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Cyber Victimization of Women: Types and Prevention

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Abstract 

The research study provides a review and analysis about the various kinds of cyber crimes that are committed by the perpetrators who are always in search of vulnerable people who could be victimized. Women are said to be vulnerable and a common victim. The paper talks about the increasing number of cyber crimes over the years. There have been increased rates in cyber crimes against women, reason being lack of knowledge of the advanced technologies, lack of empowerment and not effective use of laws provided for safety and security of the individuals.

Cyberspace being a perpetual platform gives a shield to cyber criminals to work under the cover of anonymity and accomplish their evil motives of harassing individuals. Behind this cover of virtual reality it is easier for the perpetrators to defame, cheat, defraud and harm people. This paper provides a predictive analysis of cyber crimes against women and how such crimes could be prevented with solutions to improve the present status of cyber security cells to work more efficiently and effectively for the safety of the people.

Introduction 

The Internet is a boon for people. It provides us access to huge amounts of information. It provides us various services, be it transferring money or sharing any piece of information from one place to any corner of the world or connecting to people across the globe. The Internet has helped us in keeping pace with the fast moving world. With so many advantages of the internet there are disadvantages too. Who assures safety on the internet? It is a huge platform where innumerable people are constantly surfing the internet and thus it gives predators the opportunity to look for easy targets on the internet. These predators find women and children as easy targets on the internet. The status of women in our country has seen many ups and downs. According to the vedic tradition women are placed at a high pedestal. All the four Vedas regarded women to live in honor, with respect and protection. There have been times when women have been regarded as sex objects in vedic times by the invaders and the situation has not changed much. Women are considered inferior to men which has created a wide gender bias. The men find themselves capable enough to do wrong to women believing their doing would not be penalized.

Cyber victimization of women

Women benefit themselves from the internet technologies available to them for expressing themselves, networking and work related activities. The Internet is an open platform to everyone. The most common cyber crimes committed are profile hacking, photo morphing, offer and shopping scams, romance and dating scams, link baiting, information theft, cyber bullying etc. Cybercrime is committing all illegal activities carried out using technology. Cyber criminals range from individuals to criminal organizations to state sponsored actors. They have a criminal motive to intentionally cause harm to the reputation of the victim and their mental health. 

The world wide web is gaining popularity among Indian women at a fast pace as compared to men and children. As per 2019 mobile gender gap report by GSMA, over 40% of Indian women were aware of mobile internet as compared to 19% as per 2018 report. These reports show that the number of women surfing the internet has comparatively increased over the years. Which in turn provides predators more opportunities for victimization. With evolving time and technology advancement young girls are falling prey to the predators. The young generation are inexperienced and make social networking accounts either under peer pressure or they have an urge of knowing the cyber world and therefore they are more vulnerable to falling prey to the cyber criminals. As per the survey by Feminism 50% of women residing in prime Indian cities like delhi are a victim of online abuse.

With increasing availability of affordable internet services, cyber bullying has witnessed an alarming rise in Delhi. A student of about 20 years studying at Delhi university named Gurmeher Kaur who raised an online campaign against the violence by ABVP, she constantly received death and rape threats online. This is one ugly example of cyber bullying in Delhi, the cases are innumerous, each day yet another innocent being is subject to online torments.

Various kind of cyber crymes

Various kinds of cyber crimes take place on a day to day basis all across the globe and they are discussed as following:

  1. Cyber Harassment: People get fake emails which are threatening, requesting personal details in furtherance of cheating, bullying or blackmailing. Cyber bullying can be in the form of causing humiliation or posting hurtful comments or sharing negative information about an individual. Issuing online threats and provoking individuals or groups to kill themselves or hurt others. Asking for sexual favours online or any sort of verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. It is comparatively a tedious task to detect the true culprit online since the predators use fake ids while committing a crime. 
  2. Cyber Stalking: Social media is a platform wherein it is easier to stalk anyone. Problems tend to arise when people engage themselves into stalking with the intent to hurt the other person mentally or physically. Reasons for stalking could be an obsession of love, sexual harassment, hatred or ego and power trips. Stalking is similar to intruding into someone’s private space forcefully.
  3. Cyber pornography: It is one of the most serious threats to the women online. It has proven to be a menace all across the globe. In today’s times the web is full of pornographic material, which is hazardous to the women’s integrity as the cyber criminals use photos of women, edit them and fix them with nude pictures or videos. This can affect the victim’s mental health and reputation as a whole drastically. In Avnish Bajaj v. State, it is famously called the DPS MMS Scandal where MMS clip of a school girl in a compromising situation was made and circulated on various internet networks.  Cyber pornography is covered by IT Act 2000 under section 67 to some extent, Delhi Metro CCTV footage leak case wherein the cameras installed by DMRC on metro stations captured couples getting intimate in metro stations and the recordings were leaked. 
  4. Cyber defamation: It is a common crime committed against women wherein the motive of the predators is to affect the reputation of the victim. This can be done by publishing defamatory information about someone which is fallacious; this can be easily done by hackers and people with fake ids.
  5. Morphing: This is one of the most common crimes that are committed against women. Photographs of females are edited and used to create fake profiles and use them for immoral purposes. After the photographs are morphed the next step of the criminals is to blackmail the innocent women. Consequences of not believing the cyber criminals is proved to be a threat as the morphed pictures could be viral and the reputations of individuals is at stake.
  6. Emails Spoofed: It is a fraudulent email activity wherein the sender address and other parts of the email header are altered to appear as though the email originated from a different source. Such an act is done with the motive of stealing private/sensitive information about an individual or a group.

