Alia Bhatt’s Sister Shaheen Bhatt Reveals How Her DMs Are Full Of Rape Threats And Abuses. This Is Cyberbullying At Its Worst
It has been a month since Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise and our hearts are still wrecked by the untimely loss of the brilliant actor. And the way that this country (which is now suddenly full of SSR’s ‘fans’) has handled this loss just makes me so damn proud. His grief-stricken fans have taken to abusing and bullying Bollywood insiders and their families in their DMs. The colourful language being used is top-notch, and the creative insults indicate the effort that must’ve been put into crafting them. But take a look at Alia Bhatt’s sister Shaheen Bhatt’s Instagram stories, where she has shared screenshots of the DMs she received, for the real icing on the cake—rape threats and an intent to push her into depression again.
Again, because it is public knowledge that Shaheen Bhatt has been living with depression since she was 12. To ‘avenge’ the death of their favourite actor, who reportedly was in depression in the months leading to his death, you wish the same fate on other people. Genius. Like I said, so damn proud.
On Monday, Shaheen shared a series of Instagram stories that began with some disturbing stats about rape, cyberbullying and suicide.
She then shared a collage of screenshots of her Instagram DMs where people had sent her messages in the wake of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Amongst the many theories floating around the Internet as to what drove SSR to take such a drastic step, one blames Shaheen’s father Mahesh Bhatt. That, coupled with the fact that her sister Alia Bhatt is one of the ‘nepo kids’ that are being blamed for the fate of struggling outsiders in Bollywood, and Shaheen is at the receiving end of some horrible threats and messages.
From calling her foul words to wishing that she slides back into depression or gets raped, it’s all there….
As her stories indicate, Shaheen wasn’t really surprised. And as a fellow woman living in India, I am not either. As she pointed out, the only way people in our country think a woman can be ‘shown her place’ or ‘taught a lesson’ is through sexist slurs and/or taking away her sense of agency and control by raping or assaulting her.
Of course, we aren’t surprised. Didn’t we just see the same thing happen to comedian Agrima Joshua? A random guy made a legit video of a an explicitly violent rape threat and people cheered him on and supported him for showing the disrespectful girl her place in the grand scheme of things. Inconsequential.
Also Read: Comedian Agrima Joshua Got Explicit Rape Threats For Making A Joke. Why Do Indian Men Always Resort To Threats Of Sexual Violence?
Shaheen ended her message by speaking directly to both her bullies and Instagram. To her bullies, she promised that they’d be exposed and taken legal action against, upon her discretion and that she continues to remain unaffected by their cruel words, but is doing this because staying silent is not an option.
To Instagram, she demanded better policies to weed out cyberbullies and abusers. Shaheen made a valid point—the onus is not on the abused to change the way they use the platform. It is on the platform to make it safe for users and punish the abusers.
Grief is processed differently by different people. And it is completely possible to be wrecked by the passing of a film star or celebrity who has touched your life in some way (As I write this, I am mourning the shocking accidental death of Glee actor Naya Rivera). But to make one’s own assumptions about the cause of their deaths, and then bullying others to such an extent that you wish them harm, is brutal and inhuman! The way people have been abusing and bullying the family members of certain Bollywood personalities in the comments, you’d think the law had declared them all personally responsible for SSR’s death!
Why such pure hate? What kind of justice do we get from wishing a fate like rape, crippling depression or death on another? A woman speaks up and gets rape threats for doing so; she remains silent and gets them anyway. What is she supposed to do? Guilty or not does any person or their family members deserve to be thus harassed? Why can’t we let the law take its course instead of indulging our rage with these cruel social media trials? Who died and made us judge, jury and executioners?
At this point, the outrage surrounding Sushant Singh Rajput’s death feels more like a rallying point for trolls who want to spew hatred and garner attention than genuine fans who want to fight for a better industry life for outsiders like him. And if it continues to rear its ugly head in this format, with brutal bullying, rape threats and forcing another person towards depression, we will have failed Sushant and humanity.
There are better ways of seeking justice. Being a bully is the opposite of that.