How Bad Can Online Sexual Harassment Get?

By Vasundhara Dudeja in Editor's Pick 31/07/2018

Eight out of ten people in India are victims of some form of online harassment, cyberbullying and cyberstalking. One horrible story is just a minuscule example of the horror of harassment that echoes in every woman’s life, a woman who chooses to live by her rights – her rights to expression, to justice, and to live as a free citizen by making freely her choices within the contours of the law.

 

Mehek Singh is a 37-year-old teacher. Over a year back, a man who goes by the name of Sonu Sharma used to come over to her house to teach their family Yoga. Sonu had started troubling Mehek by stalking her so the family immediately took action and filed a complaint against him.

 

Six months later, Mehek’s phone got stolen and a few days after that, she learned that her relatives were receiving odd messages from her account. The thief was the accused Sonu Sharma and in order to avenge her for filing a complaint against him before, he had started harassing her online. She went to the police again but refrained from filing an FIR to protect her reputation in front of her family from the obscenity of this person.

 

 

 

Online Sexual HarassmentFake Instagram Pages

 

Once, the situation started getting worse, she changed her mind and went ahead with filing an FIR. This opened yet another series of harassment by the police. Online harassment had escalated to death threats to her, her daughter, and her colleagues. It was verging on physical threats and was breaching her workspace by affecting her pupils.

 

 

 

 

Online Sexual HarassmentFake Facebook Pages

 

Reporting and shutting down the vulgarity filled accounts on Facebook and Instagram was a long process, especially when this lewd person was making accounts twice or thrice a day defaming her through derogatory comments.

 

“Our legal system doesn’t work unless you have contacts in the right places.”

 

After a long battle with herself, Mehek realized she had two options either to give up or to keep her chin up and fight back. She pursued the case with the DCP and subsequently got in touch with the Cyber Crime Cell and National Women Commission.

 

On further investigation, it was found out that the accused was an absconding convict booked under various offenses including domestic harassment and rape. Currently, the case has progressed in terms of investigation, yet the situation of online harassment has worsened.

 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has a dedicated email address (complaint-mwcd@gov.in) intended to curtail online abuse against women by addressing every complaint that is received on the e-mail of the ministry which is forwarded either to the concerned social media platform or to the Cyber Crime Cell for necessary action’. 100 complaints have been registered despite the overwhelming number of women facing abuse through online media.

 

Mehek is an exception, who didn’t settle down to do the easy thing and give up but stuck to doing what is right. Her voice is one among millions of women who are horribly defamed by the likes of Sonu Sharma for doing the right thing and speaking out.

 

She, along with her family, is absolutely petrified yet her courage is not lost. Every day, she goes about in fighting what is wrong. Mehek is truly an inspiration for every woman out there who faces abuse, to come out and fight and we wish her all the luck for her battle.

 

Vasundhara is an in-house content creator. Other than past experiences of writing including writing as an Intern for The Hindu and various other platforms, she is also an engineer, a dancer, and a bibliophile.

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