Singer Chinmayi Sripada, who has been threatened with rape and acid attacks on Twitter, has started an online campaign to make Twitter safe for women. At the time of publication, the campaign had over 47,000 signatures. The campaign wants Twitter to delete accounts of those people who threaten such “dire consequences” online, and try to teach women “a lesson” – all for speaking their mind. Chinmayi is frequently threatened because of her outspoken views.
The campaign – Make Twitter Safe – was started on change.org and is seeking 50,000 signatures. Within 48 hours, the campaign had more than 40,000 people’s signatures. Once it crosses 50,000, it will be sent to Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.
Cinmayi wrote, “I am a playback singer in the film industry and I accept that I will be in the public eye. But these threats of violence left me shaken and scared for my life. When I tried to report these threats Twitter simply ignored my fears. They told me that they would not take any action unless there was a police case. Most women give up at this stage and quit Twitter. I decided to fight and filed a police complaint. Ultimately it was my fans who helped us identify my abusers. Three people were arrested and spent 10 days in jail.”
While the incident left her furious, Chinmayi realised that for women, social media platforms are as unsafe as the streets outside. “In 2015, 360,000 twitter accounts were shut down for links to terrorism. Why can’t the same be done for accounts that tweet rape threats? Rape is one the worst forms of violence. Threats of rape and other gender-based violence are weapons that are used to subjugate and silence women. If Twitter does a large scale shut down of these accounts that threaten to rape women, it will send a very strong message that the platform cannot be used for such vicious attacks,” she further said.
Read: A Culture Of Humiliation – Why They Trolled Trisha, Gurmehar, and Zaira
Her campaign comes soon after the infamous #SuchiLeaks started trending on Twitter, where singer Suchitra Karthik’s account was used to upload explicit photos of several female celebrities. Chinmayi, who tweeted criticism of the account’s activities, was one of the major targets of the person handling Suchitra’s Twitter account.
Feature Image: Chinmayi’s Twitter account