Australian author and columnist Kerri Sackville has created a private Facebook group that is dedicated to the public naming and shaming of men who post abusive comments towards women online.
The group, called “Twitter campaign — Stop Violence Against Women,” was founded on the 1st December currently has over 1100 members and is growing daily.
Sackville says that she took the decision to make the group after watching the reaction to another feminist taking action against perceived “cyber-violence” against women. In late November writer Clementine Ford shared a screenshot of someone who had posted the word “slut” on her official page. The perpetrator, Michael Nolan, had listed his employer, The Meriton Group, on his Facebook page, which promoted Ford to contact them and ask if they aware of his behaviour on the social media platform.
Shortly after Ford’s contact the Meriton Group replied saying that it “does not condone this type of behaviour” and terminated his contract.
Deflecting criticism of the tactics that had caused Nolan to lose his job, Ford said, “He is responsible for his actions. He is responsible for the things he writes and the attitudes he holds.” She followed this up by criticising Facebook, stating that women are “ritually targeted by gendered harassment,” in her Daily Life column on December 1.
This seems to have spurred Sackville on to fight fire with fire by creating a harassment group designed to turn the tables on any alleged harassers.
Speaking of the reaction to Ford costing someone their job, Sackville told ABC news, “Clementine posted about the messages [and comments] she had been sent, being called a slut and a whore and a c*** and threatened with rape and violence. When you abuse one woman you abuse all of us … I said to my friend there has to be something we can do.”
Using the hashtag #EndViolenceAgainstWomen, members of the group will tweet out 150 names of what they refer to as the “most abusive and repeat offenders.” Links to evidence of the individual’s posts will also be included.
“We’re not slandering them, we’re not abusing them, just posting their name. [The comments are] already in public domain, it’s just taking that next step,” Sackville said, adding, “There are no checks and balances online. We have to impose our own kind of order.”
Why the group hasn’t been shut down by Facebook is a question worth asking. Facebook’s Community Standards page makes it quite clear this type of campaign is in violation of the rules.
“We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them,” it reads under their section on bullying and harassment. It also specifically lists examples of harassment as including “pages that identify and shame private individuals” and “Sharing personal information to blackmail or harass people.”
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