Strasbourg, 6 March 2014 – “In May 2013, a campaign led notably by Women, Action and the Media and the Everyday Sexism Project attracted global public attention to the issue of social media content promoting violence against women. Such content included the photograph of a well-known singer with a bloodied and beaten face with a caption celebrating her boyfriend’s assault. The campaign prompted Facebook to react and update its policies on hate speech, which now take better account of an often neglected type of hate speech, that targeting women”, says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today.
Such hate speech is proliferating, notably on the Internet, with daily calls for violence against women and threats of murder, sexual assault or rape.
Arguably, the most famous case is that of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who, after surviving an assassination attempt prompted by her stance for women’s rights, had to withstand a hostile campaign on the Internet. Malala is now a symbol of women’s struggle worldwide, including in Europe. Recent cases, in fact, remind us that if we believe that hate speech against women is not a European problem, we are profoundly wrong. (more...)