IHeartMob – A Unique Way to End Online Harassment
Hollaback! (2013) is a Canada based Not-For-Profit Organization which has centres in over 31 countries. Hollaback! works towards street harassment because that is where the women and LGBTQI are most vulnerable – physically and legally. There are no legislations for street / public place harassment. While working on the cause of eliminating street harassment, Hollaback! has started an initiative, ‘IHeartmob’ which aims to end online harassment; the nature of which is similar to street harassment in which the victims may be mob-harassed or cornered by people known or unknown to them. The goal of IHeartMob is to reduce trauma for people being harassed online by giving them the immediate support they need — and in doing that work, create an army of good so powerful that it can disrupt and ultimately transform the hearts and minds of those perpetuating online harassment.
Life imitates art imitates life. Poetic Justice is not just an idyllic theory. Hollaback!’s IHeartMob is a commendable attempt to implement an idealistic theory of good triumphing over evil. “Ummedon waali dhoop, sunshine waali asha. Rone ki wajah kum hai, hasne ke bahane jyada. Zidd hai muskurayenge, khush rehne ka hai vaada. Ummedon waali dhoop, sunshine waali asha. Tum dil se agar puchoge, woh khush rehna hi chahe, jab sachhe dil se chaho, to khul jaati hai rahein…” The aforementioned Hindi words belong to one of the most popular Coca-Cola India, television commercial (2012) which stands for hope, the sheer will to be happy and generate positivity while overcoming adversity. ‘Expecto Patronum!’ is a charm that as Miranda Goshawk says, “conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings.The Patronus Charm is difficult and many witches and wizards are unable to produce a full, corporeal Patronus…” Harry Potter series are lessons on life. Defense against the Dark Arts as an academic subject is taught in the same spirit as in Physics we learn the phenomena of light instead of studying the existence of the dark.
Here at home in India, Centre for Social Research (CSR) has initiated #SocialSurfing and #TweeSurfing in collaboration with Facebook and Twitter, respectively. In sync with IHeartMob’s idealistic aim; we are creating the ‘Butterfly Effect’ with our aforementioned workshops. While we take humble steps in physically reaching out to college youth across India for social media literacy, educating them on online safety and counter speech; we are counting on our efforts to make a bigger ripple effect on the way cyber space and social media are used in this country. CSR is a Civil Society Organization working for the women and girls’ empowerment; it is through this lens that we are seeking to make online space not only a gender-just, democratic platform for interaction but we also seek to create social change by harnessing the power of social media.
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