What you need to know:
- The effects of cyber-bullying are grave, whether it happens to a man or woman.
- The most effective way we can address cyber-bullying is by being empathetic towards other people online, men and women alike and condemning the bullies.
Custodians of morality and the purest of the purest lambs have now taken it upon themselves to whiten dirty linens. They are terming it as ‘exposing bad deeds’ but we know it’s not an expose. Neither is it something to be proud of in the name of blogging. It’s cyber-bullying, and it leaves victims mentally and emotionally bruised.
This period of Covid-19 has seen tremendous increase in cases of cyber bullying, and while it can be attributed to idleness or loneliness as more people have been staying at home, bullying can never right a wrong. Kenyan Twitter trends have been a buzz of leaked private conversations purportedly relating to respected Kenyan men who are now the latest victims of this vice. Rumours atop rumours about who’s cheating on his wife with who got Kenyans talking, bashing and condemning.
What’s more disturbing is that we tend to shrug off men victims. At least women usually have bold feminists who stand up for them in such situations. But who stands up for a man when his reputation is being ruined? It’s only fair that we stand for them equally and shun cyber-bullying instead of condemning the victims.
In his response to leaked WhatsApp conversations, a male radio personality came out defending himself yet in reality he and his friends were victims of cyber-bullying. Some people even dismissed his pleas about losing job opportunities and turned the incident around to blame him.
FOCUS ON HIS MARRIAGE LIFE
More recently, gospel singer Bahati has also had his share of the bullies who focus on his marriage life to demean him. His reality TV show and a song released by Khaligraph Jones escalated the attacks when fans claimed she was old enough to be his mum. Bahati however took the comments lightly and has resolved to creating his own comebacks when responding to cyberbullies. However not many men can positively deal with cyber-attacks.
In 2018 Jimmy Gait almost cried in a TV show when he recalled how he was bullied after releasing a song titled Yesu Ndio Sponsor in 2016. The distressed Gospel singer said he almost quit music and contemplated suicide after the massive online attacks.
How much do we have to tolerate such kind of bullying before we speak up? Are these men more sinful than the women we have stood up for before? The laws in Kenya governing against cyber-bullying, don’t help much either.
Section 27 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act, 2018 which is meant to curb online bullying and other forms of computer related crime act states – ‘A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.’
The act however doesn’t provide clear measures about specific type of offences- For instance in scenarios where a bully leaks private sexual conversations and images to intimidate a victim.
The Cybercrime Act has also been challenged by various institutions many of which argue that it contradicts Article 33 of the constitution which allows freedom of expression. Victims have hence lost confidence in the law and remain to suffer in silence.
In January 2019, Chief Justice’s David Maraga was also not spared from the bullies when his image was Photoshopped by bloggers and used to intimidate the judiciary. For a person in a powerful position, one would have expected he would find a way to sue the bullies.
The president, however, responded to his complaints by saying that they’ve tried passing out laws which were rejected by court as unconstitutional. “Like the rest of us, get used to it,” the president concluded in his statement.
The effects of cyber-bullying are grave, whether it happens to a man or woman. The most effective way we can address cyber-bullying is by being empathetic towards other people online, men and women alike and condemning the bullies.