On January 18, the Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal took cognisance of the obscene remarks made online on a social media platform called Clubhouse. The notice and plan of action were taken on the basis that the comments made on women and girls from the Muslim community were vulgar and obscene.
The Commission has asked for a copy of the First Information Report submitted on the issue, details of the accused and the person’s arrest and a detailed action taken by the police. The letter was addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Cyber Crime Cell.
The letter stated, “…some participants were having a conversation on the platform ‘Club House’ on a topic named ‘MUSLIM GALS ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN HINDU GALS’. In the said conversation, participants can be clearly head making obscene vulgar and defamatory remarks over women and girls especially from the Muslim community.”
Suggested Reading: Sulli Deals Harassment: The Double Jeopardy Of Being A Muslim Woman Online
Clubhouse is an audio-only chat application, which was first launched in March 2020, on the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. It is created by Alpha Exploration Co. with $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz. The community rules state that they condemn “Anti-Blackness, Anti Semitism, and all other forms of racism, hate speech and abuse” on the app. If the accounts of those involved in this are reported for the violation of their rules the account will be “temporarily or permanently restricted or removed from the platform.”
This recent case brings us to many such hate speeches and crimes against women from minority communities like Muslims and Dalits which have made headlines in the past few days.
Sulli Deals And Bulli Bai
This application was launched last year and had a list of Muslim women for auctions. The images of the Muslim women put on the app were sourced without consent and were doctored. A similar application was released recently which had a list of influential Muslim women in different fields like politics. activism, journalism, amongst others.
Both of these apps were built on GitHub, which is a provider of internet hosting for software development. It has 56 million users and is based in the United States.
With an increase in individuals screen time and social media applications. The world has definitely become a smaller place but the online environment has become a cluttered house for crime against women and minorities in the form of morphed images, online hate speeches, sexually explicit comments, rape threats in direct messages, amongst many other forms of crime against women.
Clubhouse Chat Muslim Women, How Safe Are Women Online?
The catcalling and hoots have now made their space online. Even if we did not get to step out during the pandemic and witness the hate crimes committed towards women from the minority community, eve teasings of women in buses and involuntary touches, we witnessed a spike in the cybercrime against women.
Data Does Not Lie
According to the National Crime Record Bureau data on cyber crimes against women, there are six sections in which data is divided and then the total number of cases. In the 2020 report, the total number of cyber crimes against women was 10,405 which is 2,026 more than 2019 data, which was 8379 under the same section.
The six sections under which data is registered are Cyber blackmailing/threatening, cyber pornography, cyberstalking/ bullying, defamation/morphing, fake profile and other crime against women.
In 2020, 7184 cases were registered under other crimes against women, 1655 under cyber pornography, 887 under cyberstalking/ bullying, 354 under fake profile, 251 under defamation/morphing and 74 under cyber blackmailing/threatening.
These numbers are scary because of the time it takes the police to take action against the perpetrators. If one is to go on YouTube and just search for ultra-right-wing and hate speech content, hundreds of videos in form of abuses against women from minority communities and vulgar comments against women will pop out.
These are all cyber crimes against communities and women that needs to be kept under check. The data clearly shows the spike in the number of crimes online. Reading tweets about women going through the mental pain of blocking these messages are real and not imaginary. How can one take rape threats lightly in a country where a culmination of weekend news can give us five shocking crimes against women?