I joined Facebook quite a few years back, when I had started college. I was new to social media and it seemed like fun in the sense that I could stay connected with friends, be informed about the latest news and upload my own life updates. However, I wasn’t yet aware about the creepy side of things.
It was only when I got a message from an absolute stranger on Facebook’s Messenger that I got acquainted to it. The message said:
“Hey! I saw you outside your college today and wanted to talk to you. So, I asked around and got to know your name. Hope you don’t think I’m some creep because I genuinely want to get to know you.”
For one, this is creepy. For two, I obviously didn’t want to be friends with this person after he trespassed my personal space, even if it was in a cyber sense. I became scared about going to college and actually didn’t attend classes for fear of being stalked. I mean, if this guy can ‘ask around’ and obtain my name, how far can he go, right?
However, when I got back to college and talked to my friends about it, they said they’ve all faced something like this. From messages that started off with ‘hey bful’ only to end up being called a ‘slut’ because no reply was given to actually receiving unsolicited dick pics, my female friends had also been affected by these creeps.
They felt harassed, unsafe and the saddest part? They said that in the beginning it would take a mental toll but eventually, they realized it is a very usual thing to happen to Indian girls over social media. This means that the girls had actually normalised this cyber harassment because clearly, replying to them didn’t help and neither did not replying.
But how horrible that girls first experience cyber bullying by the time they reach college, isn’t it?
While many love stories start over social media with a simple ‘hi’ sent that leads to sparks and of course, there is no harm in approaching a girl over messages, there’s a difference between harassing them. Sending obscene messages, photos and videos is plain harassing.
What these sick people don’t realize that while they send a message with a simple click of the finger, the girl who receives it will be haunted by that message for days to come. She will feel objectified, harassed and upset.
Additionally, doing this is also illegal. Publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form is a punishable offence. Outraging a woman’s modesty is an offence as well. And woman can now lodge a complaint online.
Is it illegal to slip into someone’s DMs to establish a romantic connect? Not at all. But, harassing someone by sending them lewd material isn’t just not acceptable because it won’t help you establish a connection with anyone but more than anything, is also legally punishable.
So, here’s to you keyboard creeps: We’re done with you and the next time you’re thinking about trolling a girl with your messages, know that it could send you to jail.