Netizens on Twitter were shocked after a girl narrated the ordeal of her friend whom she knew “like a baby sister” had been propositioned even as she sought to procure an oxygen cylinder for her father.
“My friend’s sister was asked by a neighbour in an elite colony to sleep with him for an oxygen cylinder that she desperately needed for her father,” the user alleged, asking netizens what action could be taken against the offender.
The idea of demanding sexual favors for those reeling from the effects of the pandemic is unfortunately not new. In May 2020 for example, a Reuters article had outlined how a growing number of landlords in the UK had solicited sex in exchange for housing amid the lockdown. The report also quoted individuals who had acquiesced with the belief that they would have been evicted otherwise.
Closer to home, a Mumbai-based woman recently faced harassment, unsolicited messages, calls and disturbingly graphic images after sharing her phone number online to procure plasma for a COVID-19 positive family member.
The post has evoked horror and outrage online, with many urging the user to register a police complaint at the earliest. Others suggested filing a complaint with the Resident Welfare Association of the colony in question or naming and shaming the individual.
A case can be filed under section 354-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. A simple complaint can be enough and even if the accused refuses, the police can be left to investigate the evidence and the victim should do their part in filing it.
Not to be forgotten, the coronavirus has also brought out the best of humanity. There are a lot of volunteers and ordinary citizens out there, helping people in need. There are auto-rickshaw drivers, teachers who are doing their bit to save lives.
[Images via Reuters for representational purposes]