Trolling whatever women-centric is published on social media has become a norm or in simpler terms, a culture which is easily picked up by our younger generations who spend most of their time on social media platforms.
Kashmir is a place where content creators, bloggers and even news channels find themselves in a net of intriguing questions regarding what to publish and what not to.
I have been following the stories concerning women abuse on social media since a very long time, particularly when female content creators marked their presence on Facebook and YouTube in Kashmir.
The first story I extensively researched and published was about Saima Shafi aka Kral Koor who passionately tried to revive the forgotten pottery in Kashmir and tried to organise free workshops for kids to inculcate a sense of tradition and culture among them.
When Saima started publishing her videos, she was mistreated and abused by keyboard Maulana’s and was advised to stay back.
Later, Laila Qureshi, a well known psychologist, who spends most of her time in saving our youth from the menace of drug abuse and is also running a rehabilitation centre for the drug addicts which has benefitted hundreds of youth and saved their families too.
Laila, too had to faced a lot of abuse and online trolling for being a woman. I carried a story on her ordeal as well, and in turn I was the one who had to face a lot of trolling for coming to her rescue.
In addition to the stories of above mentioned two women, I have also worked on more than fifteen video stories, promoting women in business, athletes, authors, calligraphers, painters, vloggers etc and what I found common in the comment section of all the videos was the same energy with which the women were abused and subjected to humiliation.
The most horrifying thing I recently compiled is the thousands of comments which the online abusers used for the sex workers who were recently apprehended from two different places in Srinagar. I found the same comments, same advises, same abuses and same religious decrees posted by kashmiri netizens which were used for the women whose videos I had uploaded to showcase their talent.
Now the question is, what is it that the men want women to do?
If a women does something which is unacceptable and immoral, it is obvious that her actions are going to invite bad comments and in most of the cases abusive remarks. Prostitution is indefensible and not justifiable by any argument or action and not a single soul should come to defend this immoral activity which has destroyed the very delicate fabric of morality. But, there are women who see prostitution as their way out of poverty. While they may choose to sell themselves, it is economic necessity that drives them. Despite the sexual drive, the main reason for prostitution in all groups is money.
Now, let’s compare the women in business and the women in prostitution. As already mentioned, the main reason for prostitution is money, the economic necessity, which can be fulfilled by doing a job or by starting a business. A women in business sets up her own unit or a shop or a small business establishment and earns her livelihood. When a woman in business, or a woman who does a decent job to earn for her family is bullied, abused for spreading immorality, as according to trolls, (only men have the privilege of earning money) she may definitely find an escape route and one among them is the prostitution, as this is the only place where she is not supposed to come into the public domain.
The above mentioned example is not the only reason, a woman switches to immorality to earn money, but there are hundreds and thousands of other reasons for her to do so. The above example is taken as a yardstick to make readers understand the consequences of abusing a women for coming into public domain.
Shouldn’t a woman in business be respected and appreciated for not taking any drastic step to earn her livelihood? Shouldn’t the women be encouraged to be independent? How many needy women receive support out of our so called Bait-ul-Maal? How many women have been saved from the dreaded prostitution centres by us by helping them monetarily? Have we ever tried to ask a kashmiri woman who for monetary reasons landed into a prostitution centre, as to what motivated her to take this step? To fulfill her sexual desire is definitely not going to be her answer.
The above unanswered questions will remain unanswered for eternity, because our conscience is as alive as a headless chicken, who in a panic stricken and unthinking manner keeps on wondering from one direction to another. Aren’t the above unanswered questions enough to force a woman into prostitution.?
“I was expecting appreciation for my work and I thought my work is going to motivate other women too, who are in need of money, but the way I was abused has traumatized me and I feel very depressed. Isn’t it better to work, than to indulge in immorality and to switch to illegal ways of earning money?” Asked a business women whose story I recently uploaded and till this story was filed, out of six hundred comments five hundred and fifty were abusive and insulting.
She is supporting her family and is brave enough, as she didn’t request me to delete her story, the way one female athlete once did, after she was body shamed and horribly abused. She couldn’t resist, she cried and requested me to take her story down, which I finally did.
Whatever a women does, good or bad Trolls and keyboard bullies in Kashmir will pounce upon her and make her life hell and later in the dead of night they will start messaging the women from Malaysia and other countries and will beg them for sexual favours.
We should not allow the sad state of affairs to continue, and the intellectual section of our society should pick up the pace and start countering this intellectually and morally bankrupt army of trolls. It is high time that we save our women from jumping into the deep dark web of unanswered questions, where there is nothing but destruction.
Shoaib Gani is a Microbiologist and works as an online editor for The Kashmir Radar. He can be reached at email@example.com