Sister of a 17-year old teenaged girl shared a moving message on facebook which immediate went viral on Social media.
“Two days back, my 17-year-old sister received an anonymous DM on Instagram. It was the picture of her face MORPHED on a naked body. He said he would post it on Facebook and tag her.
Afraid, like any minor would be, she shared the incident with my parents. Here’s how rest of the incident transpired:
– My father and sister went to the Dhanmandi police station in Udaipur to lodge an FIR
– The cops said such complaints were taken by the cyber cell
– The Suraj Pole branch of the cyber cell lodged an FIR but said they only deal with ATM-related cyber crimes
– My father and sister went back to the previous police station where they were asked to come back the next day
– Yesterday they were directed to Circle Inspector (CI) where my sister narrated the incident AGAIN to a lawyer
– The lawyer, CI, and an officer decided to morally lecture my sister and father
Officer: “Aap Bohra logo ko parents se bhaut azadi mili hui hai isliye ap logo ke sath ye bahut hota hai.” (Bohras have given their children a lot of freedom and that is why it happens).
“Why do you post pictures on social media? “What he has done with you, he will do it with others as well. You should delete your social media accounts in order to be safe.”
– They VICTIM-SHAMED my sister and tried to influence my father to stop her from using cellphones and social media accounts
Shouldn’t they be filing cases instead of telling my sister to get off social media?
She is 17 and has the privilege of education and liberal parents. This kind of brainwashing can take these away from her. More than disappointed, I am angry that, whatever happens, we end up paying the price of our freedom.
Only sharing a screenshot of the messages and not the picture.”
After her post went viral, maneka Gandhi took note and extended help
But to no avail..
As the post spread like wild wire on social sphere, media reached out to Saleha Paatwala for further insight into the matter.
She seemed evidently exasperated by the rate at which the police have been handling (or manhandling) the case. “You know what? There’s nothing long in it . It’s just that we’ve been hearing it for ages that the police is laid back that we have got accustomed to their slow pace. This has to change,” she said.
She holds the way the police treated her sister and father responsible for people’s apprehension towards reporting such cases.
She is thankful for having the “power of journalism,” social media, people and her parents but she feels worried for those who don’t have these things.
“What about them? What will such a child do when, on reaching the police, they’ll hear things like, ‘You should not have posted your pictures on social media,’ etc.? They will only sulk at home and be depressed and even contemplate or commit suicide sometimes. So, of course, there’s a big role that the police have to play when somebody approaches them. They need to help people instead of lecturing them,” she added.
Such an attitude goes a long way in generating the feeling of guilt in victims, she said, as she talked about her sister and how she is putting up with this.
“She was depressed for two days. She didn’t share it with me first. It happened on 5th and I got to know on 7th. She was really scared and she reached out to our other sister, the middle one. And that’s when they filed an FIR.”
But then, as Paatwala reiterated, support and encouragement are important to pull out a person from the darkness that their misfortunes push them into.
“I called her up and explained how it’s not her mistake at all. And on reading the comments on my Facebook post, she felt motivated and strengthened by the support people showered in the comments. Now she is happy even though she initially blamed herself.”
Moreover, her father has played a pivotal role in trying to secure justice for his daughter.
“My father initially scolded my sister but then we explained the current scenario to him and he understood. He is very supportive and understanding. He asked me to fight it till it ends. You know what? They made him sit for like four-four hours each time they went to the police station but still he persists on fighting.”
Well, we are glad to have people like the Paatwala family around. These are the people that prove that keeping quiet is no solution to any problem.
“It’s not only for my sister but for everyone who faces this problem. It happens so many times but people refrain from speaking up because they think it shameful. They think about the society and the community. I think whoever is cyber bullied, be it a girl or a boy, must speak up about it.”
Here’s hoping they get the culprit to justice sooner rather than later.