Actors Sayani Gupta and Maanvi Gagroo, and entrepreneur Nikhil Taneja have come together for a campaign, #IndiaAgainstAbuse, against targeted harassment of women on the internet. We spoke to Sayani Gupta who told us that she has been getting trolled for months for her show Four More Shot Please and strong political opinion. There are more than two hundred memes made on her mostly sexual in nature.
"I used to always say just ignore trolls. They are not worth your attention, time, energy or anything. So one would block or report them. But nothing really happens to the perpetrators. It’s not just trolling that we are talking about. One there is trolling then there is hired trolls. Then there are random trolls who are completely frustrated in life. It’s mostly women in the receiving end,” says Sayani.
Organised trolling online forced Sayani to take a more important step. “We all have been wanting to do something but something happened when I saw that rape threat the guy was giving stand up comedian Agrima Joshua. I got really disturbed,” says Sayani.
Post this Sayani Gupta and Maanvi Gagroo got together and decided to take action but were not sure what they could or possibly do. That’s when Nikhil Taneja founder of Yuvaa came in.
“I have to be honest as a man I can’t claim to have gone through the same kind of abuse that women go through. We don’t have crazy ambitions in what we are wanting to achieve out of this. We literally want social media platforms to take responsibility and accountability of the death and rape threats that are on their platforms which is making the platform so toxic,” says Nikhil Taneja.
The new campaign and joint petition, #IndiaAgainstAbuse, started on and supported by Change.org, aims to take this fight forward, and demands strong deterrents, penalties for violations of civility and a safe and equal space for women online from policymakers, digital platforms and digital bystanders, along with speedier responses from cyber cells.