This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Baldeep Grewal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

9 Ways To Deal With Cyber Harassment And Unwanted ‘Fraandsheep’ Requests On Facebook

More from Baldeep Grewal

By Baldeep Grewal:

‘Mujhey lagta tha ki pariaan siraf jannat mein hoti hain… but apki photu dekh ke saakshaat darshan ho gaye. Aap ne meri soch badal di. Will you fraandsheep me fairy?’
(I thought angels could only be found in heaven… after seeing your picture I saw one for myself. You have changed my thinking. )

This message in my friend’s Facebook inbox had us both in splits. There were many more such earnest requests for ‘fraandsheep’. Some even took it to the next level and proposed marriage outright. Many Indian girls who use Facebook find their accounts plagued by such messages every now and then. Some who don’t are either boys using a fake profile or blessed with a misleading Punjabi name like mine.


What starts out as a mildly annoying string of messages soon develops into bigger issues. Male egos are hurt, female egos are bolstered and users are lucky to be able to walk away from the mess that is created. A disturbingly large number of crimes like acid attacks, abductions, rapes etc. started out as a seemingly harmless message on facebook. Saying ‘no’ is not the only solution. One needs to know how to say it so that things don’t turn sour. Here are a few tips:

– Ignore the message and block the person. In most cases, the offender messages around 10-20 girls at a time. He definitely would not bother to follow up on each one of his messages. Even if he does, continue to ignore. The person might start messaging you from a different account or might even get hold of your phone number by posing as your friend from people on your friend list. In order to know what to do in that case, read on.

– Reply in the manner of a formal question like ‘Do I know you?’ Refrain from being aggressive or insulting.

– The reply to your query will obviously not be in affirmative. Very politely but firmly, tell the person that you do not talk to strangers and ask them to not message you again. It is very important to keep one’s cool and not be offensive. Use words like ‘please’ and ‘kindly’. Speaking from personal experience, being polite actually makes the other person respect you and leave you alone. Like they say, what goes around comes around.

– In case the messages still don’t stop revert to the first step – ignore the messages. In all probability, they will stop.

– If you continue to face harassment and are starting to feel threatened, approach your parents, teachers or any other older member of the family. They will handle the situation for you effectively and efficiently. It’s just one of those magical things that parents and teachers are capable of.

– In case you do not want to approach your parents, note down the email ID/phone number of the offender and submit it to the nearest women help centre. If you have active NSS or Women’s Empowerment societies in your college approach them with your problem. Contact details of the offender may also be submitted to the authorities by calling on the women helpline number: 01123817100. Another helpline is 1091. Be open with the details and do not hold back any information that you have on the offender. Confide in your friends. Do not feel embarrassed in complaining about such harassment. You are the victim here and being passive would only encourage the perpetrator.

– If you have a lot of free time you can even create a fake account and message the offender as your own boyfriend. Oh, the joys of the internet.

– Refer to the person as ‘bhaiya’ (brother) in your replies. Being bro-zoned is the ultimate terror of every male. In order to save face, he will stop messaging you altogether or slink out of your facebook inbox with a sheepish ‘sori sister’. On Raksha Bandhan I was in the general compartment of the metro. I was extremely irritated by the constant stares of the men standing around me. My friend got off at her stop and as she was leaving I called out ‘If any man stares at you, tie a Rakhi on his wrist’. The rest of my journey in the metro was comfortably stare-free.

– Do not succumb to the common notion that aggressiveness and use of derogatory language is the best solution to harassment. Such behavior seems to work in cases where the offender tries to intimidate the victim in person. One’s body language emphasizes the aggressiveness; making the victim seem like someone who is not easily intimidated. The internet is a world where words are disguises. Cyber harassment offenders generally have deep-seated insecurities about their personalities. The keyboard gives them an opportunity to hide these insecurities and pose as a larger than life figure. Abusive replies would fuel these insecurities and invite extremely aggressive reactions from the offenders. Understanding the psychology of the person one is dealing with is very important.

Ours is a big, bad world and it pays to be careful. Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know personally. Adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view your pictures and posts. Refrain from striking up conversations with strangers on social networking sites. Don’t have any qualms about friend-zoning and bro-zoning. If a boy thinks you are obligated to say yes to him just because he is ‘nice’ to you he deserves to be friend-zoned.

