was formed to empower, assist and support women and girls facing gender-based harm. SG Her Empowerment Limited (SHE) was born out of the work of Sunlight AfA and is chaired by Stefanie Yuen Thio, a member of Sunlight AfA. Stefanie is also a managing partner at TSMP Law Corporation and a board member at the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

The new charity plans to work with technology platforms to streamline reporting procedures and expedite takedowns. It will also liaise with the Law Society Pro Bono Services Office to provide legal clinics and pro bono legal services to those coming to the newly set up Victims’ Support Centre. SHE also hopes to work with the police to provide more holistic and empathetic support to the victims.

“This is an urgent and underserved need in our community,” says Stefanie. “Philanthropy can be a powerful driver and partner in our collaborative, public-private effort to combat online harm. This is a scourge that needs more than government regulation; it requires a whole-of-community response, from setting right mindsets, to calling out offending behaviours, to taking up the cause of victims,” she adds.

In addition to tackling online harms, and in light of the recommendations from the Singapore Government’s White Paper on Women’s Development released earlier this year, SHE will also be rolling out more programmes to support women and girls generally, hoping to work with both men and women to advance and equip the gender.

As a cause-neutral advisor, CFS works with a number of charities and initiatives that raise awareness about gender injustices and provide access to justice for victims of gender abuse, including online harm. If you would like to find out more about supporting these causes or for more information on the work we do, please go to www.cf.org.sg/grants/what-we-support/.

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CFS or its members.

References

Association of Women for Action and Research. (20 April 2022). Image-based sexual abuse featured in 7 in 10 cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence seen by AWARE in 2021.
https://www.aware.org.sg/2022/04/image-based-sexual-abuse-featured-in-7-in-10-cases-of-technology-facilitated-sexual-violence-seen-by-aware-in-2021/

Judd, Ashley. (2016). How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control. TED Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/ashley_judd_how_online_abuse_of_women_has_spiraled_out_of_control/transcript

Ministry of Communications and Information. (25 March 2022). Sunlight AfA Releases Topline Findings from Poll on Online Harms at Webinar.
https://www.mci.gov.sg/pressroom/news-and-stories/pressroom/2022/3/sunlight-afa-releases-topline-findings-from-poll-on-online-harms-at-webinar

Reach. (2022). Public Consultation on enhancing online safety for users in Singapore.
https://www.reach.gov.sg/Participate/Public-Consultation/Ministry-of-Communications-and-Information/public-consultation-on-enhancing-online-safety-for-users-in-singapore

Today. (13 July 2022). Singapore lays out proposals to shield young social media users from harmful content; seeks public feedbackhttps://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-lays-out-proposals-shield-young-social-media-users-harmful-content-seeks-public-feedback-1942991?cid=braze-tdy_Today-Morning-Brief_newsletter_14072022_tdy%0A%0A

TSMP Law Corporation. (25 April 2022). SG Her Empowerment Limited (SHE).
https://www.tsmplaw.com/news/sg-her-empowerment-limited-she/

Vitis, Laura. (2021). Technology-Facilitated Violence Against Women in Singapore: Key Considerations. Emerald Publishing Limited. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/978-1-83982-848-520211031/full/pdf

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News

TODAY – Successful philanthropy: Doing good takes more than just giving

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By Richard Hartung

Beyond just managing your money to meet your needs, donating to support good causes can benefit you and the broader community. The key to successful giving, though, is choosing the right causes and giving the right amounts. Increasingly, there are a host of tools and resources to help you decide.

IDENTIFY THE CAUSE
A good place to start is to figure out why you’re giving and what you want to support. And there are a variety of reasons people donate.

Some people are passionate about a particular cause, such as educating children, empowering women, saving animals and the environment, improving healthcare, or assisting the elderly. Others may want to support friends who are involved with a particular organisation, donate so they can become more engaged with people with similar interests, or gain public recognition for their generosity.

Whether you’re giving for one of these reasons or something else, taking the time to figure out your goal can lead to a more meaningful experience. As Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) CEO Catherine Loh told TODAY, “It is important to find the right fit, taking into consideration your values, charitable goals and impact you want to make. Ask yourself, why do you want to give back? What causes do you care about most? What kind of difference do you want to make?”
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联合早报: 领导基金会教师奖得主: 激发特需学生学习兴趣比成绩更重要

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胡洁梅 18 October 2016

特别学校教师郭正才利用乐高让学生创作动画,也利用机器人等来提高学生的学习兴趣。对他而言,学生享受学习过程并从中激发他们的好奇心,这比学生的成品更为重要。

郭正才(33岁)在特别需求者协会东陵学校(APSN Tanglin School)任教,是今年领导基金会教师奖的得主之一。

领导基金会教师奖(The Leading Foundation Teacher Award)自前年起颁发,目的是肯定学前教育工作者、特别需求教师和教育协作人员(Allied Educator)在专业领域的卓越表现。

