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The News Minute | March 23, 2015 | 04:41 pm IST “At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.…Overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide. I was patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously,” says Monica Lewinsky in a recent TED Talk video. She of course is referring to the episode in her life in the late 1990s when her affair with former president Bill Clinton became public and that eventually turned her world upside down. Speaking about cyber bullying and online harassment, Lewinsky says how her’s was the first major story to hit the digital media then, and how following it she lost her “reputation and dignity” and “almost lost my life.” “I was branded a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo,” she says. This was apart from the “cruel jokes” and the unprecedented attention and judgement that she received. Bullying on the internet, especially attacking and humiliating individuals for views that trolls may not agree with, has seen a rise in the recent past. The attacks often have a personal undertone with vicious attacks, including abuses and sexually coloured remarks, directed towards the victim. Though some brave it, such episodes can leave a negative emotional impact on the one being bullied. According to a Pew Research report released last year, young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking. Such bullying is also prevalent in India, though not all make it to the headlines. Here are a few incidents of cyber bullying and shaming in India. Chinmayi Sripada It was in early 2011, that playback singer Chinmayi Sripada found herself in the receiving end of a barrage of abusive and profane tweets. The hate messages for her started pouring in online after she reportedly refused to join an online group that tweeted about political issues. In a 2012, Sripada wrote a detailed blog titled “Facing Abuse and a backlash of Rumours”, describing how there came a point where anything she said was held against her. She was accused of supporting “one political party or the other” and “of saying things against the TN Fishermen and supporting the genocide of the SriLankan Army.” She was made fun of for being a vegetarian and was also threatened with “dire consequences.” Read her blog here: Facing abuse and a backlash of rumours #NDTVGirlAsks A question asked by a college student in Delhi to International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde last week, during a session moderated by NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, spread like wild fire on Twitter. Lagarde during her interaction said “Indian economy to grow by 7.5 per cent in the 2015/16 fiscal year”. It is then that the student asked her if the growth rate would be reserved for “Hindu males” and also cited “increasing trends of communalism and patriarchy” since the government came to power. The student was picked on and vehemently attacked to an extent that #NDTVGirlAsks started to trend on Twitter. Some also seemed to mistake the student for a NDTV journalist Sonal Mehrotra and accused her of initiating the channel’s propaganda. The journalist took to her Twitter account to clarify that the student was not her and when even that did not satisfy many, she eventually put out a blog on the incident that “left her shocked and seething with anger.” Read her blog here: #NDTVGirlAsks. Two Young Women Abused. Rega Jha During a high-voltage cricket match between India and Pakistan on February 15, BuzzFeed India Editor Rega Jha tweeted, “it's so sad that no matter who wins, Pakistanis will continue to be way hotter than us and we'll continue to be their ugly neighbours.” What followed was a volley of comments ranging from threats to sexist remarks, with plenty of crude abuses thrown in. Jha later tweeted, “Guys, my bad. All Indians are beautiful, inside and out :)” with a screenshot of the messages she had been receiving. Guys, my bad. All Indians are beautiful, inside and out :) pic.twitter.com/9NzcDlGDF4 — Rega Jha (@RegaJha) February 15, 2015 Beautiful Indians part II :) pic.twitter.com/wwtQHMBFj0 — Rega Jha (@RegaJha) February 15, 2015 Alright. *rolls sleeves up* *cracks knuckles* Who's ready to talk about the internet as a hostile space for women? — Rega Jha (@RegaJha) February 17, 2015 DD anchor Aayenah Pahuja Towards the end of last year, Aayenah Pahuja, an anchor with DD, posted a video on The Logical Indian Facebook page telling she felt suicidal. This was following a gaffe she made during the live telecast of the International Film Festival of India in Goa a few weeks ago from then. When the video of the show hit the social media, the anchor was reduced to a laughing stock on the platform. The backlash brought to front the power social media had to abuse and humiliate individuals. "Hello Logical Indian. By now you all know me as the dumb DD anchor straight from IFFI and many more things like that. Yeah it might be funny for you guys, but it is very depressing for me and I've felt suicidal lately because my career is at stake,” she says in the video. Watch the video here: Embarrassed DD anchor says she feels suicidal Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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