START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
971,349 people care about Women's Rights

Hey, Facebook: Stop Defending Violence Against Women

Hey, Facebook: Stop Defending Violence Against Women

Feminist media group Women, Action, & The Media (WAM!) is currently calling on Facebook to take real, cohesive action to stop gender-based hate speech on their site. has joined in the fight to make the huge social media network a safe and non-violent place for everyone, regardless of gender. Please read the open letter from WAM! below and take action to demand that Facebook stop considering rape culture expressions of “humor” or “free speech.”

An Open Letter to Facebook:

We, the undersigned, are writing to demand swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook. Specifically, we call on you, Facebook, to take three actions:

  1. Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
  2. Effectively train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.
  3. Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.

To this end, we are calling on Facebook users to contact advertisers whose ads on Facebook appear next to content that targets women for violence, to ask these companies to withdraw from advertising on Facebook until you take the above actions to ban gender-based hate speech on your site. (We will be raising awareness and contacting advertisers on Twitter using the hashtag #FBrape.)

Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about. Pages currently appearing on Facebook include Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, Raping your Girlfriend and many, many more.  Images appearing on Facebook include photographs of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged, and bleeding, with captions such as “This bitch didn’t know when to shut up” and “Next time don’t get pregnant.”

These pages and images are approved by your moderators, while you regularly remove content such as pictures of women breastfeeding, women post-mastectomy and artistic representations of women’s bodies.  In addition, women’s political speech, involving the use of their bodies in non-sexualized ways for protest, is regularly banned as pornographic, while pornographic content – prohibited by your own guidelines – remains.  It appears that Facebook considers violence against women to be less offensive than non-violent images of women’s bodies, and that the only acceptable representation of women’s nudity are those in which women appear as sex objects or the victims of abuse.  Your common practice of allowing this content by appending a [humor] disclaimer to said content literally treats violence targeting women as a joke.

The latest global estimate from the United Nations Say No to Violence Campaign is that the percentage of women and girls who have experienced violence in their lifetimes is now up to an unbearable 70%. In a world in which this many girls and women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, allowing content about raping and beating women to be shared, boasted and joked about contributes to the normalisation of domestic and sexual violence, creates an atmosphere in which perpetrators are more likely to believe they will go unpunished, and communicates to victims that they will not be taken seriously if they report.

According to a UK Home Office Survey, one in five people think it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit or slap his wife or girlfriend in response to her being dressed in sexy or revealing clothes in public. And 36% think a woman should be held fully or partly responsible if she is sexually assaulted or raped whilst drunk. Such attitudes are shaped in part by enormously influential social platforms like Facebook, and contribute to victim blaming and the normalisation of violence against women.

Although Facebook claims, in a narrowly-defined defense of free speech, not to be involved in challenging norms or censoring people’s speech, you have in place procedures, terms and community guidelines that you interpret and enforce.Facebook prohibits hate speech and your moderators deal with content that is violently racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic every day. Your refusal to similarly address gender-based hate speech marginalizes girls and women, sidelines our experiences and concerns, and contributes to violence against them.  Facebook is an enormous social network with more than a billion users around the world, making your site extremely influential in shaping social and cultural norms and behaviors.

Facebook’s response to the many thousands of complaints and calls to address these issues has been inadequate. You have failed to make a public statement addressing the issue, respond to concerned users, or implement policies that would improve the situation. You have also acted inconsistently with regards to your policy on banning images, in many cases refusing to remove offensive rape and domestic violence pictures when reported by members of the public, but deleting them as soon as journalists mention them in articles, which sends the strong message that you are more concerned with acting on a case-by-case basis to protect your reputation than effecting systemic change and taking a clear public stance against the dangerous tolerance of rape and domestic violence.

In a world in which hundreds of thousands of women are assaulted daily and where intimate partner violence  remains one of the leading causes of death for women around the world, it is not possible to sit on the fence.  We call on Facebook to make the only responsible decision and take swift, clear action on this issue, to bring your policy on rape and domestic violence into line with your own moderation goals and guidelines.


Laura Bates, The Everyday Sexism Project

Soraya Chemaly, Writer and Activist

Jaclyn Friedman, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!)

Angel Band Project

Anne Munch Consulting, Inc.

