Refuse the Abuse was born from a deep need to fight against the cornering of women in cyber space through abuse and insult. Though this was not an issue that was faced only by women in the film industry, WCC took the initiative to work on this campaign because given the visibility of women in cinema we are individually and collectively favoured targets of cyber bullies. We started our campaign on Oct 2, International Non-Violence Day & Gandhi Jayanthi, with the quote…
It was quite amazing how the same visibility could empower and bring on board so many from multiple fields who were inspired to speak up! As one of them said to us “it was so liberating to simply say it out loud and to know that so many actually feel the same way – thank you for reminding me of my freedom of speech!” As a campaign we sought to make it a forum for women to speak their thoughts about cyber abuse and had conceived it as a week-long plan. But when the campaign evoked a tidal wave of responses we realised that many more wanted to speak. With so many individuals (of all genders) reaching out to us to join the campaign, we experienced the real ‘power’ in empowerment. For all those voices who called out the abusers in polite, sharp and even humorous words, we thank you for your civility and grace. You have demonstrated beautifully that opinions can be expressed in a positive and wholesome way.
When we commenced, the campaign note requested the attention of the government and law enforcement authorities and of the influencers in the film industry. We thank the government for the thoughtful and responsive manner in which they are responding to the need of the hour which includes pulling back an ordinance that was not the ideal solution. We thank enforcement authorities for their quicker responses to complaints, as we have witnessed in the past month. Their quick action on matters gives us more hope for real change. We thank the prominent names of our industry and society who have cared enough to speak against the abuse and urged their fans and followers to be thoughtful and empathetic. Your voices hold much power and you have shown us that you are the REAL heroes.
Beyond the posts we shared, there were people who went ahead and made their own videos and posted them for public awareness using the same message of Refuse the Abuse. Thank you for the solidarity and the proactive messages.
During this time, we have been studying and working with like-minded legal minds to propose steps that would help towards stricter implementation of existing laws and improved conviction rates and better facilitation of complaints and redressal. And we hope the results will be significant and beneficial to all. We are thankful to experts like Vinod Bhattathiripad Sir, Shyam Padman Associates, IT for Change, Centre for Constitutional Research & Rights Advocacy, Adv.Harish Vasudevan, Inji Pennu, Sincy Alias, Sacred Hearts College, Citizen Collective for a Safe Cyberspace and others who have shared their wealth of knowledge about how cyber abuse issues can be better dealt with. We hope to continue to work with all of them towards specific goals to overcome the issue.
We thank Bhattathiripad Sir for his contribution to cyber safety and encourage everyone to read his books on the subject https://www.amazon.in/Mobileum-Jailum-Cyber-Kuttanweshanathinte-Vazhikal-Malayalam-ebook/dp/B071CKQT4H
We thank KR Meera for a wonderful inspirational session about her perspectives on the cyber mob and its relevance in gendered aspects of society. We thank J Devika, Chithira Vijayakumar, Darshan Sreedhar Mini, Resmi PS and Elizabeth Alexander for sharing their wonderful research and writing on the Malayali in Cyberspace.
We want to thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly towards the campaign and all the content creation. You are the A-team and we are proud to work with you!
We are so thrilled with the positive responses that each and every post of Refuse the Abuse has received and thankful to all for amplifying the reach of this campaign to upwards of 7.86 million!
As a finale, we are happy to share the voice of someone we all adore and cherish – She speaks for all of us. #RefusetheAbuse