While social media has really helped us out with staying in touch with friends and expanding our network, you can't deny that it has also brought a number of crimes with it. From dick pics to rape threats, women on the internet have received it all. And yet, we keep ignoring all of it and moving forward.
But instead of just letting it go, this one girl decided to do something about it. She asked the women on her friends' list to name and shame the creeps who harass them and started getting quick responses because let's accept it, it's a problem that every single girl connects with.
Swati Kankan compiled the submissions she was getting and started an album called 'Creeps on the Internet'. Every girl had a different story to tell and their stories will shock you and then make you realise just how common this is.
"I think every girl has received creepy messages from guys on Facebook. I do not understand why these people feel their comments on women’s bodies, appearances, or anything are wanted, and why they feel we should be grateful for their unsolicited compliments.
The submissions are for everyone to see and they will make you extremely annoyed:
1. "This guy blocked me after I told him to give me his girlfriend's number so I could talk to her. He did give me his own number for some reason, if anyone wants to know a creep!"
2. "This disgusting, pathetic guy is threatening a friend of mine right now. Anyone who wants to send him a message, feel free to. Don't let this sort of threatening behaviour become acceptable."
3. "I had three stalkers in my three years at the University of Delhi. I’m going to dedicate this post to one of them. You made my life really really difficult, buddy."
"He was everywhere. If he wasn’t, his friends were. They’d give me cards with my photographs on them, they’d tell me how he’s in love with me and I should give him a chance. They blocked my way in the corridors. I was told I am a “hot topic” in the boys hostel. Is that supposed to make me feel good about myself? Because it didn’t, it just made me feel scared. Do you make a person you’re “in love with” feel so uncomfortable in a college that’s supposed to be home for three years? Thanks, Piyush Singh. You’re an idiot. I hope you don’t do this to another girl or boy, ever."
4. "This happened to me a few months back, and it was not just another random hi or hello that women on social media are used to."
"I possibly have no right to put my pictures on Facebook being a girl because there are people who will text me, assault me, tell me what I am worth and why. And to every other girl who does the same, while they shake off their semen covering the eyes of our ‘sabhya samaj’.
I did not text him privately, but challenging you publicly ‘ jo ukhadna hai ukhad le’.
You want to shave my head off, tattoo on it and shame me publicly, no? Let me see if you can do that. I am waiting."
5. This 'hot Punjabi boy' just deleted his profile.
6. "Why be a decent human being when you can be a disgusting one, right?"
We don't need to look too far to come across such messages. My own Messenger is filled with such requests.
Here's a boy who has no qualms about stalking me. In fact, he is proud of it:
Or this wonderful man on the internet who thinks he should send me a photo of his genitals:
And when I asked my colleagues about it, they all had screenshots to submit!
Some of them specifically asked me to hide the identity of the person who messaged them because they felt unsafe even sharing their information.
So, great work men! Women are now scared of you even virtually.
A colleague who got a message and ignored it was being asked for a reply. Does this man not understand that she didn't want to reply?
Another one was sent this message. She felt uncomfortable just with the language used. Who wouldn't?
Here's a message another one received.
She told me she was extremely scared that someone might have been stalking her at a community event.
And it doesn't end at being creepy. Another colleague of mine was abused, targeted and attacked in the YouTube comment section for being pro-woman. She was told she won't find a man because men don't like feminists, like it is some kind of abuse.
We always laugh off these messages, don't we? Women are taught to make peace with harassment.
"Ladke hain, aisa hi karenge" or "Tu bas reply mat kar yaar."
Isn't that the kind of advice we share with our friends?
But this needs to stop. Sending threats and obscene messages and photos is illegal. Messaging a girl incessantly to send a reply is NOT all right.
People should be taught how to take NO for an answer.
While here is the place where you can lodge a complaint against those creeps you find on the internet, it would be great if we could just change the way we look at things. It is important to realise that there are some boundaries online too. More than anything, it is important to understand the concept of consent while operating in the virtual world and letting women be, both online and off it.