Arts Against Abuse

Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Rights Programme

Black Feminists

The Body is Not An Apology


Caleb’s Hope

Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses

Catharsis Productions

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation

Collective Action for Safe Spaces

Collective Administrators of Rapebook

Cornershop Creative


Dear Facebook

End Violence Against Women Coalition

Equality Now

The EQUALS Coalition

The Fawcett Society

Fem 2.0

Feminist Peace Network

The Feminist Wire

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture

A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World

Guerilla Feminism

Hardy Girls, Healthy Women


Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Jackson Katz, PhD., Co-Founder and Director, Mentors in Violence Prevention

Lauren Wolfe, Director of WMC’s Women Under Siege

The Line Campaign

Make Me a Sammich

Media Equity Collaborative

Ms. Magazine

No Hate Speech Movement

No More Page 3


The Pixel Project

Powered By Girl

Rape Victim Advocates

RH Reality Check

Sanctuary for Families

Secular Woman

Sheryl Sandberg “Lean In” and Remove Misogyny from Facebook

The Sin City Siren

SEASN, (Solidarity, Equity & Activist Support Network)

Social Media Week

SPARK Movement

Stop Street Harassment

Take Back the Tech!

Tech LadyMafia

Time To Tell

Unite Women NY

The Uprising of Women in the Arab World


The Voices and Faces Project

White Ribbon Campaign

Women In Media & News (WIMN)

The Women’s Media Center

Women’s Networking Hub

The Women’s Room

Women’s Views on News

YWCA Canada

Want to do more? Check out this list of major advertisers on Facebook and contact them asking them to join in the fight. If you tweet, be sure to use the hashtag “#FBrape” — and share this open letter in your own networks to hold Facebook accountable for its actions!

Read more: , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
7:33AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

Nobody should defend violence to woman! Or anyone else for that matter..

5:37PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Isn´t it a shame ???
Me too, I hate Facebook !!

12:43AM PST on Feb 24, 2014

I hate Facebook!!

12:33AM PST on Feb 17, 2014


11:16AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

In my country majority ofwomen are house wives.They have to face day to day problems more then earning members.Working women are even more risponsible for job n home both.Being weaker sex they could be easily over powered in home as well as in offices.

4:09AM PDT on Jun 24, 2013

I have a qustion but since i can't find a forum to ask it here it is: How exactly these butterfly credits work. For example is care2 partnering with some organization which agree to save one turtle for every 2,000 credits ..and in the end of the month care2 show how much people given their credits for how many turles.Or these people are anyway going to do it and this is just DIDO ?

1:40PM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

Hey Gene. Do you think the fact that women rate men sexually by their potential for violence has anything to do with violent behavior? It's a selection quality female human primates share with their sisters that are still "in the trees."

11:57AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

(continued) Because men have failed miserably at even pretending to be humane since we came down from the trees. Time, past time, for a new way. One that puts men in the back of the bus and allows people with actual humanity, who care about the people of this world more than they do profits to drive the bus. We all deserve a LOT better than the violence filled world we men have created. A world with women leadership will be a much better place. For all of us, including men...

11:55AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

"Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about."

I have an account, which I check in on every few months, so I had NO idea, that crap like that which follows this comment from above was on Facebook, let alone allowed to be there. There is NOTHING funny about anything in that paragraph and it, all by itself, exemplifies why a real change in the power structure of this government, this country, this world has to happen sooner rather than later. I can't imagine any woman I know or have known who would put up anything like any of that, let alone tolerate it as a part of their working culture. Zuckerberg has always been a disgusting thief, if the movie can be believed, and that he allows this kind of gender hatred to be on HIS company's pages isn't therefore really a surprise. No corporation should allow anything like that in any of its endeavors, why on earth should a "social media" site be allowed to have ads or stories like that which encourage violence against women. Do they think children do NOT see that stuff? Because most of our children and grandchildren are more technologically aware and capable than people think. Just more filth we have to wade through every day in this "paradise" for the male gender. That is going to change, and we will be a better world when women are the leadership model we emulate. Because men have failed

3:10PM PDT on May 29, 2013

Shared with Facebook.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

I work for a certified organic CSA farm in Florida. I love it! Pay is minimum wage, no holidays or vacations,…

I find languages really difficult. One of my cousins is really good at picking up new languages. Some…

Meow meh loves me kitties too

meet our writers

Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.