Millennium Post

Solidarity, online

‘I feel sad when people say that rapists are like animals. Sad for the animals. As far as I know, animals don’t rape – however wild and strident their mating games may seem to us. Men do.’ Says musician Remo Fernandes on his Facebook wall. ‘I can’t get her out of my head,’ writes actress Kalki Koechlin in a long note, ending with, ‘Take action’.

The gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in Delhi has triggered mass outrage on online media. Netizens, including politicians and B-town stars, from various corners of the country and abroad have take to the social network platform to voice their collective anger and angst.

Sanyogita Sao, a young netizen, has launched an online petition titled ‘Delhi bus gangrape case demanding death penalty’. The petition requests for ‘change in the law against rape convicts... severe action should be taken to ensure that the number of such cases reduce ..if there is fear of the law obviously such perverts will think 100 times before committing such crime’. At the time of going to press, 276,095 people have already signed the petition on Facebook, Twitter and other forums.

Another petition, ‘Stop Rape Now!’ created by Namita Bhandare on Change.Org has already been signed by  46,301 petitioners (at the time of going to press).There are other petition on the same issue on Change.Org and the number of people signing in support is on a steady rise.

Facebook already has four community pages created on the subject. Many users have changed their profile pictures to a big black dot to symbolise the collective shame of a country that allows one of its citizens to be so abused by another. Slut Walk Delhi’s online demand for capital punishment for rapists is also being shared by like-minded netizens.

Not just women, the social media is filled with men venting their anguish online. ‘What kind of society we live in where we can’t even protect our daughters?’ is the Facebook post of a male Kolkata resident.

 ‘Am still trying to find words that can aptly describe what I feel about rapists. Can’t call them men. Don’t want to insult animals by calling them that. With each incident like the one in Delhi, there is outrage, then it all dies down, till another victim falls prey. The authorities don’t bother – they just make the right noises for a while’, says another post.

A Bangalore girl’s impassioned post on Facebook aptly captures the anguish of all women, ‘As a woman, citizen, human – what do I want? I want to NOT have to carry pepper spray, not suspect every unknown male that approaches me.. not jump in my sleep every time a leaf crackles or the gate creaks...,’  she writes.

Another sarcastic post tells women ‘how to not get raped’. After a list of don’ts, it ends with the line, ‘To be quite sure don’t exist’.

Yet another post says ‘The way things are going, Delhi Metro should start announcing, ‘Agla station… Molestation!’ Others are questioning the very upbringing and education we impart to our boys that leads them to show so little respect to women as adults. ‘The men who exercise dominance over women, whether in parliament, khap panchayats, public places or in movies, set the norms for other men to exercise power in a similar way. Kids who grow up watching this tend to be like them.These role-models have a pathological problem, whether they are our politicians or film-stars.It has to change,’ says a post.
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