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India Covid crisis: Women volunteers face harassment from callers

Web report/New Delhi
Filed on June 4, 2021
AFP photo used for illustrative purpose

Several women change their profile photos to random ones for the sake of safety


Women volunteers in Delhi, who are accessible on their mobile phones and on WhatsApp to help individuals tackle the Covid crisis, frequently have to deal with offensive callers who pass terrible comments and harass them verbally.

Several women volunteers have been talking about the harassment they face while taking calls. Srishti, who has been volunteering along with other students from her college was quoted by a newspaper on Friday about the horrific calls she has to handle. “Some people call and say things like can you find a bed for both of us?” she said. Others address them as ‘baby,’ ‘darling,’ ‘sweety’ and other such terms.

“I was born and brought up in Delhi so I am used to this kind of behaviour,” she told the journalist. “But for once during the pandemic at least, I did not want Delhi men to behave like this. But the pandemic has shown me another dark side of them.”

Mahima, a former civil servant, who also has a newsletter, said she changed her profile picture to a random one that did not show her face as she did not want to take a risk. Other women volunteers told her they too do the same for the sake of safety.

One woman volunteer pointed out that during normal times she would have dragged a person stalking her or harassing her on social media to the police station. “But now when I have to arrange an ambulance for a critical patient, wood for cremation and a funeral service for a stranger, I do not have any energy left to deal with these men.”





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