Let’s talk about an uncomfortable topic- Cyber Harassment
Many of you follow me Facebook/ Twitter. You would know that this happened:
Online harassment is a topic that has bothered me for a long time now. It’s a menace that has impacted & unfortunately also taken many lives. Laws are slightly unclear in this regard. People don’t have clarity in the processes & how to create paper trails. There’s apprehension about approaching the police as they might ask uncomfortable questions. All these factors together result in abusers getting away scott free. It emboldens them.
There are rape threats being sent to women. Vulgar messages on Facebook are a regular feature. Almost every woman on the platform has received them at some point. Morphed pictures or fake profiles are on the rise. Young school going kids are being targeted by these harassers to kidnap or blackmail them.
The threat is real. If you feel that you are too smart & it will never impact you, let me tell you, IT WILL. Sooner than you know. If you use any social media platform/ have friends who use social media platform, use email, possess a smart phone, or even use wifi – You are vulnerable to cyber harassment & fraud.
Few months ago, I had shared my story of meeting a sociopath online. You can read it here: http://akanchasrivastava.com/sociopath/love-trauma-life-with-a-sociopath/
He managed to create an identity for himself only because digital media gives a veil of anonymity that is often impenetrable. It doesn’t take much to create a website, false addresses, gmail ids and there you are- a person with a 360 degree personality. You can read about 5 simple steps to create a business that doesn’t exist, here: http://akanchasrivastava.com/life/5-steps-to-building-a-successful-business-that-doesnt-exist/
I was lucky & brave to have fought my circumstances. I stood up, spoke up & became a symbol of strength to victims worldwide. I am grateful for that opportunity. But, what about public at large who may have fallen too deep into the trap of emotional abuse? Pedophiles scanning your childrens’ picture or abusive inbox messages?
Anyone who’s been vocal about their views on social media has certainly faced some kind of wrath. How do you protect yourself from this abuse? How do you identify, prevent, report & resolve these issues?
This is my battle against online harassment: Akancha Against Harrassment! #AAH
I want to make sure that every abuser is punished. Every pepetrator is shamed & online is a safe place to interact.
In this effort, I joined hands with the Cyber Crime Police. The first of the series of workshops was held in Mumbai on February 25th, 2017. Raghuvir KCS: ACP, Cyber Crime, Hyderabad joined me in having a conversation & addressing questions.
Raghuvir KCS: Additional Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime, Hyderabad
Here are important ten points for your take away from this exercise:
- The shame of abuse ALWAYS lies with the perpetrator. NEVER with the victim.
- The day you speak up, you have passed that shame back to the perpetrator
- The law is on your side, the cops are on your side, you have all the support you need to fight back abusers. Never believe otherwise.
- Take some time to learn about prevention like: Never upload your young kids’ pictures, never check-in in real time, never reveal your holiday schedule, do not accept stranger’s requests on Facebook etc
- Do not use public wifi for checking sensitive emails or doing financial transactions.
- All major cities have women cops in the Cyber Crime unit. Its your right to request for a lady cop to be present during questioning.
- If you feel that you are not being understood clearly by the Cyber Police team, find out about their senior officials & escalate the issue. All senior Cyber teams are now online & they take these issues seriously.
- Simply outraging about abuse on social media will not help. Its critical to take necessary action.
- Learn about what is & isn’t a punishable offense. (I will publish a blog with description of offences like harassment/sexual harassment/ abuse etc)
- Build a circle of trust. It could be your friends, family or whoever you trust. Immediately inform them of any incident fo abuse & seek help. Remember, life is precious & let nobody in the world make you feel otherwise.
I want to thank every single person who supported me in this battle. There are too many to thank!
This is only the start. I will take this workshop to different cities & do every bit in raising awareness on the issue. I am taking these online harassers to the cleaners. Please support me?
Video with an overview of the workshop is here:
Special thanks to GOQii, Doolally Tap Room, Cube & IRealities!
With love, light & hope,