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Is Trolling Women on Social Media a New Cult?

Living in a country where freedom of speech is appreciated, it is disheartening to detect such a condemning outlook towards someone's thoughts and actions.

Representational Image, Pixabay

– by Naina Mishra

April 09, 2017: Social media is not only confined to building relationships these days but on the other side of the purview, it has unfolded into a platform to hoist a voice on issues which is of an individuals’ concern. However, a bizarre trend on social media insinuates that trolling women on the internet has become a leisure exercise for most of the misanthropists. Women are prone to the heightened rates of physical threats and harassment which is deemed as ‘common’ to their male peers in general.

Moreover, anonymity is also the reason which allows abuse to flourish in cyberspace. Out of the myriads of reason in the rear of amorality at virtual space, one of them could be apprehended as the tendency to spurn the opinions propagated by women on social media and retaliation by men owing to the bigoted behavior.

A study conducted by Pew Research center states that Women are predisposed to see online harassment as traumatic as compared to men. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) women who experienced it found it extremely or very upsetting compared with 17% of men.

Besides, the survey by Pew research also concluded that half of those harassed online do not know who is behind the online harassment. 38% said it was a stranger and 26% said they didn’t know the real identity of the person.

I, Naina Mishra (Reporter, Newsgram) spoke to Mr. Jitendra Mohan, President of Asia-Pacific Association of Psychology and Editor-in-Chief of Indian Journal of Psychology concerning the rampant problem in cyberspace.

“The Internet is a very uncertain system which has overtaken the other system of communication. Many people feel much empowered by disparaging the other person whereas it becomes a paralyzing situation for the person who receives it. I believe women are the basic foundation of our culture but such things are only preached and not implemented in our society. Some of the people who use the internet are poorer people and feel greater about themselves when they hurt someone on the internet. However, Greatness lies in respecting yourself, respecting others and communicating at a higher level,” said Jitendra Mohan on the violent behavior of men towards women on the internet.

Mr. Mohan further accentuated by saying, “How we react to our sisters and how we react to the girl who is a stranger to us is imbibed right in the beginning of the childhood. The sense of taking women as granted carries on for an indefinite period of time and manifested on the internet.”

The handicap of hostility plays a major role. When they do not get a chance to speak directly they find hidden means to display their anger, says Mr. Mohan.

Hurting women is a classic example of the low self-concept, bad child rearing and low values of culture. Trolling, hurting, sending bad messages happens in the wake of anonymity and no sense of fear of getting caught.

Opportunely we find women not accepting this medium of communication and they have started reacting to it, which is a right thing to do. Not accepting such hostile invasion on their individuality is very important.

“Trolling is condemnable and people who take up such activities should get their cognizance and abnormality checked. A man is great when he respects a woman and not by hurting women” remarked Mr. Jitendra Mohan, Professor Emeritus of Psychology.

He also presented a message for the women who find it difficult to sustain in virtual space.

“Trolling affects the victims’ life in many depressing ways. She does not have to succumb to the attacks. She needs to understand that she is being vilified by the wrong people. Her body, mind and her way of life cannot be attacked by anybody because it is defined by her. Do not let anyone intervene in your private affair. It is better not to confront to the hooligans. Bullies make you stronger. Reiterate – You can’t dictate me, you can’t define me and by no chance can you demolish me.”

Sight of Violent Trolling-

Excerpts from the victims by Pew research survey;

Kavita Krishnan, a well-known Delhi-based women’s activist was attacked sadistically during an online chat subjected to violence against women on ‘rediff.com’.

“One person, with the handle @RAPIST, started posting abusive comments. He then asked me where he could come to rape me using a condom” told Kavita to BBC News.

Sagarika Ghose, a popular journalist who anchors prime-time bulletins on CNN-IBN and writes for a leading newspaper was threatened regularly with the gang rape and stripping on Twitter.

“Targeting me for my journalism is fine. But when it is sexist and foul-mouthed abuse which insults my gender identity I get incredibly angry. In the beginning, I used to retaliate, but that would lead to more abuse” told Sagarika Ghose to BBC News.