The cyber world is like the ‘Hunger Games’ arena and before one steps in, they should have their wits about them as well as a cool head. Happy cyber games and may the odds be ever in your favor.

You must be to comment.
  1. Aditi Thakker

    You have made some very valid comments. I think it is very important to understand that rude behaviour towards stalkers only agitates them further! Better safe than sorry!

  2. Raj

    I don’t think FB messages lead to acid attacks and rapes, those are serious crimes by deranged individuals and I wouldn’t trivialize them. As far as FB is concerned, you can block people and even disable receiving messages from the public in general. You can also choose to receive messages only from friends of friends, which is a pretty good option.
    And tying a rakhi to a stranger in order to prevent stalking is one of the silliest suggestions I have ever heard. I would strongly recommend you not try that.

    1. Baldeep Grewal

      stalking is not limited to face book. If you block somebody it does not guarantee that they cannot contact you in some other way. And tying a rakhi wasn’t the solution I was suggesting here. Just trying to lighten the mood, not reincarnating as asaaram bapu 😀

    2. Raj

      Dude, the way you put it, it looked like you were really advocating that. Let’s hope someone doesn’t actually follow it 😛

    3. Baldeep Grewal

      hopefully people will read the opinions as well as the article 😛

  3. Saumya Sahni

    This is really helpful guide. Will keep all of this in mind while I next come across any such instances.

  4. The Superstitious Atheist

    It is funny how a woman has to take precautions for what a man might do. Your suggestions seem apt except the bro-zoned one. I don’t think it will deter them.
    I got called a slut twice from a random stranger for ignoring his “Hi”. I continue to ignore, random idiots can’t do anything as I am pretty careful with the information I share on the internet.

    1. Raj

      It is funny how violently men are bullied on the Internet but hardly people care. Justin Beiber has been horribly abused and threatened but people think it is funny.
      And even I have been abused by insane fanatics (men and women) by being called a rapist, murderer, molester etc. and also have been threatened with anal violation and genital mutilation.

    2. Baldeep Grewal

      chill! they are just words. A string of alphabets strung together with logic and reason. haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, its impossible to reduce one’s weight 🙂

    3. Raj

      Yes I know, which is why I’m still alive and kicking on the internet!

    4. The Superstitious Atheist

      It might be so hard for you to walk out there thinking you might suddenly get jumped upon right? ^^
      Sorry sweetheart, women have the short end of the stick, we sympathise with men who have it rough but cannot empathise and neither can you. So, stop arguing with every person you find on YKA because frankly, you only seem to do that.

    5. Raj

      Of course I argue but I do have valid points. So if you can come up with a well-constructed intellectual counter-argument, then go ahead. But asking me to shut up and nod in agreement, that’s fascism.
      Yes I have been attacked in the past, so you can be assured that I am more careful than others. And no, both men and women have had it bad. It’s just that our sexist society treats men as disposable, so nobody is surprised when men get killed or injured. But it’s pretty obvious that men have always been victims of violence in much larger numbers that women, even today. But unlike those who play gender politics, I believe all lives are precious and I don’t consider one more valuable than the other.

    6. Baldeep Grewal


    7. Jon

      You probably have no idea about the scale and magnitude of sexual violence that men face from other men in India. There are thousands of closeted/confused homosexuals in our midst who have probably developed signs of latent homosexuality because of their inability to associate normally with women and the resulting sexual frustation. Every year dozens of new freshers are sodomised in ragging rituals in Engineering and Medical colleges by frustrated closeted seniors, every year hundreds of young male prisoners are sodomised and anally raped with objects and sticks by Police/Prison guards and deranged fellow prisoners.

    8. Baldeep Grewal

      yep our society is hilarious like that

  5. Manan Grover

    When we say that awareness should be spread amongst youngsters on how to tackle cyber stalking, it is these solutions and steps one has to keep in mind and follow. Facebook today is becoming a necessary evil has to be dealt with very carefully. One should not go overboard with posting private information and intimate photos. Also privacy settings should be kept as tight as possible and in my opinion everybody should make their content visible to only their friend list, not even friends of friends.

    1. Raj

      Fully agreed

More from Baldeep Grewal

Similar Posts

By aashirya anand

By Bollywood Jhol

By aashirya anand

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below