Written and Illustrated by Agrani Thakuri Jha
I am “a girl”; just like you, and everyone else. I loved to lead a colorful yet peaceful life filled with energy. And, I utilized this energy to become a better person every day. While, I loved expressing myself through different mediums, I also was making my ends meet, just like you, and everyone else.
One day, I was riding a bus and got immersed in my digital space, and I saw other people doing the same in the bus. I was scrolling through some tweets, while also thinking of my opinions.
The tweets that I had earlier scrolled that day were being read and discussed in my college. Just like everyone else, I was giving my opinion too. Other people in the crowd didn’t seem to have any problem with it, and we ended up having a calm discussion.
That day, a boy in my college was rude to me. He was trying to bully me. To his disrespect, I stood up for myself. And then he backed off.
I loved to dance. I posted my dance choreography on TikTok. I loved experimenting with new songs and new steps, and putting it out on the world so that people can experience my talent and entertain themselves.
However, I came to the realization that my physical space and digital space are not the same. Nothing concerning was happening in my physical space, I was safe (at least I thought that I was safe). But now, anything that I did in my physical space was haunting me in my digital space too. As much as my physical space felt safe, my digital space started to give out equally terrifying situations and feelings to me.
The people that had problems with me, did nothing to me in my physical space. They acted kind. But as soon as they had a choice to be anonymous and hide their identity in the digital space, they did horrid things – things that they couldn’t do in the physical space.
The bus stalker made me feel unsafe to ride the bus, everyone in the crowd seemed like a red flag! And the world as a whole, now seemed like a threat. I felt like no matter where, when – everyone was now watching me.
I walk as a ball of fear. The continuous stalking makes me feel unsafe and I feel skeptical of everyone. I feel they look at me with eyes that of a predator.
The words in social media have created a huge impact on my being. It has turned me into a girl who once loved to express herself to a girl who loves grabbing a secluded corner. I have now started isolating myself.
I stick around the corner and keep myself isolated. I, who once used to speak out and stand up for what was wrong, now, choose to keep silent.
I have stopped dancing and expressing myself through TikTok because of the fear inflicted on me through online abuse. Hence, I now shut myself down in my dark room and let the fear seep all over me.
The world is covered with many other people, suffering like me. Not only me, but numerous of them are victims of online abuse too. I am you, and us for many days, and for many others to come.
Digital spaces has become a place where people that we know or not know can harm us anonymously, inflicting negativity and harassment. The infection of digital harassment is spread throughout the world, and it’s still growing and growing. People are slowly becoming more of fear and insecurity, rather than being themselves. And that’s beating all of our mental health, as well as our being.
It makes me think, “What can we do to decrease the abuse in digital space, while also to come out of it?”
Agrani Thakuri Jha is a visual artist and a writer. Agrani is a creative soul prefers her art to speak for themselves. In her free time, she finds herself basking in the sun, creating magic with words and colors. Spending her full time loving and cuddling with her cats.