"I Was Abused And Taunted After My Photo Went Viral On Social Media"
CHANDIGARH: Come March 8, and there is all this talk about gender equality, gender parity and women’s rights -- as the world marks international women’s day. All this dies down they very next day. This year, I went through excruciating pain in connection with my gender identity, as on Women’s Day a picture of mine once again went viral on social media. I am already fighting for my right against abuse in cyber space and my efforts were first highlighted by TheCitizen.
I am a mother of a five year old daughter who has never participated in any debate or demonstration on women's rights. Whenever a friend gave birth I have always and only asked “How are you and how is the baby?” I have never asked the baby's gender.
Today I am forced to write about my plight once again. I was photographed by a staff photographer of a prominent national daily for a story on “Women's Safety” that was published on September 2, 2012. The people noticed the picture and I got a few calls. The matter was closed.
But to my horror on February 2, 2015 I received a call from a friend asking “Did you do it intentionally or is your picture being used without permission?” I was soon to realize that my picture was being used for a political campaign of the Samajwadi Party on the social media under its logo saying, “Mujhe Garv hai meri party imandar hai.” Then followed the trauma in the form of lewd comments where I was accused of provoking men for rape.
As if this was not enough, I soon discovered that a portal selling property online was also using the picture.
The links are as follows:
As a fresh lawyer myself I approached the cyber cell of Chandigarh Police which failed to get the picture removed from the social media although the property selling website removed it. To add to my woes, the case was closed as a civil matter. I just wonder how abuse can be termed as a civil matter.
To add to my trauma I have been told to get the report on the outcome through RTI. I watched with cynicism as the cops organized an anti cyber crime week recently.
This was reported by TheCitizen.in and soon a national FM radio interviewed me on the issue last summer. (
I also lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW) and was told that it would be sending a notice to the local authorities. But I have not been conveyed anything for the last several months.
The horror returned to haunt me when my picture was circulated again on the social media.