At a time when the country is reeling under the second wave of coronavirus, social media has emerged as a saviour for many who are looking for plasma, ventilators, hospitals beds and anti-viral drugs for their family members. However, a shameful incident took place in India’s worst-hit state of Maharashtra which will make women think twice before sharing their contact details for help on social media platforms.
The incident happened last week when one of the family members of Mumbai resident Shasvathi Siva fell ill. In a letter to Vice, the woman told that a sick family member was in need of a ventilator, which is in shortage at several hospitals of the financial capital amid the ongoing spurt in COVID-19 cases. It was then that she decided to take to social media.
She began narrating her ordeal with how social media came to her rescue and she managed to get a ventilator arranged for her ailing relative within six hours.
“A family member got infected and critical last week, and we were trying to find her a ventilator which has been in shortage. I’ve always believed in the power of the internet, and went forth and put out a request on Twitter asking for help or contacts who could point me in the direction of a ventilator. I was put in touch with multiple contacts who helped out. In about six hours, we successfully found a ventilator,” read Siva’s letter to Vice.
However, the condition of the sick family member worsened after a couple of days and was now in need of A+ blood group plasma. After connecting with several communities who connect plasma donors to those in need, Siva once again decided to turn to social media for help.
As soon as her post on social media went viral, Siva started receiving multiple calls from blood and plasma banks, and several others offering help. While many of these calls were genuine, Siva soon realised that some of them had no intention of helping but were instead calling to harass her.
“I got another call and I could hear two men on the other end giggling “Your DP is so nice,” one of them said. Once again, I cut the call. I continued getting calls asking where I live, whether I live alone, if I’m single, whether I’d speak to them, what my full name is. One man made kissing sounds,” she wrote in the letter.
The online abuse did not stop here as the next day, Siva started getting video calls from several men and her WhatsApp was filled with d*ck pics.
“I thought it wouldn’t get worse, but since this morning, I’ve received (on WhatsApp) 3 d*ck pics, and 7 men trying to video call me continuously. Even in a medical emergency, men think only with their genitals” she wrote. Siva further warned women to “NEVER, EVER let your number out in public forums,” she wrote.