“As a result, Alia (Bhatt) restricted comments on her social media handles while Sonakshi Sinha quit Twitter, saying that she wanted to stay away from negativity. But I feel that one should confront and stop the cyberbullies and not let them get away with such abuse,” says actor Aparna Nair.
Instead of ignoring the bully who abused her on her Facebook web page, Aparna filed a police criticism with the cyber cell of the Kerala Police. “Although the police nabbed the offender, he did not seem to be apologetic at all. He seemed to think there was nothing wrong in what he had done. Nevertheless, I don’t think he will do it again,” believes Aparna.
She asserts that ignoring such threats and abuse will solely see a rise in bullies. Most actors ignore the trolls and on-line abuse. “It could be about your looks, a role, a dress you wore and some remark that you expressed. But now, women are taking a stand against such abusers. ‘#IgnoreNoMoreOnline’ is a campaign that is encouraging women to speak up and complain about the bullies online,” provides Aparna.
Malini Agarwal, founding father of MissMalini Entertainment, started the marketing campaign by exhorting girls to stand up in opposition to the bullies.
However, an actor, talking on the situation of anonymity, says that many abusers disguise behind false profiles on social media. Claiming to be members of some fan group or the opposite, they go on the rampage each time they understand their favorite star has been slighted or criticised. “However, rarely does the star in whose name all the abuse is unleashed rein in the fan associations or its members. It is as if a celebrity has no right to voice an opinion or say something other than entertaining viewers or sharing photos. Even there, female actors face a lot of flak and bodyshaming,” says the actor.
Dangers of cyber world
Kerala’s Additional General of Police Manoj Abraham asserts that it is finest not to befriend strangers and that each one customers have to be educated concerning the risks of the cyber world. “But then even if a social media user faces abuse, block the account or refuse to interact with the abuser. That should silence him/her. But if there is stalking or physical threats, then a police complaint must be filed,” he says.
He provides that within the case of celebrities, they are extra weak to cyber abuse and if ignoring the bully doesn’t work, a police criticism is a should.
Cyber assaults in Malayalam cinema had by no means fallen so low as when actor Parvathy Thiruvothu was attacked by armies of “fans” after she made sure remarks a couple of misogynistic Mammootty-starrer in 2017. Parvathy had sought the assistance of the police to cease the vitriolic feedback and threats of bodily intimidation.
“I would have done the same if I felt threatened. Since so many actors, male and female, and their families have been bullied and trolled, I used to wonder how I would react if I had to face such abuse. I realised that these people, many with fake profiles, were a frustrated lot and whatever they said or posted would not affect me in any way,” says Ahaana.
Nevertheless, social media professional Sangeetha Janachandran asserts that celebrities and social media influencers have to be extraordinarily cautious and considerate about what they publish on-line. “So while I appreciate Ahaana’s initiative to talk about cyberbullying, I feel that one cannot make sweeping statements about how to deal with this despicable online behaviour of bullying or trolling. A person’s reaction to abuse does not reflect upon his/her intelligence or emotional quotient. And never should rape be discussed or made to appear normal as something trivial,” she says.
As somebody who additionally handles the social media presence of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), Sangeetha is working on a video to educate viewers about cyber abuse and bullies within the on-line world.
“I have seen the trauma of some of my clients who were abused and intimidated by online users. Different people have different thresholds,” she says.
Just a few weeks in the past, WCC had performed a webinar on cyber abuse that was attended by attorneys, actors and know-how specialists.
“One cannot and should not normalise it in any way. Cyber abuse is nasty and violates a person’s dignity and self-esteem. Once we decide to stand against it and the police are seen cracking down on such abusers, there is bound to be a decrease in these attacks,” provides Aparna.
Aparna’s phrases resonate in Sonakshi’s resolution to take on the bullies by means of her marketing campaign on Instagram known as ‘Ab Bas! Mission Josh’.