Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor Image Credit: AFP

Bollywood celebrities Sonam Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, Dia Mirza, director Hansal Mehta, have initiated a step against online trolling, harassment and threats such as rape, murder and acid attack that celebrities — particularly females — have been subjected to lately on social media.

While calling out to their fans to sign an online petition against this abuse, TV stars such as Maanvi Gagroo, Aahana Kumra, Sandhya Mridul, Sumeet Vyas and Sayani Gupta have also thrown their weight behind the initiative titled, “Stop Targeted Abuse and Harassment of Women on Social Media”.

“Enough is Enough! It’s time we put an end to targeted abuse and harassment women face online every day. Join me and stand for #IndiaAgainstAbuse,” read a tweet posted by Kapoor and shared by many others.

The petition calls out the online abuse, which has seen an upswing in recent months.

“Today content creators, stand-up comedians, storytellers and actors, as well as, all women who voice their opinion strongly, are constantly targeted with vulgar memes, abusive sexual comments, bullying, name-calling and graphic images. Death and rape threats are the new normal for most women on social media. Silence and inaction towards curtailing these have only further fed into the rape culture where threats of abuse have become matters of everyday occurrences,” the petition reads.

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Bollywood actress Dia Mirza Image Credit: IANS

“Currently, our only options are to ignore or Report/Block and move on with our lives. But nothing substantial comes out of this and these perpetrators of abuse continue to thrive and spread hate. They even have thousands and millions of followers and fan pages, thus, systematically normalising an environment of misogyny, homophobia and abuse. These virtual public spaces are a reflection of the real public places, where women are made to feel unsafe,” it continues.

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Shaheen Bhatt (standing) with father Mahesh and sister Alia. Image Credit: Instagram

“We must create an environment that shields us against abusive trolling, rape threats, and vulgar memes. We, on behalf of all women on social media, demand that the social media platforms create an environment where threatening and abusing women is not celebrated and championed by thousands of followers and a rape joke is deemed unacceptable and intolerable. We want the violators to pay a price commensurate to the havoc they create on women’s lives,” petition further adds.

In the past few days, Alia Bhatt’s sister Shaheen Bhatt, Sushant Singh Rajput’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and ‘Dil Bechara’ actress Swastika Mukherjee have complained about rape and acid attack threats from strangers.