India: anonymous online harassment

17:29 Jul 24 2015 New Delhi, Delhi, India

An increasing number of women in India are being subject to anonymous online harassment. Anonymous because most of the social media profiles who engage in abusing are usually fake profiles. Take a look at any active social media profile of a woman and there will be a raft of obscene comments and threats directed toward her. Whether online or offline, India is hardly the safest place for women. Not even close to safe. According to a recent poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation, polling 370 gender specialists, India is the worst place to be a woman among G-20 nations. And in a country where women are overpowered, suppressed, and denied their value in their home and workplace, it should hardly come as a surprise that humiliation in the streets has extended to the virtual world. Their online lives are causing them severe emotional distress—at the hands of men who think a woman should just shut up, do her household chores, and take her place in his bed.

Still, the immediate Indian response is simply, “get off that social platform.” And it would be an all but unanimous response. In a country where dogma and prejudice still govern every action, the woman will be “advised” to step aside and carry on with her life.
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