Refuge comment on the responsibility of social media platforms to protect women
Ruth Davison, Refuge Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Social media companies should have a responsibility to ensure their platforms are safe and that users are not exposed to harmful content. That accounts promoting violent misogynistic content and hate speech are able to build up large viral followings, particularly targeting young audiences shows that they are currently failing in this responsibility.
So much violence against women and girls is rooted in misogyny, and we can only hope to eradicate it from society when these behaviours are challenged. Videos boasting about grooming young women, referring to them as ‘property’, and ‘joking’ about abusing them can normalise dangerous beliefs.
Refuge is concerned that these hateful videos are becoming big business, with content creators earning sometimes vast sums by creating and sharing abusive messages and content. The monetisation of hate on social media platforms is allowing a click economy to benefit from misogyny.
There is a desperate need for social media to be regulated and Refuge calls for this to be implemented in The Online Safety Bill with a Violence Against Women and Girls Code of Practice. Proper legislation against online harmful content is long overdue and dangerous content must be challenged.”
Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit refugetechsafety.org.