Another incident of the kind was reported recently where the History Honors student of Miranda House College returned home from the concert in an upbeat state of mind, just to find semen stains on the pants she had been wearing. She then recalled a man standing behind her at the show and touching her, however she at first overlooked it thinking it to be accidental. After a while, she realized that the guy didn’t back off until then. The matter further soared and alarmed by an “odor”, she pushed him away.


A screenshot of the Victim profile from the facebook
A person has uploaded a trolled image posted by the girl on the timeline about a sensitive issue

Internet – such a brilliant conception. Wouldn’t it have been great if we were able to uphold the very essence of it in an optimistic sense? The first few years saw an unfettered world of internet exclusive of the hostility and crimes, however, such is not the status now. Trolling women on the internet has become a new cult and many of us tend to appreciate it and derive sadistic pleasures out of it. Little do we realize the consequences of lewd remarks passed on to someone’s face, body, profession or even for that matter – opinions of a woman which are unaccepted by the intolerant men. 

Living in a country where freedom of speech is appreciated, it is disheartening to detect such a condemning outlook towards someone’s thoughts and actions.

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94



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Britain’s Princess Beatrice Speaks Out About Online Bullying

Beatrice said mobile technology should be a force for good for girls in developed and developing countries

Princess Beatrice
Britain's Princess Beatrice is pictured at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. VOA

Bullied herself online, Britain’s Princess Beatrice is determined to ensure other girls are equipped to deal with internet abuse and get the best from the digital world.

Beatrice — who as the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and his former wife, the Duchess of York, is eighth in line to the British throne — said her bullying, about her weight and her appearance, were very public and could not be ignored.

But she said other girls faced this in private and needed to be encouraged to speak out and to know where to get support, which prompted her to get involved in campaigns against cyber bullying.

A recent study by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center found about 60 percent of U.S. teens had been bullied or harassed online, with girls more likely to be the targets of online rumor-spreading or nonconsensual explicit messages.

cyberbullying, beatrice
One in two parents in the current survey reported knowing a child in their community who had been cyberbullied, up from 45 per cent in 2011. Pixabay

“You’d like to say don’t pay attention to it … but the best advice is to talk about it,” Beatrice, 30, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during an interview on Wednesday at the Web Summit, Europe’s largest annual technology conference.

“Being a young girl, but now being 30 and a woman working full time in technology, I feel very grateful for those experiences. But at that time it was very challenging.”

Beatrice, who works at the U.S.-based software company Afiniti, co-founded the Big Change Charitable Trust with a group of friends, including two of Richard Branson’s children, in 2010 to support young people who also grew up in the public eye.


She also last year joined the anti-bullying campaign “Be Cool Be Nice” along with other celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, which included a book.

princess beatrice
One of the most public attacks on the princess was at the 2011 wedding of her cousin Prince William when her fascinator sparked a barrage of media attention.

“There are lots of people who are ready to help and I want to make sure young people feel they have the places to go to talk about it,” said Beatrice, adding that teachers and parents also had a role to play.

Beatrice said her bullying was so public that she could not hide from it, but her mother, Sarah Ferguson, was a great source of support.

One of the most public attacks on the princess was at the 2011 wedding of her cousin Prince William when her fascinator sparked a barrage of media attention. A month later she auctioned the hat for charity for 81,000 pounds ($106,500).

Her mother, who divorced Prince Andrew in 1996, had to get used to unrelenting ribbing by Britain’s royal-obsessed media.

“She has been through a lot,” said Beatrice, whose younger sister, Eugenie, married at Windsor Castle last month.

Princess Eugenie, beatrice
Princess Eugenie wedding. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on the steps of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.

“When you see role models who are continually put in very challenging situations and can support you … [then] some of the tools that I have had from her I would like to share.”

Beatrice said mobile technology should be a force for good for girls in developed and developing countries, presenting new opportunities in terms of education, careers and health.

Also Read: Google Launches New Cyber Security Unit For Play Store

“Social media and the pressures that these young people now face is a new phenomenon … and if I can do more to give young people the tools [to cope], that is my mission,” she said.

“I would say to young girls: You are not alone. Keep going.” (VOA)