GIVRE- Gendering Internet. Violence, Resilience and Empowerment in digital spaces

  • Years: 2023-2025
  • Scientific Coordinator: Maria Cristina Sciannamblo, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Partners: Sapienza Università di Roma, Link Campus University
  • Funding: PRIN 2022 PNRR
  • Unit Responsible: Cosimo Marco Scarcelli, FISPPA, Università degli Studi di Padova


The project aims at examining the phenomenon of gendered online violence, and related practices of resilience and empowerment.

The project has four objectives:

  • advancing the knowledge and understanding of the mutual shaping between digital technologies and gender;
  • developing a toolkit for digital self-defense that will allow users to tackle abusive behaviors in social media spaces;
  • mapping good practices and collecting policy and design guidelines aiming at tackling online gendered violence and promoting empowerment;
  • consolidating and formalizing a national action-research network able to provide policy recommendations and guidelines for the designing safer digital platforms as well as to promote international collaborations. These objectives will be achieved through the implementation of a mixed-methods research design.

The research activities comprise: 1) qualitative interviews with users participating in online spaces covering issues broadly related to gendered online violence. The aim is to explore people’s perception of online gender-based violence, main patterns and dynamics, most cited platforms associated with violent behaviors and related tactics of resilience; 2) focus groups with “privileged witnesses” that work in the field of anti-violence (operators, lawyers, activists) and in the governance of online spaces (authority agencies, policy-makers). This phase aims to compare ideas, intervention approaches and visions about gendered online violence and the work that is currently done in Italy to tackle it; 3) participatory design workshops with anti-violence experts, artists and ordinary users for enabling collective brainstorming on empowering imaginaries surrounding digital technologies. This phase aims to design construction of digital spaces that can be safe and empowering for all citizens, and especially for vulnerable subjectivities; 4) a national survey – the first quantitative study in Italy on the phenomenon – administered to a statistically representative sample of Italian adults, aiming at investigating the presence of online gendered violence and the related experiences, including practices of resilience and empowerment. 

The project will achieve significant results on both the scientific and societal level. On the scientific side, GIVRE will be the first Italian research project that will seize the dimension of online gendered violence in Italy. Additionally, the project will deliver interesting insights and case studies as to the employment of participatory design in the articulation of social research activities. On the societal level, the project will offer guidelines for both policy-makers and user experience designers on how to build safe and sustainable digital spaces, with a focus on instant messaging apps. In this respect, the project will deliver a digital mockup and a toolkit for digital self-defense as concrete examples of how inclusive and empowering digital technologies can be designed.