By Sasa Milosevic ( Global Voices)
The Serbian Public Prosecutor, in cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, conducted an investigation into the case of a Serbian Facebook group “Death to Women“ (“Smrt ženama”), which was propagating hatred towards women.
According to the Serbian daily Press,Tomo Zoric, spokesman of the Serbian Prosecutor’s Office, said:
The group “Death to Women” is currently under investigation, along with other groups that call for violence. Unfortunately, Facebook was not founded in Serbia, and sometimes it is difficult to identify the founders. We are trying to establish cooperation with other countries.
In the first 24 hours after the group was set up, more than 450 people became members, posting some very abusive slogans:
“Stop women’s abominations, fraud and deception!“; “You want to be equal with men, to do men’s jobs, but not to obey men!“; “They [women] are cowards who do not deserve to live!“; “Let’s beat and kill women!”
The group’s page was overflowing with photos of tortured and mutilated women, as well as men “in action,“ brutally beating women whose faces were covered in black and blue bruises.
Very aggressive tone was detected in a message directed at one of the group’s opponents:
We’re not gays, I swear by the venerable Cross that we are not gays, but we will not tolerate women while they are taking the money out of our pockets making asses out of us. Okay, you defend them and you will end up in the grave with them.
Bobana Macanovic, an activist of the Autonomous Women’s Centre, concluded that the group was the most horrible evidence of the thesis that aggression had become the way of communication in the Serbian society. She stressed that violence often went unpunished, revealing that 26 women ended in obituaries since the beginning of this year as victims of abusive partners.
Psychologist Maya Antončić said it was not an insignificant fact that this group emerged in the month that saw an explosion of violence in Belgrade’s streets during the Gay Pride Parade. But she was more worried about the number of the “fans.” She observed:
This group pays attention to the fact that violence against women exists, and still there are people who do not hesitate to publicly denounce women as weaker and less worthy beings who deserve to suffer violence.
In an article published in Kurir, Neven Cveticanin, a sociologist from the Institute of Social Sciences, pointed out that this phenomenon was a reflection of the general situation in the society. She saw it as an expression of social frustration and a form of violence against the minorities.
The editorial staff of Kurir alarmed the Serbian police about the issue, asking them to take the necessary measures against the group.
One of the earliest responses to this cruel anti-women group was establishing an alternative Facebook group – “Let’s Get Rid of the Group ‘Death to Women’” (“Ukinimo Grupu ‘smrt Zenama'”) – which currently has over 5,400 members.
The founders of this group are Serbian women of all ages, but there are also men supporting them. The administrator expressed joy after the sexist group had been deleted and wrote this to members:
How are you today, after “Death to Women” has been successfully deleted and after finding that the public prosecutor’s office will react? … Would anyone competent have responded if the report had not appeared in the Kurir?
Daliborka Kisic does not trust the Serbian police too much:
Yes, but the police said they believed that it was a joke and that they would react if something happened to a woman, if someone was being attacked…
Ana Milosevic is also pessimistic:
Come on, people, there is none of that, our cops do not react when a husband beats his woman to death. … People, we live in a “rotten” country.
Nebojsa Tešević sharply criticizes the story about “safe home” for victims of domestic violence as an expression of powerlessness in the Serbian society:
I would rather initiate an investigation against these broadcasters and the money they collect to build shelters for women, the victims of violence. The country, through the media, admits that the police do not have the courage to deal with bullies, but move women to a safe shelter. Very soon, mass murderers will walk around the city and the police, to avoid going out confront to them, will look at Facebook to build a safe house for all citizens.
Nadaibrane Kutanjac asked:
I do not know what fool came up with the idea of “Death to Women.” I guess she/he has a mother … but we, mothers, have made a mistake and brought idiots [into this world] ………
Biljana Milivojevic-Lajtner is shocked:
Coincidentally, I have heard on the radio about the “Death to women” group. They have also mentioned female children … it is terrible … horrible … I have no words…
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story.
It seems that the Serbian Prosecutor’s Office and the Serbian police will be very busy in next few months, hunting Serbian misogynists who have set up groups similar to the “Death to Women” group: e.g., “Death to Fat Women” (“SMRT DEBELIM ZENAMA!!!”) and “All Women are Whores” (“sve su zene kurve -.-“). For now, these groups continue to exist on Facebook and their membership is growing every day.
On the other hand, 350 female members have set up a Facebook group “Death to Men” (“SmRt MuSkArCimA”), propagating abusive treatment of the “stronger sex.” This page is also flooded with photos of violence and torture. Some of the men who struggled to “neutralize” the “Death to Women” group are now disappointed by such “targeting” of the male population of Facebook.
Stefan Srpski Vuk Mitrović writes:
Excuse me, why do we deserve this, as a group? We have fought for three days to terminate “Death to Women” and we’ve succeeded in it. Thank you. Regards from the “Wolves.” We will continue to be against violence towards women.
Alekasandra Demirovic reminds her fellow netizens:
Stephen is absolutely right. This is not fair to those men who were with us and helped us to put out “Death to Women.”
It seems that user Idealno Losa has found the best solution for stopping the Facebook war between women and men:
Yes … this is completely wrong. We need to show that we are much more normal than those dimwits. …Helloooo, delete the group! …