It was a Saturday morning. I had just finished breakfast when a friend sent a screenshot of the Facebook status of a common friend. The common friend living abroad had made a very bad comment on divorced women living alone. I was shocked.
I am a single mother myself and did not agree with that comment at all. I lodged my protest against the said comment and the common friend did not like it. Ignoring her words, I continued to write on feminism. I don’t know if it was the effect of my comments on the needs of feminism or what, but suddenly many radical men also went against me and 'women like me'.
One of them abused me pointing me out as an anti-female. They were not just abuses; they were certificates of character - according to which my body was available for sale!
I was called 'the biggest call girl of Delhi NCR, drug addict, makes frequent physical contact with writers…'
When I first read those abusive words, I could not move for four hours. The night of August 23 was like a mountain for me.
But with the rising sun, my courage rose too. We girls often get scared of these trolls. Instead of confronting the wrong-doers, we close ourselves and go into depression. I did not want to do this.
The rapist mentality, which is heavier than the male ego, feels that such words will shatter a woman from inside and I had to prove them wrong.
On August 24, I finally got this person's number. I was a little surprised to know that the man who used such language was a lecturer at a private university in Rajasthan. First, I had a conversation with the vice-chancellor (VC) of his university. Then I called him.
As soon as the man picked up the phone and confirmed his identity, I showered him with a barrage of abuses.
But yes, I was careful not to include his mother and sister into it like him.
The man, who was acting so obnoxious on social media and writing public slogans to the feminists, did not expect a woman he abused to confront him.
He went into a denial mode but his arrogance did not waver an inch.
In the evening some feminist women found him online and asked him the meaning of words such as slut and call girl, they very words he had used for me. Normally, men who hide behind a screen to hurl such abuses at women, don’t expect a reaction back from them.
The ‘gentleman’ then tried to blackmail me into keeping quiet by sending me an audio clip of our conversation.
I told him, 'I am happy that a serial abuser had been abused. You can make this recording public, I do not care'.
After this act of blackmail on his part, I took to Twitter and shared the screenshots tagging his university and his VC. Not long after the issue hit Twitter, the abuser sent an apology. He said that he is the father of two daughters and he had made a mistake.
An online troll was shown his place and I, keeping a woman’s dignity and his two daughters in mind, suggested that he start acting like a good father.
I was so relieved that evening - there was not only the satisfaction of forgiving someone but I felt great for my courage to confront a criminal.
Anu Shakti shared her story with Love Matters India for the #It’sTimeToAct campaign to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. #It’sTimeToAct aims to bring to light stories of women who fought back against such violence or harassment.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.