Women getting lewd calls from strangers

Women getting lewd calls from strangers

Many women, mostly single, suddenly find their phone numbers posted on dating sites

Shraddha (name changed), a communications expert in her early thirties, was shocked when she got a call from a stranger asking her if she would like to spend the night with him. He told her he had got her number from a dating website. She hadn’t signed up on it.

She later received about a dozen calls over two days from men she didn’t know. She is now filing a police complaint. Shraddha is not alone. Many women, mostly single, suddenly find their phone numbers posted on dating sites and sites advertising escort services.

Many hesitate to complain, fearing a loss of reputation among family and friends.  Commissioner T Suneel Kumar urges women in such circumstances to approach the cyber police.

“This will act as a deterrent and instil fear in the offender,” he says.

Siji Malayil, a criminal defence lawyer, High Court, says men put up numbers of women mostly as an act of revenge. “The idea is to defame the women. People facing psychological problems sometimes do it,” explains Siji. Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code states that any word, gesture or act, intended to insult the modesty of a woman can attract a fine and jail of up to three years, he says.

Internet experts say cases of women finding their phone numbers and pictures on dating and sex websites is on the rise. Kumarjeet Ray of Centre of Internet and Studies, says, “The reason for such cases is mostly rejection. This particular act I believe stems from the toxic masculine culture in India. Men sort of think that they have control or power over women who they are in any kind of a relationship with. Thus leaking their pictures and dishonouring them becomes an act of revenge where the society ends up questioning the woman’s character.”  

Could lead to depression

Dr Chittaranjan Andrade, professor and Head, Department of Psychopharmacology, Nimhans, says: “It seems to me that this amounts to harassment, and that women should immediately complain to the women’s cell in police stations and to the cyber police.” Harassment of this nature causes stress, and any stress can result in depression, especially if the individual has poor coping skills, and has no partner, family, or social support, he told Metrolife.

Punishable act

Any content published without consent attracts punishment under the Indian Penal Code. The case is stronger if images are captured without consent. A man posting a woman’s number and picture can be booked for defamation and criminal intimidation.

Other cases in Bengaluru

  • Roopa (name changed) breaks up with her fiancé and the next thing she finds is her name and number posted on an escort service sites. The woman gets all kinds of phone calls for over two months. She slips into depression and gets psychiatric treatment.
  • Husband finds out that his wife is having an affair. To disgrace her, he posts her nude pictures and phone number on a dating site. She starts getting lewd demands from men of all ages.