#MeToo – #DigitalAbuse Against Women Must Stop

There is a mistaken belief that #DigitalAbuse cannot be harmful, it is not real, serious or potentially lethal as physical abuse. Increasingly rogue elements use digital tools to harass and cause irreparable harm. We already know the extreme harm that can occur financially, and organizations have taken this threat seriously and taken measures to prevent such abuse. However, we haven’t given serious attention to digital abuse targeted towards someone’s reputation and their identity in the community. And because in patriarchal societies, a woman’s reputation can make or break her whole life, such abuse is often targeted towards women. In India, women politicians also often become a target of digital abuse by their male colleagues from opposition. The permanence of digital content makes it all the more harmful. Often perpetrators of domestic abuse try to sully a woman’s reputation when she seeks exit out of abusive relationships. I have first hand experience with such digital abuse.

Recently, that is also what was done by #BulliBai app. The app targeted Muslim women activists, journalists, politicians, actors and engineers. Faces of these women were attached to pornographic bodies and fake auction was created. This will not change UNLESS we all speak up against it and express vehement opposition and outrage. Else, tomorrow it will be our daughters who will be dealing with this crap. You may have impeccable reputation and yet be a target of digital abuse. It renders you completely helpless. I have experienced it and I am asking all of us to take a stand against all forms of abuse including those where overwhelmingly women are the target. I had written a poem (http://bit.ly/WyY4zf) in support of #Nirbhaya, a young woman who was brutally raped while riding in a public bus, by 6 men and was then killed, in Delhi. I have written a similar poem and I am sharing it below.

Stand with me, my brothers and my sisters

pile of female multiracial hands in union sign

My brothers, it is for your safety
I pray and tie this band, my rakhi
Will you now speak for me, be outraged?
My safety’s in peril, my soul damaged

I have resilience and verve 
Just asking for what I deserve
You’ve always praised my beauty
I’m asking now basic human dignity

One day, for paving the path, they’ll thank me
Your daughters who come after me
Their journey made easier minus many sorrows
For I took on my heart, the insults and arrows

When they turn the pages of history
With reverence, they’ll remember me
Perhaps they’ll thank you too
Stand with me for them, will you?

My sisters, we fight misogyny
Our battles are same, hate and bigotry
Let no one divide us by race
Or religion, status or class

Muslim Christian Sikh or Hindu
When men battle, first target is me and you
It’s the same story, here and in Ethiopia
Liberia, Bosnia, Turkey or Rwanda

Let’s pave the path forward together
So our daughters are safer
Walking the streets or surfing online
And safer riding a bus across town

Genocides & hate are things of the past
They’ll say, ‘cause women took a stand
For when a woman supports a woman 
It saves countries, communities and men

, ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: