Does Facebook have a problem with women? #Vaw #WTFnews


Facebook insists there’s no place on its site for hate speech or content that is threatening or incites violence. So why do images that seem to glorify rape and domestic violence keep appearing?

Facebook

Does Facebook have a problem with women? The question has been around since 2011 when Eve Ensler and Ms Magazine drew attention to the social networking site’s failure to remove misogynistic images that seemed to glorify rape and domestic violence.

Then the issue came back again with users taking to Twitter in recent weeks to express their anger at Facebook’s refusal to remove images that tried to make a joke of rape. Two in particular were widely circulated. One showed a woman bound and gagged on a sofa and a caption that read: “It’s not rape. If she really didn’t want to, she’d have said something.” The second showed a condom, beneath the words “Plan A”; an emergency contraceptive pill, “Plan B“; and then “Plan C”, a man pushing a woman with a bloodied face down the stairs.

The site’s community standards state: “Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech.” What is not clear, in spite of several high-profile campaigns and a Change.org petition that garnered more than 200,000 signatures, is how it makes that distinction. Over the past few years, women say they have been banned from the site and seen their pages removed for posting images of cupcakes iced like labia, pictures of breastfeeding mothers and photographs of women post-mastectomy.

Yet images currently appearing on the site include a joke about raping a disabled child, a joke about sex with an underage girl and image after image after image of women beaten, bloodied and black-eyed in graphic domestic violence “jokes”. There are countless groups with names such as “Sum sluts need their throats slit” and “Its Not ‘rape’ If They’re Dead And If They’re Alive Its Surprise Sex”. One of the worst images I came across in a brief search shows a woman’s flesh, with the words “Daddy f*cked me and I loved it” carved into it in freshly bleeding wounds.

A Facebook spokesperson insisted: “There is no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that is threatening or incites violence.”

Jules Hillier, executive director of policy and communications at Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity, says: “Social media can be brilliant, giving young women and young men a space for debate and discussion and giving organisations such as ours a route to provide information and advice. But it’s a double-edged sword. I only wish that facts and support circulated half as fast as myths, misinformation, bullying and abuse, all of which social media also opens up opportunities for.”

When I contacted Facebook to get a comment on the two images circulating on Twitter, the entire page (charmingly named “Butthurt? well. GET the FUCK OUT”) had been removed by the time they rang back. A spokesperson said it was not because the images contravened its terms, but because the administrator had failed to publicly associate his or her profile with the page. I can find no mention of this requirement in Facebook’s community standards, and it hardly mitigates the publication of such material anyway.

When I asked if the banned cupcake images could have been removed in error by an automated image scanner, the spokesperson said it was very unlikely. So it was a human decision to ban the image of a cupcake. Just as it is a human decision to allow pages such as “Teen SLUT pics” to continue to publish images of very young-looking girls, with no evidence they gave consent for their photographs to be used.

“We take reports of questionable and offensive content very seriously,” said the Facebook spokesperson. “However, we also want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others. Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs – even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some – do not by themselves violate our policies.”

There is a common argument that these pages are “harmless”, and those who do not like them should simply not look at them. But anyone whose friend “likes” one of these images can find it popping up without warning in their newsfeed timeline. Each image normalises gender-based violence, sending the message to both victims and perpetrators that ours is a culture that doesn’t take it seriously.

Feminist writer and activist Soraya Chemaly says: “It’s not about censorship in the end. It’s about choosing to define what is acceptable. Facebook clearly accepts representations of some forms of violence, namely violence against women, as qualitatively different from others.”

The Facebook spokesperson said: “It’s not Facebook’s job to define what is acceptable. We work hard to keep our users from direct harm, but in the end, censorship is not the solution to bad online behaviour or offensive beliefs. Having the freedom to debate serious issues like this is how we fight prejudice.”

For those who believe there is no relation between the treatment and perception of women in the real world and the cultural norms promoted by the most used social networking site on the planet, here is a selection of comments. Some are from those “harmless” Facebook pages. Some are from real women’s experiences, reported to the Everyday Sexism Project. And some are examples of the abuse that I have received, as a woman daring to write about women online.

“You have a choice to have sex, I have the choice to rape you.”

“If you don’t stop giving me shit I’ll pay four of my friends to gang rape you.”

“Go ahead, call the cops – they can’t un-rape you.”

“The only reason you have been put on this planet is so we can fuck you. Please die.”

Can you tell the difference?

