Stop Targeted Abuse and Harassment of Women on Social Media
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"You R***i L*** Ch***le! You deserve to be R***d M******ed!" Welcome to our world of abusive online existence.
Dear Policymakers, Digital Platforms, Bystanders and Harassers,
The Internet is a public platform, viewed as an open, transparent, democratic and equal platform used by all sections of society. Social media forms a large part of our professional and personal lives but with it, comes digital harassment and targeted abuse. The same protection we employ to keep our surroundings safe and safeguard our civic society is also required for our digital neighbourhood.
Today content creators, stand-up comedians, storytellers and actors, as well as, all women who voice their opinion strongly, are constantly targeted with vulgar memes, abusive sexual comments, bullying, name-calling and graphic images. Death and rape threats are the new normal for most women on social media. Silence and inaction towards curtailing these have only further fed into the rape culture where threats of abuse have become matters of everyday occurrences.
Currently, our only options are to ignore or Report/Block and move on with our lives. But nothing substantial comes out of this and these perpetrators of abuse continue to thrive and spread hate. They even have thousands and millions of followers and fan pages, thus, systematically normalising an environment of misogyny, homophobia and abuse. These virtual public spaces are a reflection of the real public places, where women are made to feel unsafe.
Women in India have been conditioned to silence their fears, anxieties, traumas and targeted abuse. This becomes our way of life, but not without impacting our sanity, mental health, self-worth and dignity.
Let this be our wake-up call towards the unsafe online environment that women content creators - and all women - are living in today. We must put a hard stop at this. PRESS HERE!
We must create an environment that shields us against abusive trolling, rape threats, and vulgar memes. We, on behalf of all women on social media, demand that the social media platforms create an environment where threatening and abusing women is not celebrated and championed by thousands of followers and a rape joke is deemed unacceptable and intolerable. We want the violators to pay a price commensurate to the havoc they create on women's lives.
We need strong deterrents; we need an end to the impunity that exists against online violence and abuse against women. We, the concerned citizens, of all genders, demand a safe and equal space for women online. SIGN THE PETITION
To All Harassers We Say, Enough Is Enough!
Here’s What We Want:
We demand a safe space for women in all public forums and social media like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc. An environment where abusive trolling, rape threats, vulgar memes about us will not be tolerated. The existing provisions of the law that protect women against sexual harassment and abuse must be effectively deployed to fight online harassment and abuse. For that, we demand intermediary liability and redressal in the below-mentioned contexts :
a) We ask all leading content platforms to be responsible for the hate, targeted abuse and harassment meted out through their platform and employ stringent measures to check and correct and be liable and accountable for any such activity on their platforms. We want robust fact-checking, language flags, account monitoring and a more efficient redressal system.
b) The platforms cannot disclaim their responsibility for the content and must invest in employing enough resources to promptly deal with complaints and reports pertaining to the intimidation of women.
c) Platforms must take steps to ensure that such a flagged person is not permitted to make new accounts or go private with their existing accounts that continue to violate any laws under the Indian Penal Code.
We also need speedier responsiveness from cyber cells, meeting a requirement to respond within 24 hours to complaints regarding abusive and threatening content so that the said platform can disable them.
We hereby encourage Freedom of Speech, Preventive culture and Bystander intervention so that we are no longer silent spectators of gender abuse and hate speech on the internet.
This is our active citizenship right and women's safety is a social responsibility.
The time is now to choose a side! We can choose the path of safety or be mere spectators to the abuse our women face online.
Let’s come together and proudly stand for #IndiaAgainstAbuse.
Save the Children
Women in Cinema Collective
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