Kerala social media campaign urges women not to tolerate sexist bullying

Malayalam actor Aswathy Sreekanth’s fitting response to the sexist comment on her picture recently has been widely appreciated on social media

A sexist comment on a picture shared by Malayalam actor Aswathy Sreekanth on her Facebook account recently has triggered a social media campaign by the Department of Women and Child Development in Kerala against online bullying of women with sexist overtones.

The actor’s fitting response to the sexist comment on her picture has been widely appreciated on social media since then.

The department’s campaign urged women to make no compromise against indecent behaviour, online or offline. It encouraged victims to report sexist overtures with the cyber police and shared the email id of cyber police ([email protected]) and helpline numbers (100,112).

"It is an addition to our ongoing campaign ‘Ini Venda Vittuveezcha’ (no compromise any longer). Through this, we aim at familiarising women on the receiving end with the systems in place to address their issues. Complaints we receive at the department and our helpline (181) are already being handed over to the cyber police," said T. V. Anupama, director, Department of Women and Child Development.

Comment deleted

Ms. Sreekanth, however, is surprised at how the incident has taken a life of its own though the person who passed the comment had deleted it since in the face of fierce criticism.

"This is not the first time I faced such an experience on social media. Initially, I used to cry and then delete such comments. This time though, I chose to respond, perhaps because of my emotional state now as I’m pregnant," she said, while shooting down allegations that the whole incident was concocted as a public relations exercise.

Complaints unnoticed

Ms. Sreekanth, however, is not planning to lodge any police complaint, partly because of the fact that her previous complaints with the cyber police, especially over misuse of her pictures, have gone unresponsive.

A senior police officer said that prosecuting those behind every sexist and indecent comments on social media was just not possible as there were thousands of such incidents. "But if it assumes the nature of online stalking, then the act attracts provisions of the IT Act. Unless that is the case, all that can be done is to urge everyone to maintain an etiquette on social media," he said.

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