Imroze is a renowned corporate personality. He met a girl from Dhaka randomly online. Her profile said she was a graduate from a reputed private university in Dhaka, and that she was a writer.
They used to have long conversations online. Gradually, Imroze and Riti became good friends.
Imroze saw beautiful photos on Facebook. Imroze shared all his personal details with Riti. Eventually, he felt a connection with the girl, which compelled him to visualize meeting her and spending time with her. All these thoughts made him realize that he finally found his soul-mate.
A few months later, he proposed to her, and the girl gladly said “yes.” They had started seeing each other in real life. Imroze used to share every minor detail of his everyday life with Riti.
Suddenly, they started growing distant. Imroze was stunned when Riti alleged that she was contacted by a girl on Facebook, who said she had an affair with Imroze. After that, she stopped seeing him immediately.
Riti said she was devastated, and felt betrayed. Slowly, a few things became very clear to Imroze -- Riti was a paranoid and a very stubborn girl. She blamed him for everything that went wrong in the relationship -- also her anger, over-reactions, and mood swings over trivial matters continued.
Imroze constantly felt suffocated, manipulated, and intimidated by her emotional abuse. He wanted to end the relationship. He stopped communication with her and was trying to forget what happened to him in the past few months.
A few weeks later, Riti messaged him saying that she recorded some of their personal video chats and was thinking she would disseminate all the screenshots of their intimate conversations online. He was shocked and started to panicked. He asked her to delete everything, but she said she would only do so only if Imroze married her.
Finally, he discovered that the girl had disseminated the screenshots and video chats on social media. Imroze suffered severe depression out of shame and panic.
We often stereotype men as shameless. But the notion that a man is never ashamed to expose himself in public is not always true
With increasing access to technology, cyber crimes have alarmingly increased. Parliament has enacted Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act 2006 (amended 2013) to combat cyber crimes.
Section 57 (1) of the ICT Act says: “If any person deliberately publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the website or in any other electronic form any material, which is false and obscene and if anyone sees, hears, or reads it having regard to all relevant circumstances -- its effect is such as to influence the reader to become dishonest or corrupt, or causes to deteriorate or create possibility to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person, or causes to hurt or may hurt religious belief or instigate against any person or organization, then this activity will be regarded as an offense.”
Section 57(2) of ICT Act states that whoever commits offense under sub-section (1) of this section shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which may extend to Tk1 crore.
We often stereotype men as shameless. But the notion that a man is never ashamed to expose himself in public is not always true. It is true that Imroze was careless, but that doesn’t give someone the right to blackmail him and threaten to exploit the evidence.
He felt he did not give anyone else the right to judge him. He was able to convince his friend, family, and colleagues that he was trapped.
When a man harasses a woman, people tend to be convinced more easily of the facts as they think “boys will be boys.” In our society, women are stereotyped as sensitive and passive people, and they are not expected to be violent.
It is true that the percentage of female victims of cyber crime is larger than male victims, but our traditional mindset has to be changed.
Most acts of emotional and mental abuse take place behind closed doors, therefore, the batterer could be man or woman.
Miti Sanjana is a Barrister-at-law from Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and an Advocate of Supreme Court of Bangladesh.