‘Ready for Sex’: Stalker Posts Photo of Journo & Threatens Her
On 6 February, Nisha*, a journalist from Lucknow, received a call from an unknown number at 11:05 pm. Truecaller displayed ‘Aryan Matina’ as the caller.
Since she did not know who the caller was, she decided not to pick up. Almost instantly, she got a notification on her Facebook profile: a friend request from a guy named, ‘Aryan Matina’.
Without much ado, she blocked him on Facebook and his number on her phone. Within a few minutes she got another call from an unknown number. The same name flashed on Truecaller. She blocked it yet again.
This, however, was not going to be a one-off incident. It was just the beginning of repeated cyberstalking that is still ongoing.
Minutes after the message, he sent her a photograph, which had her face and her phone number on it and said, ‘ready for sex’. He threatened her further. He said that if she didn’t unblock him, he would post this picture on social media.
Minutes after receiving this text, Nisha made a distress call to 1091, the women’s helpline number.
“After two failed attempts, the call went through and a lady cop picked up. The minute I narrated my ordeal, she hung up on me. I tried calling again, but I couldn’t get through again. I was going crazy! What do you do in the dead of the night, when even the women’s helpline refuses to give you any solution!”
It was almost 1 in the night and Nisha was left with no other option but to go public with it. She was being bombarded with messages from international numbers every minute, the threats were going from bad to worse. She tweeted to the cyber crime cell, tagged the relevant cops. She even made a public post on Facebook, alerting her friends and family about him.
‘Pls Unblock Me Or I Will End My Life’
The following day, Nisha emailed her complaint to the National Commission of Women and the commissioner of police. An officer was assigned to the case who took all the information from her and assured her that swift action would be taken.
The stalker, meanwhile, had not stopped harassing her.
He sent her a video.
After receiving these messages, videos and photographs, Nisha went to the nearest police station and filled a written complaint of harassment and stalking.
When The Quint called the investigating officer Prabhat, he refused to divulge any details with us. Nisha has constantly been in touch with the cops. After her written complaint, the stalking and messages have come down.
However, every time her phone buzzes, she is alarmed. But are Indian police adequately equipped to deal with cases of cyberstalking ?
What to Do If You Are Being Abused Online
Many victims of cyber crime do not come out in the open and register a complaint. Even if they do, they are often not taken seriously.
We spoke to cyber security expert Rakshit Tandon to find out what a person can do if s/he has faced any form of cyber crime. Here is what he had to say:
Either the police is not equipped to deal with cases of online trolling or they brush it off as a ‘non-crime’. Senior Lawyer Rebecca John, however, believes that they have the wherewithal to make quick amends.
“What is the police doing? They are so well-equipped, but still I have not seen a single case where the person is arrested. They advise people to deactivate their accounts and try to put the blame on the woman. The same misogynistic mentality that is seen during rape cases is seen in online harassment as well, and nothing will change if this mentality doesn’t change.Rebecca John to The Quint for an earlier article on cyber stalking
Taking cognisance is the first step towards addressing a crime. If the cops are unable to help women navigate the new forms of crime, how will online spaces be safe for women?
(*Nisha’s name has been changed to protect her identity.This is a developing story, we will update this as and when the cops are able to crack the stalker’s email ID and nab him.)