08 Oct 2016

The virtual gender harassment – By Marina Demtschenko

By Marina Demtschenko *

* A lawyer specializing in cyber crime


How far you can get impairing the integrity of women, when an absolutely humiliating behavior becomes a kind of game in the eyes of society and the state represses? A new manifestation of gender violence has been gestating and requires urgent treatment and punishment: the virtual harassment.

This is what happens in Argentina.

It is worldwide and an unusual phenomenon, the emergence of countless cases of exposition in different social networks sensitive content files (private or intimate) of women (users or non-users) without the consent of the same, and immeasurably harmful effect that affects your image, its links, his job, his whole mental picture and of course, their personal safety in relation to third parties who enter through contact offered by the offender or by themselves, this perverse and degrading mechanism.

The reality is that in our country all the problems arising from the use of social networks and other means of virtual interaction no legal regulation rather than in isolation and the pair of the incessant demand of responses required by the cases that come to court.

So much so that on the occasion of having a meeting with whom was duly responsible for the Technology Crime Division of the Federal Police Argentina by mid 2013, in an interesting exchange about the current online issue of information dissemination not authorized by the owner, We delve into criminal behavior in the area of ​​the particular and more specifically in the practice of women's intimate disclosure of material by men who technically are presented from the perspective of gender violence as real perpetrators of those. “Argentina has exactly 30 years behind in terms of computer-related crimes", He told me verbatim and was a phrase that struck a chord in the expectation that I went to cover.

And in the same way, frighteningly he marked the importance of urgent regulation of type penal for all cases where the right to privacy, picture, welfare and a life without violence, among many others- were outraged, corrupted, haunted.

The basis of legally protected interests after the criminalization of conduct that use violence ONLINE, It has raigambre constitutional, like any other kind of violence, They refer to injury because of constitutional rights. The question is: They have less criminal entity and / or less harmful impact than other forms of outraged rights? The answer is immediate: NO.

Necessarily in seeking legal provisions and regulatory frameworks in the world of cyberbullying -to women-, gaze focuses on the most advanced legislation in technological crimes, which coincide with the most advanced legislation on gender violence and thus becomes direct recognition using virtual media to undermine rights, in the same way that crimes are specified "in person".

Vanguard depart by Spain in this area - which has a system of laws of nature like ours in Argentina as they have their origin in the Roman-law. In this country, it is a crime from the most basic aspects of protection against gender-based violence, psychological and emotional violence against women, in the definition of the figure of "stalking or harassment". This is an effective starting point for the study of the admission of cyberbullying within the State punitive response, mindful that the criminalization of any active behavior by the offender not necessarily involved in contact or physical force is expected (no physical aggression). Thus it is possible to urge a criminal action when the woman is the victim of hostile behaviors that affect their psychological realm undermining their freedom, safety and welfare in a broad spectrum of possibilities: persecution, threats, defamation, humiliation.-

In our country, we only attend the criminalization of behaviors psychological impact on the figures of "insulting" (art. 110 -Title II “Honor Crimes”) and the “Threats” ( art. 149 to) the Argentine Penal Code and date of the enactment of the regulatory body in the background 1922, so in no influence of gender or theoretical development of this problem, let alone its scope. It becomes insufficient and therefore this forecast, especially worth noting for its commission (See Argentine Criminal Code). Psychological violence is foreseen in the new Law 25485 Against Gender Violence, but not reform the Penal Code with some criminal types from becoming operational this forecast incorporation.-

Here we find the first major obstacle to the reception of the crime of "cyberbullying": If the Argentine Penal Code does not condemn violence whatever psychological or rather each in its many forms, with perspective of gender-, then there is no legal immediacy to obtain punitive response by the state against psychological violence perpetrated specifically through the use of social networks.

The mechanics of cyberbullying and its scope has been studied since about 10 years worldwide, and based on the concept (in psychoanalysis) from "exploitation of another (a third) in own enjoyment (aggressor)"-coinciding with the profile perverse who exercises presenting gender- based violence, They have been recognized throughout the studies of gender-computer problem, multiple variants of violent action, among which, at present, we can find: the SEXTORTION, el Sexting, el Grooming ( Also "cyberbullying" u “cyberbullying”), etc.

They are figures developing and evolving but find growing acceptance in the laws of the world and its penalty provides for victims, an undeniable protection and justice required before a highly dysfunctional behavior in the individual and collective interests in general.

In technological crimes that affect individuals, there is a fundamental feature to note is that the author of these unlawful conduct is "anonymous" in principle and takes refuge under the cloak of uncertainty about its true profile.- Thus utters any violent act against his victim chooses, with the benefit of impunity that provide the world online.

The need for immediate responses to the new demands of security of people in the various international communities, these types as "criminal behavior" are expected, y no en vano esta capacidad de respuesta por parte de los distintos Estados debe tomarse como un ejemplo a la par de como los antecedentes suficientes para la incorporación de las figuras en nuestra propia legislación.

Es importante reconocer que la manera más efectiva para punir las nuevas formas de violencia hacia las mujeres que se desarrolla online, no necesariamente supone tener entrada por tipos penales amplios que pudieran llegar a activar los principios más garantistas del derecho penal argentino como el “in dubio pro reo” o el de la prohibición de la analogía, sino más bien procurar la incorporación de los tipos penales autosuficientes, individualmente definidos y por supuesto, con perspectiva de género.

Aún así bien podrían punirse las conductas hostiles hacia la mujer sin contacto físico, en la tipificación de una figura penal que permitiera reconocer este flagelo y proporcionarle el debido alcance de la Justicia. Esto en referencia exclusiva a la hipótesis de trabajar sobre la tipificación del “acoso virtual”, ceñido específicamente en cuanto al hostigamiento virtual a la mujer, en cualquiera de sus formas.

De la inteligencia desarrollada supra, es que mediante leyes modificatorias del Código Penal, el Estado debe procurar responder a través del reconocimiento de estas conductas y su identificación con las figuras delictivas bien delimitadas que han desarrollado. No es óbice un estudio pormenorizado ya que acudiendo a los modelos desarrollados en legislaciones comparadas, los elementos de imputación necesarios presentan patrones idénticos en cada país y a lo largo y ancho del globo.-