India: Women speak up on Facebook trolls

17:39 Sep 15 2015 Kerala, India

As more and more Indian women become vocal in the online space, they are increasingly the target of online abuse. Some are ordinary citizens. Some are well-known. Sagarika Ghose, a journalist with CNN-IBN who is vocal on Twitter and has 608,000 followers, has repeatedly received threats of rape. In 2012, Meena Kandasamy, a poet and activist, was threatened with acid attacks and “televised gang rapes” when she wrote about a Dalit festival where beef was served. Eating beef is a taboo among upper caste Hindus, and Kandasamy was attacked for writing about eating beef.

The abuse is often sexist, according to a 2013 study by the non-profit, Internet Democracy Project. The researchers did detailed interviews with 17 Indian women active in the online space, either on Facebook or Twitter or on blogs. Richa Kaul Padte, one of the study authors, recorded death and rape threats as well as sexualized messages and gender based slurs.
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