Rediff.com Publicly apologise for failure to ensure safe chat space for women #Vaw #Online


Dear editor,
Rediff.com

Sir,
Mr. Ganesh Nadar fom Rediff had contacted me yesterday to participate
in a live chat today, and I agreed. Mr. Onkar Singh from Delhi‘s rediff
office came to my office today to facilitate the chat, which was to take
place from 2 pm to 3 pm. The chat had been advertised as an opportunity
to chat with me as one of the activists involved in the recent
anti-rape protests.
During the chat, someone with a handle ‘RAPIST
repeatedly intervened in capital letters. In one ‘question’ he said,
“Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape
them.” The same man then posted another question several times: “Kavita
tell me where I should come and rape you using condom.” Both questions
were in block capitals and very visible. Mr Nadar initially said live
chats cannot be ‘screened’ – which I know for a fat is not true since I
have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said
that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to
spot the ‘RAPIST’ because there were ‘so many questions.’ I find this
difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters
and the questions were also in capitals.
Yet, no one from Rediff
did anything to screen the guest – me – from such offensive questions,
or to block someone with a handle of ‘RAPIST’ from the chat!
Mr.
Ganesh Nadar has informed me that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the
chat and is filing an FIR and sending the screenshot to Worli cyber
crime labs to identify the ‘RAPIST.’ But I am yet to get a copy of the
screenshot though I have asked for it; excuses are being made. I am also
yet to receive the FIR number. Mr Nadar is very vague and contradictory
about why the transcript of the chat is yet to be posted; whether the
RAPIST’s questions will be screened there; whether I will receive a
screenshot or only the transcript (which will only have the questions I
responded to); and other queries that I have.

I demand a public  apology from Rediff for its failure to ensure that a chat organised by
them was a safe space for me, a woman. Condoning and allowing such
intimidatory behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space
– just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation,
and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to
keep ‘RAPIST’ out of the chat.
Expecting a public apology from you.
Kavita Krishnan,
Secretary, AIPWA

April 24, 2013 n

 

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