Time to rein in cyberbullies, they are potential rapists, says Bhabna

The latest outpouring of anger against rising cases of rapes in Bangladesh is now seeing a number of women speaking out against cyberbullying.


Prominent among them is actress Ashna Habib Bhabna, who has labelled those who hurl online vicious abuses on women as “potential rapists”. In fact, celebrities are the ones who are the most affected by this unfortunate trend — they are trolled, bullied and mocked on a regular basis online.


In an exclusive interview with UNB on Thursday, the popular actress revealed her torment at years of online bullying, harassment and stalking.


“The increasing cases of rapes and sexual harassment are surely very disturbing. The female artistes are also victims of cyberbullying, we regularly face harassment on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram,” she said.


Cyberbullying takes many forms — sending, posting or sharing insensitive and malicious content about someone privately or in public groups, sending threats, leaking identifying information or sharing embarrassing content, all comes under it.


“As artistes, we use social media platforms and public profiles to communicate with our fans and we are always open to constructive criticisms. But often we see that female celebrities like myself get virtually harassed for my attire, looks and what not,” Bhabna said.


“Whenever I post any image on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram, some people uselessly troll men. We know we do not control the narratives or mentalities of our audiences who wrongly judge us based on our appearances, so we try to ignore those who abuse us online. But sometimes these people cross the lines,” she added.


Sharing an anecdote, Bhabna said. “Recently I was harassed online by a young man, who claimed to be from a reputed university in the country. His online actions really irritated and annoyed me. Even the so-called educated people are also resorting to harassing artistes on social media.”


“In this era of globalisation, people from other parts of the world can easily see and understand the level of our domestic audience, their thought process and cognitive behaviours. It is shameful and insulting to see how some of our beloved fans treat us online,” she added.


Not only the celebrities, even the ordinary women are being harassed online on a daily basis. “From newborns to adolescents and adult women, even those who follow the religious etiquettes, no one is safe from the clutches of the cyberbullies these days.


“The problem with groups which deal with rapes is that they try to educate women to avoid being raped. What really needs to be done is to teach men not to rape or even harasss women, be it in person or online. This is because these men could go on to commit serious crimes against women.”


Bhabna is currently filming her next, Nurul Alam Atique’s historical film ‘Lal Moroger Jhuti’, as the lead actress.


Source: United News of Bangladesh