• Tuesday, Mar 09, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:16 am

OP-ED: Taking a stand against harassment

  • Published at 09:50 pm August 25th, 2020
web-cyber-crime
Representational Photo Bigstock

Let’s not brush it aside as ‘no big deal’

In the past few days, most internet users of our country have become familiar with the incident involving a Facebook post revolving around Shakib Al Hassan’s child.

To our dismay, Shishir Umme Al Hasan, the mother of the child, pointed out the fact that “well wishers, ill-wishers” are all part of the package they receive as celebrities. The first question to ask her is: How could she call such perverted people just “ill-wishers”?

I can define “ill-wishers” as people who dislike other people they personally know. For example, the girl I dislike for never helping me at exam halls and hope that she gets a B+ in all her courses. This does not include all others in the class. The ill-wishing is only for the person I personally dislike.

Now the comments that were made at Alayna implied dirty double meanings that need no further explanation. Can Mrs Shishir say that these comments are not inclusive to all other little girls or women? I mean to say, wouldn’t they comment the same in any other girl’s photo in a jute field? If she can’t say “yes” for sure, how could she dismiss them just as “ill-wishers” only?

Now, I believe, she and her family have every right to not want to be the face of the protests on cyber safety, and she can choose not to go after the people who commented. Many victims of also don’t want to reveal their identities for several reasons, and her wish to be out of it would’ve been sensible if she had not written it in the same line that the whole incident was “no issue,” which has been made into a “big issue” by protesters.

How can she reject the whole incident as nothing just because it doesn’t bother her? The same incident has all the potential to be the cause of suicide for many girls, girls who probably are not as mentally strong as her, or come from conservative backgrounds and are not necessarily immune to inappropriate comments made at them.

She should know by now that the statements she made also are part of the package of being a celebrity. This statement made by her, shows a certain indifference.

She also said that she is after the admins of some pages and protestors, but not those who commented.

This particular line reminded me of the neighbouring woman whose husband beat her every night, and if we shouted at the husband in support of her, she would ask us not to create a scene and leave them alone, as it is their private matter.

Lastly, as Mrs Shishir asked the protestors to do something productive rather than watching her photo comments, I am personally thinking of enlightening our celebrities about the basics of harassment, and the fact that it is not related to “how many” abusive comments were made.

Definitely, the number of bad comments need not outweigh the number of good comments for the bad ones to constitute harassment.

Sanjida Alam Ria is a graduate student of economics, University of Dhaka.

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