"Our Experiences are Different...Our Risks are Different": Racialized Women's Online Activism to End Violence Against Women in Canada

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Rajani, Nasreen




Existing research on online activism to end violence against women tends to homogenize the experiences of women. To help address this issue, this dissertation poses the following questions: why and how do racialized women in Canada participate in anti- violence online activism, specifically around violence against women? Grounded in an intersectional framework, this dissertation draws from semi-structured interviews and uses a social constructivist grounded theory approach to examine the experiences of nine racialized online activist women in Canada. In line with the intersectional framework guiding this research, and in an effort to further both research and discussion as it pertains to the diversity of women involved in such activities, all analyses will also attempt to account for other identities expressed by participants. Broadly, the collective experiences of these participants involves a focus on creating a variety of digital media technologies (e.g., personal websites, social media pages and profiles, and podcasts) to draw attention to the intersectional nature of violence against women. The counternarratives that they create and distribute challenge prevailing narratives that tend to ignore the intersectional nature of violence against women, specifically pointing to omissions in: mainstream news media; the non-profit sector involved in preventing and ending violence against women; and settler colonial policies, frameworks, and regulations. The racialized women interviewed for this dissertation expressed a struggle to increase their visibility and widen their networks for support and mobilization online. As noted by participants, this struggle often arises from a range of social media platform biases and experiences of technology-facilitated violence, factors that are often ignored in research and discussion pertaining to such online activist efforts. By focusing on the intersectional identities expressed by participants and their experiences with struggles unique to online activist work, this study contributes a deeper and more nuanced account to the limited research on racialized women in Canada and their efforts to end violence against women.


Mass Communications
Women's Studies




Carleton University

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