Singer Chinmayi, who was also effected by Suchileaks, has started an online petition “RAPE THREATS NOT OK” in Change.org demanding social media to terminate the accounts that threatens women. It seems she has been threatened for the past few days with tweets like, “You need to be raped”, “I’ll throw acid on your face” and “I’ll make sure you never sing again”.
Chinmayi, in her petition, has said,
“You need to be raped …”
“I’ll throw acid on your face”
“I’ll make sure you never sing again”
These were just a few tweets that I got for expressing my opinion on twitter. I am a playback singer in the film industry and I accept that I will be in the public eye.
But these threats of violence left me shaken and scared for my life. When I tried to report these threats Twitter simply ignored my fears. They told me that they would not take any action unless there was a police case.
Most women give up at this stage and quit Twitter. I decided to fight and filed a police complaint. Ultimately it was my fans who helped us identify my abusers. 3 people were arrested and spent 10 days in jail.
The entire incident left me furious! I am a celebrity and I have time, support and resources to fight. But what about the millions of ordinary women who use Twitter and face rape threats every day? It is the responsibility of Twitter to ensure that their platform is not used for promoting violence against women.
That’s why I started this petition asking Twitter to send a strong message against online abuse by doing a large-scale shutdown of accounts which tweet rape threats against women. Twitter has recently come out with new safety policies for its users. It talks about ‘mute’ and ‘block’ functions.
But twitter has never done a large scale shutdown of accounts that promote violence against women. In 2015, 360,000 twitter accounts were shut down for links to terrorism. Why can’t the same be done for accounts that tweet rape threats?
Twitter has to accept its responsibility. In its latest safety update twitter has said, “We’re listening and want your feedback so we can learn faster, build smarter, and make meaningful progress.”
I want Twitter to listen to its women users. I do not want to censor free speech and disagreements which are subjective and personal. But threats of rape can be objectively tracked and should not be protected as a “right to speech”.
Some men think rape threats are no big deal. That it’s ok to use rape or murder as casual threats. Rape is one of the worst forms of violence. Threats of rape and other gender-based violence are weapons that are used to subjugate and silence women.
If Twitter does a large scale shut down of these accounts that threaten to rape women, it will send a very strong message that the platform cannot be used for such vicious attacks. Women across the world are beginning to find Twitter hostile and traumatic. It’s time Twitter cleaned up its act and showed women that it is truly listening to our concerns.”
At the same time, she affirmed her stand against threats to women in social media through a tweet. “With regard to my petition on change.org and that Twitter is a bubble and it ain’t the real world – perhaps. But if social media isn’t ‘real’, please send the money to advertise in print media – when you want to find blood donors or stem cell donors. Or to raise funds for an underprivileged child’s education or ailment. Or to bring attention about a civic issue.
If you agree the requests above can be posted on social media where responses are ‘real’, threats to personal safety are real too. There cannot be selective blindness.
It’s like telling a woman if you dont wanna be raped stay at home. (last heard even the home is not safe for a woman/child sometimes),” she wrote.
Chinmayi petition on Change.org has received over 40 thousand signatures in just 36 hours.