Swedish women break the silence on net hate

2:54 min

A string of female journalists, opinion makers and bloggers have spoken out about the vitriol they face on the web, with a slew of hate mail, death threats and insults published in comment fields, on social media platforms and in private emails.

Much of the online hatred, exposed in a Swedish Television documentary aired Wednesday, is misogynist with graphic sexual harassment threats.

Åsa Linderborg, culture editor at the tabloid Aftonbladet, told Swedish Radio that she does not believe it is possible to stop the abuse.

“On the other hand I think we can have a debate about how civilized we want society to be,” she said. “Is it right to threaten women with rape or to wish that they will die simply because they express an opinion you do not share?”

But public figures are not the only ones who face vitriol online.

The 21-year-old Julia was inundated with thousands of hateful comments, death and rape threats after posting a complaint on clothing giant H&M’s Facebook page over a t-shirt with an image of rapper Tupac Shakur.

“You’re disgusting, commit suicide”. “Please shoot yourself.” “Shut up, I hope you get raped.” Those were some of the comments posted in the thread.

H&M said that they had deleted thousands of comments from the threads, but many threats and insults remained on the Facebook page for at least a month.