CM Pinarayi Vijayan Assures Strict Action By Kerala Govt Against People Abusing Women Online. They’ll Have Their Hands Full.
Do you remember the time when trolling someone online used to be harmless fun? Yeah, me neither. It didn’t take long for wisecracks and roasting to transform into a monster that actively seeks to abuse, denigrate and dismantle a person’s self-esteem and confidence. As is the natural order of our world, women are at the bottom of this food chain, and naturally face a lot more abuse online than their male counterparts. Especially, if they’re free-thinking, outspoken feminists who dare to put shut down sexism or misogyny online. Then, it is open season on them. We’ve seen a lot of that in the case of actresses, female comedians, activists and every regular Jane who speaks up getting mercilessly abused online. Now, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has announced that such online abuse of women will not be tolerated.
On Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote about this on his Facebook. He said that the Kerala government will take strict action against those who abuse women online. He wrote that the Kerala government “…views the actions, breaching the bounds of decency and humanity in insulting women, very seriously. Strict action will be taken against those who misuse the social media facilities to abuse women. If the existing laws are not sufficient for it, appropriate legislation will be considered. The state stands by the women who became the victims of abuse.”
Also Read: Bollywood Actresses Are Being Trolled For Their ‘NCB Look.’ What Were We Expecting Them To Turn Up In?
CM Vijayan’s announcement comes in the wake of an incident where YouTuber Vijay P Nair was thrashed by women activists from Kerala. He had allegedly posted an anti-feminist video titled “Why do feminists in India, especially in Kerala, not wear underwear?” The video insulted a number of women, including 86-year-old poet and activist Sugathakumari and popular Malayalam dubbing artist Bhagyalekshmi. On Saturday, Bhagyalekshmi, along with three other activists, entered Nair’s office, poured black oil on his face, and thrashed him.
Also Read: Three Women Activists From Kerala Thrashed A Vlogger For Uploading An Anti-Feminist Video. This Is Not Feminism
A comprehensive probe has been ordered into the matter. Currently, there exists a complaint against Nair for making derogatory videos about women on social media. As a counter-claim, Nair has filed a complaint agains the four women activists for assaulting him.
The incidence of online violence and abuse against women has always been high. However, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, this number has only increased. Just because it is virtual does not mean that this abuse does not harm women as much as, say, physical abuse or domestic violence does. The fact that there is zero accountability instituted by social media platforms against online abusers only makes it easier for them to continue with the act.
Take, for example, the news about Deepika Padukone’s questioning by the the Narcotics Control Bureau in the Bollywood drug probe. The instant this happened, the actress’ social media posts dating as far back as January were flooded with abusive comments from accounts of men and women users. Other actresses, like Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, were trolled online for wearing salwar kameez for their NCB visit. Now, Rakul Preet Singh, another actress named in the probe, has filed an urgent plea in Delhi HC to restrain media from reporting details of her relation to the NCB investigation. Understandable, since trolls and abusers on social media get triggered with the slightest bit of details.
The Kerala government’s decision to act against such abuse of women online is a commendable decision indeed. More state governments need to crack down in a similar fashion. However, we must also hold social media companies responsible to regulate themselves and make their platforms safe spaces for women to express their views and not get shamed for them.