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Murder threats push women to self-censor

Murder threats push women to self-censor

Published: 07 Feb 2013 07:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2013 07:10 GMT+01:00

Threats of extreme violence, murder, and rape plague the lives of many women who work in the spotlight in Sweden, but police often fail to act on the threats in part because they are delivered via emails or posts in online discussion threads..

A 21-year-old H&M customer who complained that the fashion store's decision to print a t-shirt with an image of Tupac Shakur, a convicted sex offender, was inappropriate went to bed one night with her mobile pinging several times a minute, according to a Sveriges Television (SVT) report broadcast on Wednesday.

Her complaint on H&M's Facebook page had attracted almost 3,000 comments, many of which said they wished the US singer was still alive to rape her or that they themselves would.

"Of all these people, maybe one means what he says, how can I know?" Julia, 21, told SVT's investigative journalism programme Uppdrag Granskning.

Its reporters called several of the people who threatened her on Facebook.

"It was just an expression, I didn't mean it literally, but she's a retard," one man said.

"Tupac's dead so he can't defend himself, so when she disses him, I have to diss him back for his sake," one man said before apologizing to Julia.

Many of the commentators that were contacted said their posts were no less offensive than other people's statements.

Julia filed a complaint to the police, hoping they would investigate whether the comments constituted illegal threats or defamation, as many posts threatened violence or called her a slut or a whore.

The police received the complaint and decided not to investigate the day after. A spokesman told the programme that he was not sure if his colleagues had looked at the Facebook comment thread.

The one-hour programme also spoke with several women in the public eye, including actor Andrea Edwards, author Åsa Linderborg, and editorial writer Ann-Charlotte Marteus.

In a minimalist take with the women before a black screen, they were filmed reading the threats verbatim. Cuss words abounded. Murder threats were common.

Many of the letters called the women ugly, fat and disgusting. Many served up graphic descriptions of how they would kill them. Some stated that their authors did not mind a few years in prison as a result.

Many of the women said that they received more threats than normally when they addressed rightwing groups or the Sweden Democrats.

"People like you are destroying Sweden," was one comment to TV personality Karin Hübinette.

"It's sad, but I self-censor," admitted journalist Sanna Lundell.

"Sometimes I just don't have the energy to report on topics that I know will trigger these kinds of comments."

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Your comments about this article

08:45 February 7, 2013 by Achilles7
My oh my, it's frightening what a sick and twisted world we now live in...

Why would you wish a 21 year old woman be raped and murdered for simply expressing her opinion about the design of a T-Shirt in a shop? What could possibly possess you to harbour such ill feeling towards somebody for making such a harmless comment?

I completely agree with her anyway. It's a sad reflection of the society we live in when we idolize a tattooed, gun-toting sex offender.
09:06 February 7, 2013 by RobinHood
Oh, come on Julia. Sadly, the world is like that. If you write something critical about someone who is idolised by tens of millions of Tupac loving, violence worshiping, misogynistic trolls, some of them will write you nasty things. That is the way of trolls. They aren't being nasty to you because you are a woman, they would have been just as nasty if you were a man. Just ignore the fools.

Female, or even male, journalists who self-sensor, for fear of annoying trolls, really should question whether they are cut out to be journalists at all.
09:13 February 7, 2013 by dekamikaze
"Many of the women said that they received more threats than normally when they addressed rightwing groups or the Sweden Democrats."

Really, they were just simply "addressed" the rightwing groups and the SD right? I believe the right word here are "attack or demonize" not "addressed"...got it? When you demonize and attack somebody, what the f do you expect, a thank you?
09:19 February 7, 2013 by Hermlover
Sad but true commentary on how so many men feel threatened by women these days. The internet seems to provide an outlet I for one would prefer not to know about. Rather than objecting with logic and sound arguments these men resort to the only weapon they believe they have-the penis.

What is most alarming are the reports that intimidation and threats of violence seem to be working because these women are self censoring. What about some pressure on the police to do their jobs?
09:51 February 7, 2013 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
its only to be expected as more women assert themselves & in general here in the omni-PC Sweden that as wummin take over there will be a male backlash. Personally I blame it all on Gudrun & the "sexköpslagen" era , also it must be possible to have an opinion & raise it without being labelled rasist or sexist etc...otherwise people begin to be afraid to speak. Of course as long as it`s not threatening. As always a balance is whats required, we have to remember thats the sexes are different, but as a man I feel under attack here in Sweden. there has been a bit too much HBT-Gardell-homomarriage etc in the media the last few years, live & let live but these lifestyles are almost being promoted , especailly by SVT, who is as we all know the propaganda arm of the swedish socialists. Women are great, but lets give our pride back to the men eh ?
11:07 February 7, 2013 by Borilla
Very typical in general of Swedish men - blustering when they can hide behind a computer keyboard but afraid to face someone and say the same thing. As for #3, again typical of the right wing Nazis who "attack or demonize" anyone they choose and aren't able to accept criticism themselves. Or, maybe this is just another example of the effect of the computer on recent generations. They feel safe in saying anything they feel like saying at the time as long as they can hide behind their keyboard. Also another example of our sterling Swedish police. Can't take time from fika to examine threats against women. One can't blame these ladies for being concerned. Hiding among all these cowardly commentators are a few real nutcases planning something horrible.
11:28 February 7, 2013 by engagebrain
Tupac Shakur is a convicted sex offender - a fact, not an opinion.

To be threatened with violence for making a factual statement is attempting to censor someone. On both counts the police should take an interest. The first step to actual violence is making a threat and threats scare people.
11:35 February 7, 2013 by grymagnusson
Women are not alone although they are particularly exposed perhaps due to the overwhelming dominance of men who comment on the internet.

Just cast your eye at some the comments directed at the journalists working on this website.

Search almost any article that addresses SD's chosen subject or feminism for example, and you'll find plenty of insults and aggression direct at the writer.
13:21 February 7, 2013 by dekamikaze
Why that piece of garbage thinks that I'm a swede? Oh because I pointed out the fact that the SD is constantly being under attack everyday by the left-wing nut cases? They are labelling the SD as racists, nazies, xenophobes and so on...but when the Sd suppoters return the favor, then they go...oh my god, oh my god, they're threaten me. You people are pathetic! Oh, btw, I'm no swede and have no problem with a little confrontation if needed...now how is that sound?
14:47 February 7, 2013 by John.Smith
Sounds like a threat to me.
15:53 February 7, 2013 by dekamikaze
"Just cast your eye at some the comments directed at the journalists working on this website."

Journalists? No no, they are no such thing, they are muslims lovers, fiminist militants and lefty charlatants that try to spread the lefty propaganda that's all, not journalists! But like the chinese said, "beware what you wish for" lefties!
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