A controversial Facebook community group ‘Bloke’s Advice’ has been shut down following mounting pressure from the Australian community.
The 200,000-strong group’s members were invited to share stories, anecdotes and jovial conversation — the sticking point being that some stories and anecdotes were seen to incite violence toward women, made light of domestic abuse and encouraged assault.
The invite-only group page garnered national attention after an organisation called The Red Heart Campaign started a petition via change.org for its removal. Campaign spokesperson Sherele Moody told Mashable Australia that their Facebook page received an intense level of vitriol and abuse after the petition launched.
Many of the ‘Bloke’s Advice’ members took to messaging Moody directly as well as commenting on posts aimed toward encouraging victims of domestic violence to speak out and seek help.
Despite an earlier statement from Facebook stating that the page would not be removed but that offensive comments and posts would be deleted, the page itself has now been removed entirely.
The ABC reports that a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the deletion of the page. “Since the recent media coverage of this group, there has been an increase in the number of posts that do violate our policies, and consequently the group has been removed,” he said.”Where there are a large number of posts in a group that violate our policies, we remove the entire group.”
Since its removal from Facebook, the organisation has created their own website and the group is requesting fiscal support from their members. Anyone can access the domain but only members who sign up get full access to the website.
Meanwhile, Moody is “very concerned that the people behind a page that incites sexual and domestic violence is asking Australians to donate money to help keep it in the business of harassing and demeaning women.”
“It’s an absolute slap in the face to the one in three Australian women who are subjected to male physical violence and it makes a mockery of the memories of each of the 41 Aussie women who have been killed by Australian men this year,” she said.
“If we have any hope of decreasing the sexist attitudes that underline violence against women in our country we need to hold every supporter of ‘Bloke’s Advice’ and similar forums to account.”
If you have experienced sexual abuse or related trauma, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting . In Australia, you can call the 1800 Respect national helpline 1800 737 732 or the Women’s Crisis Line on 1800 811 811 and the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.