During a session at workshop on violence against women which was hosted by Department of criminology and criminal justice sciences, ManonManium SundaranarUniversity, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Debarati didn’t expect such a large gathering of students (mostly girls) for her session which was on online violence because many of these students hardly frequent Facebook and some how believe that they are immuned from any sorts of victimisation that she mentioned in her book “Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9
Her first job was to break their myth. When doing her home work for the session, she came across good amount of materials which advocated that these girls were not the only ones who believed in this myth. There are some myths which many girls and their families in India feel to be true. she was going to showcase some of these myths and break them today:
Myth no.1: I don’t have a Facebook account. Hence no one can make a dirty fake image of mine.
Reality: wrong! The perpetrator can still make a fake image of yours and float it in the Facebook if he has your basic information like your institution, your name or your residential address if he really wishes to. He may not even need your picture!
Myth no.2: Facebook is dangerous because people may use it to actually victimize me.
Reality: nonsense! Know the safety rules and how to use it properly. It can turn into a huge resource for good.
Myth no.3: If I frequent the net, I will become a beloved for the hackers.
Reality: Well, stop being paranoid. Do not be ‘open’ to forcefully close your windows. Share only limited information and pick up a habit of changing your passwords, security question and secondary email address every fortnight. Choose good sites to get useful information.
Myth no.4 : Cell phones are causes for rape, elopement and love marriage
Reality: really? Then why these issues keep coming back since pre-cell-phone era in India? Cell-phones are mediums of communication in the same way (obviously better versions) as were hand written letters and landline phones. Learn yourself and teach your children to use it for good communication and not for creating terrifying sensational news headlines.
Myth no.5: a girl should never be allowed to access internet including emails and popular social networking sites and cell phones unless she is married and in safe custody of her husband.
Reality: absolutely ridiculous thinking! Girls must be trained about good communication and bad communication in the digital communication technology. This will make them confident and reach the emergency services without anyone’s help.
Myth no.6: men are always dangerous when with camera devices
Reality: Some men who are unaware of cyber etiquettes should be blamed for creating bad examples. But not all men are equal. Responsible men never misuse their devices.
Unfortunately the recent incidences of rape and sudden increase in the media report on sexual assault of women in India made majority of women as well as their families extremely insecure. Added with it, the hard realities that misuse of smart phones and popular social networking sites do damage the reputation of women and their families have actually strengthened the belief in the unreal myths. The extreme results can be seen in the ridiculous actions of the village heads in banning cell-phones for girls in many villages in India. The workshop ended with a strong note from a wonderful woman professor who emphasized that education and awareness can reduce the violence against women. True. It stands true for online violence against women also. Learn how to use the modern digital devices for good and make the society a better one.
thanks to-Debarati Halder