Reasons for increased growth of cyber crimes against women

Women easily fall prey to the perpetrators on cyberspace as they forward obscene emails, stalk women using chat rooms and creating pornographic videos or obscene videos without their consent. Young girls on the internet are not aware about the crimes which take place on cyberspace which can actually make them regret their actions in future; they post photographs which are obscene sometimes for validity on this virtual platform not knowing that these could be used inappropriately as a business by the perpetrators. Girls and women are likely to interact with unknown people who take them into confidence and are successful in taking out information from them for instance, obscene photographs or provide them with very sensitive information. Even if such a case occurs women find it unnecessary to report once they get to know about their own victimization and it is a huge threat to them as well as many more girls who can fall victim in a similar manner. Most such crimes could stop if the crimes are reported on time without hesitation or fear. It is a fact that tracing the exact criminal is difficult on cyberspace since the IDs used to do various crimes are mostly fake and not even traceable after the ill motive of the perpetrator is achieved. To commit a crime in cyberspace is much easier as compared to the reality.

Mostly the women are unaware of various privacy policies and safety tips provided to them also women are less skilled when it comes to safety online. Cyber law has not been formulated in a manner which is known to people and thus women find it difficult to report the crime thus, many crimes go unreported. Women are not aware of the procedure they can use to administer their reports. The National Crimes Report Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain a separate record of crimes committed on cyberspace. Investigation of these cybercrimes takes a long period of time to solve and provide justice to the victim. The anonymity on the internet makes the job of the criminals easier. There are not enough cyber cells to take care of the crimes being committed on an everyday basis and even if there are people are not aware of the existence of such bodies. 

Preventive measures and solutions for crimes committed on cyberspace 

We often hear the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ and we must put this into practice when it comes to dealing with the cyber criminals. As educated individuals we need to be aware as well as educate others who are not well versed with the online scams, frauds and perpetrators.

We must make use of cyber laws available to us, they are the only remedy provided to all individuals surfing the internet. Cyber laws provided under IT Act, 2000. Laws relating privacy breach, cyber terrorism and punishments relating to the same. Cyber criminals could be booked under this act.

There should be enough cyber cells or e-portals available to people and they should have the knowledge of them too. So that people do not think twice before reporting the crime committed against them. Early reporting can help to find the criminal before he gets untraceable. These cyber cells must have means to keep a constant surveillance on the users so that no inappropriate information is shared online. Police and cyber forensics must collaborate together to solve the cases to provide relief to the victim at the earliest.

Girls should be educated about the cyber crimes at the school during the adolescent age. It is at this age the probability of falling prey to the cyber criminals is comparatively more since at this tender age girls are not mature enough to know the future consequences they might face because of their reckless mistakes, which could be life threatening even harmful for the mental well being. School curriculum must contain online safety sessions for the teenage students who are capable enough to understand how to use the internet effectively and safely.

All international service providers must put their servers in India so that the IP address could be tracked easily which can help in faster investigation.

Conclusion

India recorded 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317 cases of cyber crime in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. These statistics show that the rate of cyber crimes is increasing with every coming year. Women being vulnerable in this patriarchal society faces innumerable crimes and is a common victim in cyberspace. With advancement in technologies this is a fear of being misused by the perpetrators who hide themselves behind screens to commit crimes. Individuals must take precautions while surfing the internet. The cyber cells must function at all hours of the week and people should be aware of the ways to administer their complaints with the cyber help groups. Laws should be made by the legislature for women and children, since they are the vulnerable group of people who tend to fall prey to cyber criminals. 

People must be aware of various kinds of cyber crimes, so that they know they are victimized and what action they should take to get over the situation. Perpetrators have no religion and they are a danger to the entire human race as a whole. They should be no one to breach anyone’s privacy. Children need to be taught since childhood to respect one another, to respect women.

Some series of steps need to be followed as mentioned before to counter the cyber crimes that take place on a regular basis. The steps in a summarized form could be education, empowerment and legal recourse. This is the most effective way to counter cyber crimes from the root. To bring change in the society people need to come together, cooperate with the government and make effective use of the laws made for the benefit of the citizens. 

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Cyber Victimization Of Women: Types And Prevention. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/cyber-victimization-of-women-types-and-prevention/
“Cyber Victimization Of Women: Types And Prevention.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/cyber-victimization-of-women-types-and-prevention/
Cyber Victimization Of Women: Types And Prevention. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/cyber-victimization-of-women-types-and-prevention/> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2021].
Cyber Victimization Of Women: Types And Prevention [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 25 [cited 2021 Dec 8]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/cyber-victimization-of-women-types-and-prevention/
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