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What to do with backlash on social media

2 minutes

You may post something on your organisation’s social media channel about gender equality and prevention of violence against women and find that someone responds in a hostile way asking about violence against men. This is an example of backlash on social media — one of the most common ways to experience backlash. 

Some journalists who have high profile roles in reporting on violence against women can be the victims of threats and unpleasant, sometimes violent, online trolling.  

A stylised and fictional social media post that reads, 'What about violence against men? And why aren't we talking down on domestic violence in general? So much for equality.'

What should you do?

Challenging the culture, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women will result in some backlash.

Be prepared by: 

  • producing a social media response register with draft messages that can be used when you start posting content  
  • referencing relevant research on the topic and directing people to this research, if they require more information. 

Examples of how to handle backlash on social media

Below is an example of how to respond to a question, on social media, which asks ‘what about violence against men?’

We definitely agree that all violence is wrong, regardless of the sex of the victim or perpetrator. But there are distinct patterns in the perpetration and impact of violence that point to gender being a key factor.  

The overwhelming majority of acts of domestic violence and sexual assault are perpetrated by men against women and this violence is likely to have more severe impacts on female than male victims. This doesn’t diminish the experiences of male victims. But it does point to the need for an approach that looks honestly at what the research is telling us and addresses the gendered dynamics of violence — this is what Our Watch seeks to do.  

Thanks for joining the conversation. Here is some more information: www.ourwatch.org.au/understanding-violence/facts-and-figures. 

Facts and framing

Strategies for backlash and resistance