Topless and shameless women always top the internet search lists

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER
 A woman can be made (in)‘famous’ if she is portrayed ‘topless’ or ‘shameless’. The ongoing tussle over the issue of “topless Kate” is a glaring example  as how women are repeatedly victimised through the internet, be it  the Duchess of Cambridge,or any other woman who becomes the  victim of voyeurism. If  the victim is a woman who was not known to the world previously, expect her to be ‘re known ’ (if not well known) by some people whom she never expected to know her in her life time.  As on date, I got to see huge media attention to the power of the internet for spreading religious clashes in almost all over the world; along with that ‘Kate Middleton’ became even more hugely searched topic in the search engines not because of her royal position, but because of her perfectly toned naked upper body which is now prominent due to the French magazine which breached into her privacy. Topless Kate was available with hundreds of  Twitter users also; when I was jotting down my thoughts  for this blog on 17th September, she was still being displayed in spite of the warnings from the British royals, civil charges and amidst of plans for slapping criminal charges. But this particular woman belongs to those layers of people who know how to handle privacy breaching cases and can afford to slap criminal charges against a magazine and subsequently she may also successfully stop the world wide net including the social media giant Twitter from distributing her private pictures. The ‘Rian Gigg super injunction case’, also from the UK, would show the way to tame public social media with private laws. Quite similar to her is the case of BettinaWulff, the wife of former German president, who has been portrayed as a prostitute; Google as a search engine has made her more (in)famous. She has also applied private laws to prevent public humiliation through internet.

          Note that both Kate and Bettina belong to European Union countries whose private laws are daring to control the First Amendment Guarantees for Free Speech and Expression of the US, which is the core basis for social media including Google, Facebook and Twitter. These two women not only have monetary power to sue these web giants, they can also withstand the bypassing storm of media highlights, criticisms, sympathies, empathies and even appreciation; credit goes to their social and political backgrounds which made them realise what are their rights and what are the duties of others. But this is not the case of thousands of women who may have similar painful victimisation stories like Kate and Bettina. I remember a non-formal conversation with one of the Swiss presenters of Sweden Criminology Symposium this June. I was impressed by his presentation; he further impressed me by giving wonderful information: women in Sweden have cut off the feeling of shame from sexual victimisations like rape. This has actually motivated them to come up and report the matter to the police. Even though he was speaking on child victimisation in the internet, he emphasised the fact that this very feeling of women has actually gone a long way to combat so called online eve-teasers. But in practise, I get to see a very different picture almost every day; women from all over the world, including these European countries face terrible hurdles to seek legal help or police attention when they fall victims of crimes such as Kate or Bettina. Either the police ridicule them, or they can not afford a legal battle due shortage of funds. Resultant, victimisation of women in the net escalates.
Indian experience is no different. Women have not yet gathered that courage like their European or the US counterparts to cut off the feeling of shame; the situation is even worse with the police ineffectiveness. I dont blame the criminal justice system, for they are not given proper chance to increase their understanding in such cases largely due to the attitude of the victims. Well, exceptions are there. A young woman reportedly came up with not so pleasing comments in the Facebook page    regarding the police ineffectiveness for an F.I.R that she lodged for theft of her vehicle (see http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/article3913094.ece). She did not fall prey to typical category of cyber victimisation of women; but she shamelessly displayed her anger and frustration.But she actually did fall a victim as her right to speech and expression was gagged. She represents women who face similar humiliation from criminal justice machinery and finally they give up their claims for fair justice and loose hope from the machinery. It is only when women victims especially of cyber crimes, are given a patient hearing and immediate relief by the law and justice machinery that they can win over the feeling of shame as their western counter parts. This would in turn go a long way in preventing unethical hacking activities too.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Topless and shameless women always top the internet search lists, 19th September,2012, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com

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