In recent weeks, as India's medical infrastructure totters on the brink of collapse, countless individuals have taken to social media platforms seeking help. From Remdesivir vials and plasma donors to hospital beds and ventilators - the requests run a wide gamut, with many seeing their posts amplified and spread extensively. But even as their medical crises are solved, predators and creeps continue to lurk.
Now, we feel compelled to note here that the online route to procuring medical equipment and facilities has been successful for many. But a pandemic is no deterrent for those looking to chat up women. And in the case of on Mumbai-based Shasvathi Siva, a social media post seeking medical aid for a COVID-19 patient turned out to have disturbing consequences.
Having shared her phone number on a post seeking plasma donors for an infected family member, Siva found herself fielding calls from potential donors even as others called her to ask if she lived alone (along with her address) or was single. Then came the video calls and WhatsApp-ed pictures of genitals.
"I woke up to find a grand total of seven men video calling me at the same time. I couldn’t even hang up for a second to block these numbers before another call would come by. Five minutes into feeling horrifically flustered, I silenced my phone, kept it aside and waited. It took some time for it to stop," she recounted in an article for Vice. But the crisis was far from over. Soon after this, Siva found herself the unfortunate recipient of "three unsolicited d*** pics from strangers".
As the situation worsened, Siva's story prompted social media outrage and eventually, media coverage. Putting out her story however came with some consequences, and she found herself being victim-shamed.
"Posted on Instagram about the harassment I faced from men when I put my number out for a COVID-19 emergency. Not only have the "Not All Men" brigade arrived on the comments section, I'm getting harassed even more. And then you wonder why victims don't speak up," she tweeted sharing screengrabs.