Online harassment is nothing new, and it is something hunters have had to put up with ever since we started posting things on social media. Personally, I have received a handful of death threats and have been called every name in the book as well as being compared to a Nazi guard at Autzwichs. I usually shake my head and move on with my life, because what can I do?
For those of us living in the US their is not much we can do. The social media companies do not really seem to care how bad hunter harassment is, and for the most part there is nothing law enforcement can do. However, if you live in Germany you can take advantage of their strict online harassment laws.
Conservation Frontlines wrote an article detailing a young German hunter’s ordeal and how she turned the tables on her harassers and made them pay, literally.
Back in 2018, a female hunter known as Waidfräulein, which means “young lady of the forest,” posted a picture of herself after a successful fox hunt. It did not take long for anti-hunters to swarm her post and rack up thousands of nasty posts.
She did not take the harassment sitting down. Instead, she teamed up with the German Hunting Association and got lawyers involved. Not only did criminal charges get filed against the anti-hunters but also suits for civil damages and injunctive relief was filed.
It took two and a half years but in the end die Waidfräulein came out victorious, with around 50 rulings that slapped her harassers with criminal charges, fines, and civil restitution.
One guilty party, who used a derogatory term for the female sexual organ, has to fork out €3,800 ($4,675) in court costs, legal expenses, and compensation. Derogatory terms like Miststück, loosely, translated as bitch, and Abschaum, scum earned abusers penalties of €3,300 each. Others have to make payments of between €1,000 and €2,000 for less derogatory terms.
It is good to see some countries taking online harassment seriously. I am all for free speech, but there are lines that should not be crossed. A few years back a huntress committed suicide because of relentless online harassment. That sort of thing should never happen.