In a country that has been rocked by a series of controversies over sexual harassment, violence, rape and other violence against women, it is not surprising that women of the nation are feeling a little vulnerable.
It is the fear of the unknown that is causing them to seek refuge in social media.
Sources said many women are finding that their social media presence has become a refuge, especially as the recent spate of anti-women posts and violence against them has become an issue in the country’s political discourse.
“They are seeking refuge in Facebook and other online spaces as well.
They are doing so to protect themselves against a barrage of sexist, anti-woman, anti ‘Hindu’ and other messages,” a senior woman in a minority community said.
A woman who has faced similar threats on social media has been unable to take the threat of cyber harassment seriously and instead started using her social media platform to voice her opinions.
“I was the one who posted a statement saying that the anti-Hindu and anti-Romeo mob was attacking our girls and we were going to protect them.
Now, I am not taking any further steps,” the woman said.
The woman, who has since started sharing her personal experiences on her Facebook page, said she did not even realise that her comment had made it into the news media.
“I was very worried.
I thought that if I took a step and said something about it, they would think it was me speaking out,” she said.
A common refrain among women in the minority community is that they are not safe on social platforms.
Many feel they have to resort to such platforms for protection.
When the woman started posting her personal stories on Facebook, she was not surprised to receive threats of violence, she said, adding that the same sentiment was felt by many other women in her community.
“When people were telling me that I was a danger to my girls, I had to reply.
I had never been threatened before and was only sharing my experiences.
I did not think I was going to be attacked,” she told NDTV.
The women who share their experiences are not the only ones who are finding themselves on the defensive online.
There are women who are facing the fear and shame of speaking out.
“Some women in our community are finding it difficult to speak up because they are afraid of being targeted by the mob, and they fear being taken advantage of by the right wing parties,” a mother in a prominent community said, referring to political parties.
“Many of us do not know how to speak out against these kinds of issues,” she added.
In the face of this fear, some of these women have been using social media platforms to voice their concerns.
“There is a general feeling among women that they need to speak about it because it could lead to their family being threatened,” said a mother.
“But, the main reason they do it is to protect their identity.
They don’t want to face the consequences of their silence,” she explained.
The social media phenomenon has been on the rise in the last two years.
A recent survey by a leading social media monitoring organisation, Nielsen, found that nearly half of all Indian women said they had accessed social media on a daily basis since the election.
However, the trend is growing, and more women are sharing their stories online than ever before.