We, the signatories of this appeal, have been campaigning for a long time against hate speech and digital violence. As politically active people, we tirelessly point out the gender-specific aspects of these attacks. In recent months and at present, there has been an increasing discussion about verbal sexualised violence on the net against politically active women. However, too little attention is paid to incidents in the private sphere, although the daily practice of the competent counseling centers, in particular, is showing a marked increase in digital violence and more and more victims are in urgent need of help.
Digital violence is real. We point out the violence perpetrated on the internet, and call it out clearly and unambiguously as what it is, instead of downplaying it as an „internet outrage culture“ or „dissenting opinions“.
Digital violence and hate speech are an attack on the psychological and physical integrity of each individual. Women, in particular, are currently the target of this hatred. When whole groups of people are restricted in their participation in social debates and developments, it is also an attack on the freedom of expression of our society as a whole.
When several forms of discrimination occur at once, such as sexism, racism, queer hostility, or hostility towards people with disabilities, the attacks on the net are usually all the more violent and all the more frequent. Hate speech also aims to drive women, especially black women and women of color as well as non-binary, trans and inter persons, out of the public sphere.
Digital violence often comes from the intimate environment of those affected. Whether in the form of hate comments, doxing, online stalking, or unauthorized sharing of nude pictures: existing structures and dynamics of violence are always continued or supplemented. In this way, the internet as an infrastructure strengthens the discriminatory views and attitudes already existing in our society. This development ultimately leads to a social rollback and is a danger to our democracy.
In recent years, more and more organizations, activists, and initiatives have committed themselves to the fight against hate speech and digital violence. We welcome that! But now it is time to take the next step:
Digital violence and hate speech are problems for society as a whole, which is why we must make the fight to stop this form of violence against women a concern for all!
As experts, we are aware that digital violence and hate speech are complex problem areas. Our following list of demands is far from exhaustive, but they are a beginning and a call to actively change something!
More information on the demands and signatories* can be found at netzohnegewalt.org.
Support the call!
The best way to support the call against digital violence is to spread it yourself!
On social media you can use the Hashtag #WebWithoutViolence.