NEW DELHI, Jul 16 (IPS) – The ongoing online sexual harassment of Muslim women via ‘Sulli Deals’, an auction app hosted by GitHub, has been reported to authorities – but not before calling a indescribable trauma for the targeted women.
Cyber Cell registered the case in Delhi, India, although GitHub has shut down the open source Sulli Deals app. Sulli is a derogatory term that is often used by abusive right-wing trolls for Muslim women in India. Previously, similar profiles and IDs were found on Twitter and YouTube. These platforms have been used to harass Muslim women by using a similar “Sulli Deals” modus operandi to auction photos of the women. Sania Ahmed, a media professional, realized that her photos were being auctioned and processed online via “Sulli Deals” on Twitter almost a year ago. Sania says she complained to Twitter about these grips, even tried to contact police, but her complaints were ignored. “When I first found it online, a handful on Twitter was offering Pakistani Muslim women. When I called him that grip blocked me, but this incident was followed by horrible trollings, very graphic abuse and messages. I knew about this ecosystem of trolls, and I complained to Twitter, but it hadn’t taken any action, ”Ahmed told IPS in an exclusive interview. “It was recently when a right hand grip tagged me on Twitter that I realized that they had gone ahead and created an entire app, and they were bidding on Muslim women through it. . “I have received threats of rape, threats of acid attacks and threats of death. It was different because it wasn’t just about me anymore; there were so many other women involved. The fact that these men uploaded all of our photos, imagine the kind of effort they were making, ”Ahmed said. Farah Mizra (name changed due to security concerns), is another woman who found her photos on the ‘Sulli Deal’ app, said in an interview with IPS. She was “in absolute shock” for days when her friend told her the photos were being used as “Sulli Deal of the Day”. “I also found my friends’ photos on this app, and my first reaction was to immediately report it to GitHub. There were Twitter nicks sharing screenshots of this app and tagging us, and I just spent this night constantly reporting all those nicks that were auctioning us off.
Online harassment creates anxiety about general safety. “Online sexual harassment doesn’t take a long time to reach women offline. They have my photos. They have my name. They can easily get more information and details about me. I feel safe, neither online nor offline.
“These attacks are not random. The women are carefully chosen. We are all Muslim women. We have a voice and we have spoken in favor of many policies of the BJP government, ”Mizra said. According to this Plan International report, “Free to be online,” 58% of young women experience harassment and abuse online on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and TikTok. Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, said in this article: “In both high-income and low-income countries, the report found that girls are routinely subjected to explicit messaging, pornographic photos. , cyberstalking and other distressing forms of harassment and abuse. . Attacks are most common on Facebook, where 39% experienced harassment, followed by Instagram (23%), WhatsApp (14%) and Twitter (9%).
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