该基金会由新加坡政府投资公司集团总裁林祥源与女儿林华敏设立,基金会目的是支持教育与领袖培养项目,特别是肯定学前和特别教育工作者的贡献。林祥源曾在不同政府部门任要职,包括公务员首长、教育部常任秘书。

今年共有四人得奖,另三人是人民行动党社区基金会(PCF)Sparkletots学前教育中心教师帕敏吉(Parvinjit Kaur)和扎希拉(Zahirah Bte Surian),以及圣加俾尔中学教育协作员贾雅然(Jeyaram s/o Kadivan)。

郭正才踏入特别教育工作五年,对他而言,获奖是种肯定,但最大的成就感莫过于看到特需学生的才华获得他人赞赏。

他分享说,今年中带领几名学生到新加坡科技设计大学举办的“制汇节”(Maker Faire)参展,由学生介绍他们的三维打印作品。参观者在反馈单中反映对学生作品的欣赏,好些公众表示并没发觉他们是来自特别学校。

他说:“看到学生能够独立,在公众面前展现自信并获得肯定,我更加确信我的(职业)选择是正确的。”

特别需求者协会东陵学校的学生主要患有轻微智力障碍,郭正才是推动科技教学的其中一名教师。他认为,学生在制作机器人(robotics)等时能应用数学和科学概念,激发他们的思考能力和好奇心,学习也更有趣。

另一名得奖教师帕敏吉(36岁)曾是骨科矫形外科助理,因为喜欢与孩童互动,六年前到PCF Sparkletots学前教育中心(兀兰第677座)教书,边工作边进修学前教育课程。她间中也曾到AWWA的特别教育学校工作一年。

她说:“每当看到孩子的笑容,或听他们和我分享故事,我就觉得很欣慰。”

颁奖仪式由国立教育学院和新加坡社会基金会联办,新加坡社会基金会是管理领导基金会的非营利机构。评审来自国立教育学院、教育部和新加坡幼儿教师协会。今年的得奖教师可获得1350元现金和奖状。

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News

The CDA top-up programme: Giving support to pre-school children from low-income families

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A diverse group of children and adults, all wearing masks, gather together in a united display of safety and responsibility.

Pre-schools are especially essential in providing a solid foundation for children to get an education, and to also build confidence and impart social skills, which will stay with them for life. As such, The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is partnering with EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) on a Child Development Account (CDA) top-up programme which will benefit around 1,300 pre-schoolers from low-income families this year.

This programme is facilitated by the inter-agency taskforce Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families (UPLIFT) to provide eligible pre-schoolers with $500 this year and up to a cap of $1,500 over the next three years, with the government providing dollar-for-dollar matching contributions for the top-ups.

To qualify, the children must be enrolled in 57 pre-schools under seven selected operators, and their families must have a gross household income of $4,500 or less. CFS and ECF will be contributing a total of $1 million to the CDA top-up programme over the next three years.

The seven operators are: E-Bridge Pre-School, Iyad Perdaus Child Development, Kidz Meadow Childcare and Development Centre, PPIS Child Development Centre, Presbyterian Community Services, Super Talent Childcare and YWCA Child Development Centre.

Along with Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman, CFS CEO Catherine Loh paid a visit to partner operator E-Bridge Pre-School’s Punggol Large Childcare Centre on 8 October 2020 to mark the launch of the programme and to celebrate Children’s Day.

“We have a responsibility to strengthen our social safety nets to ensure no child gets left behind. This is why this collaboration is such a wonderful opportunity for CFS and our donors to uplift children from low-income families,” says Catherine.

“I hope that this CDA top-up programme can encourage more low-income families to enrol their children into pre-schools. I also hope that it can provide additional support to needy families during this difficult period by defraying child-raising expenses,’’ says Dr Maliki Osman.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Events

A review to keep improving outings for the elderly

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Group of individuals sitting in chairs indoors.

It has been 10 years since the Outing for Seniors Community Impact Fund was started to enable nursing homes, day care centres, hospitals and hospices to bring seniors with medical conditions or mobility challenges on regular, organised excursions around Singapore.

To date, some 10,000 seniors have been on over 700 outings organised by more than 60 charitable organisations, with Changi Airport and Gardens by the Bay topping the list as favourite destinations.

In January, some 70 representatives from 28 charitable organisations who received grants from the fund gathered for a review session organised by CFS. At the event, attendees were updated on the fund’s streamlined application guidelines and processes. Breakout sessions were also conducted to gather feedback, exchange views and gain a better understanding of the profiles of seniors, types of outings and activities, volunteer to senior ratios and fund utilisation.

Representatives from the Esplanade and National Heritage Board were present to share their specially curated, senior-friendly arts, culture and heritage programmes. These include nostalgic concerts and performances, heritage trails, guided museum gallery tours, events and festivals which are all designed to promote active ageing.

All in, it was a productive afternoon for everyone. It is hoped that the fund and the outings it supports will continue to grow from strength to strength, as we can all agree that the joy that it brings to seniors makes its purpose all worthwhile.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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