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Sending a picture of their ‘man parts’ to an unsuspecting woman might seem very macho or great fun to over-entitled ‘boys’, but this is why women are always on their guard.
I first came across the term Unsolicited Dick Pic when I joined Twitter at the age of eighteen.
A fellow Twitter user had ranted about some random stranger sending her a photograph of his man parts after a simple Hello. Later, I Google searched the term and found screenshots from around the world and some hilarious comic sets from female comedians talking about the Unsolicited Dick Pic phenomena as well.
The first time I encountered this depressingly universal female experience myself, was when I was about to turn twenty. It came from a fellow member of a Facebook comic book group in which I was frequently vocal about sexist art-styles and tropes. My then boyfriend, instead of giving any practical advice or mental support, suggested it was because I had a baby face and I gave the vibes of an easy target. The boyfriend, like the sender of that dick pic, is blocked now.
After the first incident, the male human’s peeing organ landed in my Instagram inbox and Facebook’s Other Messages quite often. From hello bibes to you are cutey, to Aditi Mittals’ classic example send me ur vagin and bobs picture, we all have had our share of creepy overconfident men who think we are dying to sleep with anything that has a cock. My regular course of action has always been reporting to the admin if the said account was a member of any Facebook group, and then reporting and blocking them on Facebook and Instagram.
Once a person texted me in the Other inbox to ask about a book review I had posted on some reading group. I replied to his query and ended the conversion there. Soon he sent me a friend request, which I simply declined, to which the offended male retorted by sending me a barrage of messages in the creep inbox, which I continued to ignore. Finally, this nice fellow found my Skype ID and woke me up around six in the morning with a call and message saying, fucking block me or reply me. Blocked and reported he got.
Now at the age of twenty-five, I have realized to my sheer horror that I have more penises sent my way in the virtual world than I have seen in real life.
While I understand the allure of nudity in art and love life, I do not understand the logic behind sending a random dick pic to a girl who is most probably on a computer far away waiting for a work email or just glancing through her phone during lunch break, and doing something absolutely non-sexual like trying to make a living! But there are men who are in such sorry state of mind, so deprived of confidence in their faces and appearances, that they feel the only handsome or attractive thing about them is their cocks, which again no one wants to see.
But the day I got scared and felt violated was like any other day. I was hard at work in my office when my WhatsApp pinged and some unknown number asked if I was Aritra Di?, so I assumed it a was junior because my name is a unisex name primarily given to boys. Only my friends, classmates and university juniors know I am a biological female with a man’s name.
I asked who the person was, and the reply came: a certain Chirag, a name I have never encountered in my entire life. The unknown name was followed by a question Khabe which in Bangla means do want to eat? A dick pic followed the question; the picture auto-downloaded as my phone was connected with office wifi. And before I could react, a request for video call appeared which I promptly disconnected as I was shaking in anger and fear. Yes, that digital dick could do me no harm, but at that point I was afraid, fear has no logic.
I disconnected my phone from wifi, took screenshots, blocked and reported the number and finally uploaded the screenshots on Facebook. The first attempt was removed as I forgot to blur out the offensive cock. The second attempt was successful and I requested all my friends to look out for the number, and requested them not to share my number. Then I went to the website Feminism in India’s Facebook group to vent and seek advice. The instant reply from all was to seek police help.
It took me a while to process the whole event, after seeking police help on Facebook, who provided me with exclusive female helpline number and asked me everything in detail; I got the courage to call the police the next day. Soon they were guiding me through the process and asked me to email the screenshots, which I did. They called me back after receiving the email.
After that, I have no idea what happened with the police and that phone number, but my lawyer friends were supportive enough to keep me informed if the case moved forward one day. A friend concernedly told me, I was a feminist and an editor of a feminist publishing house, and I should set an example and talk about it. Indeed, after talking about equal rights and shouting for the safety of women online and offline for years, I shouldn’t cower when it came to me. That very phone number might harass a girl still in school or a mother of two. I wrote about on a news website to explain my fear and my consequent experience with Kolkata police, who at least have been sensitive when it came to hearing out a woman shit-scared out of her wits. But the aftermath of the incident has taken a toll and my mind boils in frustration as I see more of friends receive dick pics.
After this incident, my already hypersensitive brain went full-blown paranoid.
So every time someone asks why women are always on guard, and a whiney Henry Cavil murmurs about being falsely accused, I want to shout, this is why we are on guard! Because of what might appear to be a joke to some drunk boy in a hostel or a last resort to get laid by a desperate man in the bathroom, this so-called harmless act of sending dick pics takes a toll on us.
All our lives we women have been told to be careful, we were raised as ‘inferior creatures that attract predators’. But we don’t want to be the deer caught in headlights; all we want to do is live a healthy and peaceful life free of physical and mental harassment. This constant strain of rebuffing these unwanted sexual advances in the real and virtual world affects our work life, it affects our personal lives and gradually but constantly it takes something from us, piece by piece: our trust in society.
Image source: shutterstock
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Full-time bookworm. A professional book editor, freelance content writer, amateur book reviewer, and collector
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