By Uzair Adam Imam
Cyberbullying against women is one of the lingering issues women face across social media spaces over time.
The menacing issue, however, has now escalated to become a global problem affecting women emotionally and chasing them away from online spaces.
The Daily Reality interviewed some women about the hazard. They recounted that the kind of messages they received from men were disgusting.
The women decried that most of these disgusting messages often demand nude pictures or videos and propose love, irrespective of one’s marital status.
This issue is most common on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, among other social media platforms.
Zahra Madaki, one of the women interviewed, complained that social media is never an exciting place for women to go as cyberbullying exacerbates daily.
She stated, “Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are very annoying nowadays. That’s why I decided to stop using them.
“Everyone is after love affairs. So, anyone will keep proposing for love as they see you online. It’s so annoying,” Madaki complained.
On request for sex, pornography
According to Aisha Jibril, not her real name, women are victims of all naughty things on social media platforms today.
She complained that some men request sex, and nude pictures or videos, as you begin to chat with them. The development, she said, distresses many women.
She stated, “there was a time someone on Facebook asked me if I ever watched pornography. I was shocked because, at that time, I didn’t know the meaning of the word.
“I had to ask my elder sister what the meaning of the word was. Before I could respond to his earlier message, this man sent me a porn movie.
“I shivered with fear that my phone nearly fell on the floor. I was terrified. I had never before that time had such an experience. I hardly slept that night,” Aisha said.
Another source, Khadijat Muhammad Bah, also decried the menace, blaming men for being irresponsible in their relations with girls.
Bah said, “we ladies are seeing and reading all kinds of rubbish. Some men out there send nude pictures and always request nude photos.
“Some would insult and curse because you refuse to give them your contact. Some of them just want sex.
“One day, I posted my picture on my story, and one guy said, ‘wow, those lips are for me’. And that was one reason that always stopped me from putting my picture on my story,” she lamented.
According to a source who preferred not to be named, her sister once met someone on Facebook. Their relationship started as a friendship before the guy finally asked for sex, which later led to their breakup.
She said, “the guy kept pleading with her to come to his apartment. But she refused. We were surprised at how shameless this guy was.”
Someone keeps on disturbing me – Housewife
A housewife who spoke to The Daily Reality complained that someone kept disturbing her on social media.
The woman said she told the guy to stop chatting with her because she was married, but the guy turned a blind eye.
She said, “This man started adding me to some irresponsible dating groups on WhatsApp. But, I thank God that through the help of my brother, we solved the issue and blocked the son of bitch afterwards.”
Another housewife complained that some men that chatted her up used to send her some porn photos, but she deleted them instantly.
She added, “these guys chat and comment on our posts anyhow. They tend to forget about our marital status. They forget that our spouses and relatives also see our online activity and would be sad to see such naughty and irresponsible comments under our posts.
Cyberbullying: An unfortunate reality in dear need of mitigation
Dr Rukayya Aliyu, a senior lecturer at Bayero University, Kano, urged the technology firms that build these sites to act and make online spaces safe for women.
Aliyu described the menace of cyberbullying as an “unfortunate incidence” in dire need of mitigation.
She stated, “Cyberbullying is an unfortunate incidence, but unfortunately, it is challenging to overcome because it happens on social media platforms, which are free and uncensored.
“However, it can be managed to some extent with measures from the sites themselves, which can only be minimal. The reality is regulation by the government might not be effective considering the lapses in regulating traditional media, to which the government has better control and access.
Women ought to be responsible and mindful of their online activity
Dr Rukayya also urged women to be mindful of what they post on social media platforms to avoid insults and indecent comments.
She said, “on my take as a woman, it’s displeasing, but then fellow women should understand that most abuses come as reactions to our post and engagement with the platforms. Therefore, we should be responsible in our dealings and always be conscious that whatever goes on on any internet-connected platform is no longer personal. People have a right to their opinions.
“If we don’t want to be abused or bullied, we ought to be responsible and mindful of our digital or cyber identities. However, we shouldn’t rule out that no matter how ‘decent’ or responsible our social engagements are, there are people who will still castigate, blackmail, abuse and bully us.
“So before engaging, we ought to be conscious of the implications and be ready to surmount them through confidence and steadfastness in what we do,” Dr Rukayya added.
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