If you are someone like me who has faced “casual” online harassment and have been confused whether it’s “actually” harassment or you’re just overthinking, this article is for you.
I’m here today opening up about the so-called “mild” online harassment that every woman faces at a frequency she can’t even keep a count of. To be able to experience this, all you have to do is upload a picture of yourself on a social media platform of your choice.
Let’s take Instagram, for example. Any picture would do, but if there’s a little “skin-show” involved that’s the icing on the cake right there. Next thing you know, a random guy with a pretty display picture, to compensate for their uninteresting personality has slid into your DMs (Direct Messages) and throwing unsolicited explicit compliments (more like remarks) and shows a strong desire to befriend you. Congratulations, you have officially made it to Instagram.
Having a meaningful conversation on a common subject is something we all don’t mind and that’s one of the reasons why we are on “social” media. But there’s a subset of our society typically comprising of desperate men of various age groups who have the audacity to try and force women into talking to them for their ulterior motives.
Sliding into DMs with so-called “thirsty” messages is just one small instance from a big pool of cybercrimes, but it could very well allude to cyberstalking, hateful speech, online threats, message bombing, nonconsensual intimate content sharing, online trolling and impersonation. These crimes are not gender or age-restricted, but women are usually on the receiving end of such misconducts.
While the subject of cybercrimes has been well acknowledged and is being addressed in this new social age, sometimes, we as women fail to understand what we are being subjected to.
There are two ways to deal with online harassment — either turn a blind eye to it and be unbothered as most Indian parents would prescribe, or you give it back and put these harassers in their place. It’s important not to be bothered about coming off as too rude, impolite, unfriendly, not lady-like, arrogant, oversensitive, unconventional, etc.
So, what do you do when you feel uncomfortable in this regard and you’re confused about your next steps:
We must know where to draw a line and don’t give in to the online noise around us. I’m not the first one acknowledging this issue and I most certainly won’t be the last one.