dpa on News24, photo: iStock
Sydney - Women in Australia are fighting back against online male abusers by joining together and naming and shaming so-called "trolls" in a Twitter campaign launched on Friday.
Around 1 100 women joined the secret Facebook group in just a few hours of it launching, publishing on Twitter the names of more than 150 men who used social media to abuse Australian feminist columnist Clementine Ford.
Ford has long received aggressive threatening sexist abuse for the columns she writes, but the abuse reached a crescendo after Ford struck back earlier this week and named an abuser who called her a "slut" online.
Ford found the abuser's Facebook site and sent a message to his employer telling them of his abuse. Several racist and sexist comments were also on his Facebook site.
He was sacked the next day, the company saying it did not condone that type of behaviour.
Social media attacks intensified after the incident, condemning Ford for causing a man to lose his job. Comments included "go into the bathroom and kill yourself" and "bitches like you are the reason why some men are prone to violence".
Ford responded that the man was "responsible for his own actions". Other women who have been similarly abused and threatened online have joined the initiative.
Columnist Kerri Sackville was one of the people behind the Facebook site on Wednesday gathering names of abusers under the Twitter hashtag #EndViolenceAgainstWomen, first established as part of a UN campaign.
Within 20 minutes it was trending as the number one in Australia. ,p> "When you abuse one woman you abuse all of us," Sackville told the broadcaster ABC. Many men also joined the campaign to name and shame online abusers.
The names of online abusers, so-called "trolls", are being collected by the group and the worst and most consistent offenders outed on the Twitter campaign site.
"They feel they can be in the public arena without any fear or consequence or retribution and I want men to know we are watching," Sackville said.