Domestic Violence in the Mainstream: Social Media

Social media allows people to share ideas and thoughts with others faster and wider than television, radio or print. Facebook has more than 800 million users and Twitter has more 175 million users. Every minute, 24 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube.

In 2010, reports showed that 15 percent of social media users were 17 years of age or younger, 9 percent were between 18 to 24, 18 percent were between 25 to 35, 25 percent were between 35 to 44, and 32 percent were 45 and up. Social media is taking over the world!

Unfortunately, social media has opened up a very public platform for people to promote violence. Listed below are examples:

Facebook groups:

  • National Slap-A-Hoe Society: “… do the right thing and give them a sharp slap to the face”
  • National Beat up an Emo Kid Day
  • International Smack-A-Hoe Day: “you can use a leather glove or … the old fashion way, bare handed.”
  • National Beat up Your Short Friend Day
  • National Kick a Ginger Day: “get them steel toes ready”

These groups encourage people to act violently toward others. An example of this was reported in The Vancouver Sun September 2011 in which a high school girl was kicked more than 20 times at school on Kick a Ginger Day because of her red hair.

Twitter trends:

  • #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend
  • #shedontmakeyouasammichoncommand
  • #becauseofchrisbrown

Violence trending on Twitter has brought on much controversy by antiviolence activists. A Twitter posting has even been the blame of an argument that led to an alleged murder. Not all trends promote violence but they may lead to violent comments. For instance, just this week #becauseofchrisbrown resulted in responses promoting domestic violence toward women.

YouTube videos:

  • pregnant woman being beaten up by a man
  • girls fighting in school
  • girl slapped by man
  • man dragging woman by her hair across a street
  • comedy making fun of violence toward women

All of these videos were very simple to find and all promoted violence toward woman. YouTube states they have guidelines to address “violent extremist material,” but because of the volume of videos uploaded daily, they cannot monitor what is posted. Instead, they rely on users to flag videos that violate their guidelines.

Take into mind the statistics for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube listed above and try to imagine how many people have been exposed to these violent messages. Taking part in ending domestic violence through social media can be as easy as joining antiviolence groups on Facebook, trending about ending violence on Twitter, and raising awareness by creating an “end domestic violence” video on YouTube. Even changing your social media profile picture to a purple ribbon can show your support in raising awareness against domestic violence. Do your part to make a difference!

Join Hubbard House in its efforts to end domestic violence by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Lindsay Van-Zant

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