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Envisioning a safer online world for women

Envisioning a safer  online world for women
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The time that we spend on the Internet has considerably increased over the years. While Internet has taken away many of our woes, it has unfortunately also introduced some in our lives. One of them is online sexual harassment. Several women and girls especially find themselves at the receiving end of the same. As they navigate the world of the Internet via social media, many of them are vulnerable to online abuse. This abuse can and does take many forms: trolling, cyberstalking and being subjected to unwarranted obscene content.

This time, on International Day of the Girl Child, 'Sachhi Saheli', a non-profit organisation brings the issue of sexual harassment to the fore with a campaign called #HaqSeOnline.

#HaqSeOnline is no less than a movement to sensitise, bring awareness and spread knowledge to combat online sexual harassment. While presenting to the world a dimension of what our digital rights are, this movement encourages digital users, especially women and children to follow preventive measures, speak up and use social media platforms, only to uplift themselves holistically.

Through this campaign, several experts from the field of law, cyber security and mental health have come together to dispense knowledge that any girl/women need to safeguard herself from online sexual harassment. The pool of knowledge shared by legal experts from Delhi State Legal Services Authority, cyber experts like Rakshit Tandon and Amit Dubey is open not just to the digital users from diverse backgrounds but for parents/guardians of children as well.

Samir Parekh, Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare explained, "Children are mostly at the receiving end of the crimes. Their fake IDs are made by perpetrators and they are unaware of how to solve them. They are scared to tell their parents and as a result, mental trauma is the price they pay for at such a young age."

For this reason, an issue that is sensitive yet crucial to be discussed has been addressed where beneficiaries will be provided with information on a 'psychological first aid kit' by Samir Parekh that will equip them to tackle the aftermaths of online sexual harassment at an early stage.

Surbhi Singh, the Delhi-based gynecologist and President of NGO 'Sachhi Saheli' threw light on the recent case of a 24-year-old Riya from Delhi being sexually harassed through video calls from the perpetrators.

She asserted, "For how long will the women and girls face it? The solution is to be #HaqSeOnline and for that, empowerment only comes with knowledge! We are here to listen to them, help them know their legal rights and make social media a safe space for them."

She emphasised the importance of sharing experiences, asking questions and understanding each other so that the perpetrators do not get a free pass.

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