 

• Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project

 

#India-Torture upon a dalit woman suffering from PTSD in Govt hospital #WestBengal


 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New delhi-110 001

 

Respected Sir,

 

I want to draw your attention on an incident where a young woman from Schedule Caste community named; Ms. Sarathi Mondal is the victim of medical negligence, physical torture and mental harassment by the perpetrators Ms. Ashima Mistri (staff nurse), Ms. Samejan bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi (both midwives) and Dr. Sujoy Modak (attending doctor), all attached with Sadikhans Dearh Rural Hospital, Block- Jalangi under district Mursidabad.

 

While the victim family tried to lodge a complaint to the local police station; Jalangi, on 6.10.2012 the Officer in Charge refused to register the same. The father of the victim made similar complaint to the respective Block Medical Officer (Health). Later a meeting for settlement of the issue has been organized on 8.10.2012 where local Member of Assembly, Officer in Charge of the police station and BMOH were present, in first instance the said Officer in Charge of Jalangi police station bluntly denied the happening of the incident, though the MLA told the victim family that he will take up the issue in coming seven days but no recourse measures has been taken till date. Police of Jalangi police station refused to register the complaint as a cognizable offence.

 

I am attaching a brief account of the incident with medical documents for your easy reference and demanding for:-

 

  1. Immediate and impartial investigation of the incident
  2. The written complaint made by the father of the victim should be treated as an FIR
  3. The attending doctor, staff nurse and midwives should be booked with proper legal provisions regarding causing grievous bodily harm and intense psychological torment 
  4. The Officer in Charge of the Jalangi police station should be booked for delinquency in his official duty
  5. The victim should be duly compensated

 

 

Thanking you,

Yours truly,

 

 

 

Kirity Roy

Secretary, MASUM

&

National Convener, PACTI

 

 

Name of the victim: – Ms. Sarathi Mondal, wife of- Mr. Ratan Mondal, aged about- 22 years, residing at Village- Sabrampur, Post Office- Sabrampur, Police Station- Jalangi, District- Mursidabad.

 

Name of the perpetrators: -

  1. Doctor Sujoy Modak
  2. Ms. Ashima Mistri
  3. Ms. Samejan bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi
  4. Officer-in- Charge of Jalangi Police Station

 

Date and time of the incident: – On 01/10/2012 & 02/10/2012 from 8 pm to 4 am on respective dates

 

Place of the incident: – Sadikhans Dearh Rural Hospital

 

Case details: -

 

On 01/10/2012 the victim was on her labour and admitted to the said hospital by her father and mother in law. She was admitted by Dr. Sujoy Modak under his observation. But no bed was provided to her and in the early morning on 2.10.2012 she gave birth of a male child on the floor of the said health centre. After child birth she was provided a bed. After her admission on 1.10.2012 at 8 pm at the said hospital, while she was lamenting due to severe pain which was quite normal during the labour, Ms. Ashima Mistri (staff nurse) and her two midwives namely Ms. Samejan Bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi got furious and beaten her with fisticuffs and kicked her on her lower parts of the waist, at the presence of attending doctor; Dr. Sujoy Modak, he not even resisted the wrongdoers from their inhumane act. Irate Ms. Ashima Mistri yet attacked the victim with a pair of scissors after she gave birth of a child. Ms. Ashima Mistri caused severe cuts on her thighs and private parts with the scissor. Due to that she was unable to properly walk for a month. Physical bashing on her ears was caused a temporary deafness.    

 

On 02/10/2012, she was discharged from that health centre. The victim’s father and some villagers went to Jalangi Police Station on 6.10.2012 to make a complaint against Ms. Ashima Mistri and others but the said police station refused register the complaint.

 

After 6 days on 8.10.2012, a meeting was arranged in the said hospital where local MLA, Officer-in- Charge (Jalangi Police Station), BDO, BMOH with Ms. Ashima Mistri, Ms. Samejan Bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi were present but without any appropriate recourse for the victim.

 

In that meeting, the Officer-in- Charge told that the entire incident was false. MLA promised to go through the entire case within 7 days and told that the perpetrators would be punished. But he did not take any necessary steps against the said culprits.

 

While our psychological counselor observed the mental condition of the victim on 22.1.2012, he opined that she is still under severe fear and sense of panic over (PTSD) the incident and her physical condition is also worrying. She was examined in our medical camp, supported by UNVFVT (United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture). It is also to be noted that the victim was also treated by the on duty medical officer of Sadi Khan’s Dearh Rural Hospital on 6th October 2012 while the doctor registered that she was physically assaulted. 

Inline images 1

Ms. Sarathi Mondal

Inline images 2

Treatment sheet of Govt. hospital

Inline images 3

 


Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in