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They Blamed A Victim For Her Own Murder. Here's How Women Are Responding.

“Every woman deserves to be heard,” Instagram user @2day4night told BuzzFeed News. “And I think Russian women are little heard.”

Last updated on January 29, 2018, at 11:49 a.m. ET

Posted on January 27, 2018, at 9:08 p.m. ET

“This is not a reason to kill,” thousands of Russian social media users are saying in a hashtag that’s gone viral after an outcry broke out in the Russian media and online over a murder-suicide.

Instagram: @michelle_frolent

Tatyana Strakhova, a 19-year old university student, was violently murdered and raped by her roommate and former boyfriend Artem Iskhakov in Moscow earlier this month. Iskhakov posted on Russian social media site VKontakte describing the attack in gruesome detail before killing himself shortly afterward.

The incident become the subject of wide debate in Russia, as Strakhova’s social media presence turned into fodder for accusations that she provoked the attack. One opinion piece published by Dni.ru said that she “wasn’t as innocent as it might seem at first glance.” The piece featured photos from Strakhova's social media accounts of her drinking or posing in sexually suggestive positions.
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The incident become the subject of wide debate in Russia, as Strakhova’s social media presence turned into fodder for accusations that she provoked the attack. One opinion piece published by Dni.ru said that she “wasn’t as innocent as it might seem at first glance.” The piece featured photos from Strakhova's social media accounts of her drinking or posing in sexually suggestive positions.

Strakhova’s Instagram account is now filled with commenters arguing over her death, with some blaming her for the attack.

The social media protest began after Belarus-based blogger @2day4night posted a photo, with the hashtag #этонеповодубить, which translates “this is not a reason to kill.”

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@2day4night, who writes about feminism, body positivity, and sex positivity in her posts, told BuzzFeed News in an interview over Telegram that she created the hashtag in response to a “culture of violence” and “victim-blaming”.

“In our culture, the woman is blamed for everything,” she said. “If she killed this guy, she would be blamed. Kill her? It is her fault. Always blame the woman.” The hashtag has allowed some women to say “they do not want to blamed,” she said.

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@2day4night, who uses the name Nu Ta Anastasia on Instagram, asked not to be identified by her real name for fear of harassment.

She told BuzzFeed News that she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring.

“There is so much power, belief in freedom, so much pain,” the blogger said. “Every woman deserves to be heard. And I think Russian women are little heard.”

Over 6,000 images from inside Russia and beyond had been posted with the hashtag at the time of publishing.

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The posts are defiant, with many women posting exactly the kinds of photos – suggestive, partially nude, or with alcohol – that some say led to Sktrakhova’s murder.

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“Stop saying you have the right to kill us because we dare to live, have sex, have alcohol, drugs, do whatever with our own bodies that doesn’t harm people around us. [...] These horrors happen independent of us, they don’t happen because of us, and nobody, hear me, nobody is insured against it.”

Instagram: @pokacha_ann

"To hell with objectification! A body is just a body. Men need to stop perceiving women's bodies as something they’re owed, something they can get whenever they want."

Some posters said they were afraid.

Instagram: @cosmicinnamon

"And I’m scared. For myself, for friends, for women around me. Because if something like this happened to us, they will look for our vices, like how many sexual partners we’ve had, whether there are candid photos, use of alcohol and our behavior which could untie the hands (and member) of our offender."

Others wondered how men could justify their behavior.

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"Why is that that even in a situation like this people are trying to justify the murderer and the victim is guilty even after her death...I want for everyone to remember NO means NO."

Yet others placed the blame on toxic masculinity.

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"If you think that by putting your hands in a woman’s underwear you will become an alpha male or will convince her, I have sad news for you. You are a moral monster. If you think that by killing the object of your love, you will become a hero or a savior, then you are a moral monster. If you violate someone else's rights and humiliate a person, you are a moral monster."

Some posters also used the slogan “Times Up!” which women in Hollywood have rallied around following last year’s revelations about sexual misconduct and abuse by Harvey Weinstein and other high-profile men in the entertainment industry.

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“Time’s up! Let’s end the times when murdered or raped women are judged for their profiles on social media and justify criminals. Let’s accept women’s freedom to not love and not want, to deny and ignore. Let’s respect each other. Let’s judge the criminals and not the victims."

The uproar comes less than a year after Russia decriminalized domestic abuse.

Roughly 40,000 Russian women are the victims of domestic abuse each year, according to a recent report in the Moscow Times, which cited statistics from Russia's interior ministry. One woman is killed every 40 minutes as a result of domestic violence in Russia, according to statistics reported by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Despite the decriminalization of domestic abuse, @2day4night said things were slowly changing. “If 5 years ago I said what we say now...I probably would have had no support,” she said.

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She said that small steps like speaking out on social media could lead to big changes. “It forces society to reconsider the status of women and start treating women seriously.”

“Now we got [the] right to talk about pain. And it’s a good first step.”

Jane Lytvynenko contributed reporting to this post.

CORRECTION

@2day4night is Belorussian. A previous headline on this story mistakenly referred to the Intagram user as Russian.

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