The offender’s perception of you does not have to be your actual identity, what matters is that they think that it is or that they see you as a representative of a group of people who do identify as such.
Hate crimes can be the motive for a crime both on the internet and in the offline world. If the situation you are subjected to can be connected to the motive of hate crimes, it gives a stricter punishment for the person who subjected you. There is an international consensus that the behavior is due to a lack of respect for human rights and equality of all people.
Hate crimes on the internet
Hate crimes is a collective term for all crimes that are committed based on racist, anti-religious, homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic beliefs. Hate crimes can be any type of crime that has hate as the motive: for example vandalism, harassment, abuse, assault, and murder.
Two crimes that are always considered hate crimes according to the law of hate speech (Swedish Penal Code 16 § 8) and unlawful discrimination (Swedish Penal Code 16 § 9) because the hate motive is embedded in the nature of the crimes. The hate crime legislation also applies on the internet.
Everything that is written on your wall, under your pictures, in your messages, on your Snapchat, or about you in other forums, and is experienced as uncomfortable or offensive and can be connected to ethnicity, belief, sexual orientation, or transgender identity or expression can be seen as a hate crime.
Advice Never answer in affect!
Never answer in affect. Don't answer the person who is attacking you by attacking them back. Just ask them to stop. A lot of the time you don't want to answer at all, which is more than understandable. But to file a police report, it can be important that you can prove that you asked the person to stop, even when it comes to sexual harassment.
Advice Gather digital evidence
Document and save everything that can be used to investigate what has happened.
Advice File a police report!
File a police report, even if it does not lead to a charge, it’s important to report so that statistics can show that the internet is for real.
Advice Harassment (bullying) can be discrimination
Advice Never answer threats!
Don't answer! It can escalate the situation and make the legal process more difficult. Always file a police report.
Advice Report offensive posts and comments to administrators
If you read offensive and inappropriate posts or comments on social media, you can always report this to the administrators
Advice Remove comments
You can always remove other people's comments from your posts or pictures on social media. You can even remove or edit your own comments on other people's posts.
Experiencing hate crimes
Sometimes the person who is attacking you does not explicitly say that they are doing it because you are LGBTQ, racialized, or religious. Sometimes you can understand that you are experiencing a hate crime because the person chooses to attack you and not your colleagues, classmates, or friends.
You may experience a feeling that is gnawing at you and that is difficult to pinpoint, if you have not experienced marginalization or discrimination. Your experience is important, get support so that you have the energy to stand up for your experiences of the underlying reasons that you are being subjected to this.
You have the right to support from your employer, school, organization or your friends that should be working hard to be good allies. The most common hate crime has xenophobic or racist motives. In statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, it appears that threats and hate affect all people who are included in the hate crime legislation to a much greater extent than others.
It is important to find the motive for the violations and harassment because the responsibility and measures that your school, organization, association, or workplace take should be more comprehensive if the crime has a hate crime motive.
Advice Cyber hate as a result of membership in an organization or association, report!
As a member of an organization or an association, they have the responsibility for you and the cyber hate that can occur as a result of the membership. If they don't have action plans for the internet, they should deal with that right away.
Advice Employers have investigative responsibility for your work that is online
If you experience mistreatment in your work, your employer always has investigative responsibility. File a report right away. Refer to the labor law. Support and help.
Advice Schools have the responsibility to investigate, even on the internet!
Report directly to the school and contact your guardians. Even if they think it is bullying, it can be harassment according to the law. Make sure you get the right support and investigation.
Advice Take your mental health seriously
Put your mental health first. Sometimes, it can be important to take a break from social media accounts. Let someone else take care of or clear out your social media.
If you are not heard or listened to
When you share your experiences or your fears in a situation of hate or threats, there is always the risk that the people who are in positions of responsibility do not understand or do not want to take in the fact that you may have experienced a hate crime.
Maybe they do not have experience of your type of discrimination. This type of behavior is called gaslighting and is not okay! Seek support and help from organizations that specifically work with the type of unfair treatment or ground of discrimination that you are experiencing, so that you can get the right support to take this further within your organization, school, workplace, or association.
Your experience of the situation is the most important and should never be excused, however well-meaning people think they are. Always take it further to get the right support and a good response!
For those of you who want support in starting a direct action
You can also download our micro activism poster and send it to your school, organization, association, or workplace. The Cyber Hate Assistant’s micro activism posters will provide the information that they are missing and should take seriously. If you print out the PDF file, you can send it anonymously, or post it as a note in the break room.
If you want to respond or give comebacks, at the Cyber Hate Assistant, we think that you should. You have the right to stand up for yourself. We want to advise you not to write in affect, but instead to take a micro-pause from the situation and think about what you want to answer. Read through your text one more time before publishing. Partly because we are all active in creating the conversation culture on the internet – inclusive conversations are something we all should contribute to. And partly because of the fact that if someone violates or harasses you on the internet and you answer them in the same way in affect – their behavior stops being a criminal act.
For those of you who want to file a report or help someone else file a report
You can get help filing a police report at the Cyber Hate Assistant. It is important to consider that if the hate crime was aimed at an individual, that person must file the report. If the crime falls under the title of hate speech, everyone can file a report. It is often easier for people who are not a target for hate crimes to have the energy to file a report and pursue a case of hate speech. This is a way of being a good ally.
BRÅ, Gothenburg’s Human Rights Center, Chapter 29§ 2:7 Swedish Penal Code, aggravating circumstances