Cyberstalking in Tanzanian universities was the subject of research by Dr Angela Kavishe, who was awarded a PhD in Sociology for the study,
supervised by Professor Maheshvari Naidu.
‘Cyberstalking is a kind of online harassment characterised by the persistent pursuit and monitoring of a victim performed by a determined perpetrator inducing fear or a feeling of being unsafe in the harassed person,’ said Kavishe.
‘It is a behaviour carried out mainly by men attempting to establish intimate relationships with women online. This kind of gender-based violence is documented in Western countries but there is limited data from Africa and developing countries in general.’
The study, undertaken in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam, explored how digital technology creates new platforms of violence on the university campus and how its institutional facilities curb cyberstalking.
‘Cyberstalked female students generally suffer in silence so the majority of victims do not report the incidents while at the same time institutions do not have a conducive environment to respond to their suffering,’ said Kavishe. ‘My study creates a broad understanding of cyber harassment and the findings will inform law enforcers and policymakers about the nature of the problem. Being one of the earliest empirical studies on cyberstalking in Tanzania, this publication unpacks the concept of cyberstalking and paves a way for further research on the problem.’
Kavishe thanked her family, friends and supervisor for their support. ‘It was exciting working with Professor Naidu as my supervisor. She was keen on detail and always gave me extensive, constructive, and prompt feedback, which enabled me to finish my study.’
Offering advice to other PhD hopefuls, Kavishe said, ‘A PhD candidate needs to focus on the topic, dedicate time to the work and critically interrogate thoughts from scholarly works.’
She now plans to publish and expand knowledge on the impacts of digital technology in the lives of women.