Trolls and Women from Margins

By Hengam Riba

The outputs mentioned in this blog post are part of the Without Fear fellowship program 2022 – 2023. The Bachchao Project started this fellowship program to bring together a cohort of talented individuals with experience and interest in the gender and development space, who could bring fresh perspectives and potential solutions to threats faced by structurally silenced women and gender minorities in the country. This cohort could learn from itself and others, and look at innovative tech based interventions and ideas. The fellows were based around three central verticals; the social and development space, tech, and art. 

In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become powerful tools for communication and expression. However, they have also given rise to online hate and trolling, particularly targeting marginalized communities. As a 2023 Without Fear fellow with  The Bachchao Project, I had the privilege of being part of a transformative multimedia project that aimed to document and raise awareness about the experiences of women facing online trolling. Through various media such as articles, interviews, photo essays, and a podcast, my project sought to amplify the voices of those who have long been silenced.


“Navigating Online Hate: Voices from the Margins and Periphery”

In this thought-provoking article, I shed light on the pressing issue of online hate and its strong correlation with the objectification of women’s bodies. Drawing from studies and investigations, I explore how women, especially those advocating for gender and sexuality issues, are disproportionately targeted. I also highlight the specific experiences of Dalit and tribal women, who face triple layers of oppression due to caste, gender, and class. The article underscores the need for awareness, stronger regulations against cybercrimes, and the creation of safer online spaces for all.

Navigating Online Hate Voices from the margins and Periphery

Challenging Patriarchy: A Conversation with @WitchesofArunachal

A Podcast Interview

As part of a multimedia project, I had the opportunity to conduct a podcast interview with WitchesofArunachal. WitchesofArunachal is a feminist page run by an indigenous tribal woman from Arunachal Pradesh. Through her platform, she fearlessly questions and comments on issues faced by women in the region, particularly the patriarchal norms that hinder policy formations and deny women their fundamental rights to land and property. In our conversation, we explored her experiences of facing online trolls and her response to the challenges of the online space.


A Self-Reflective Journey

Photo Essay

In this captivating photo essay, I share my own personal experiences as a tribal woman facing online trolls. Through a series of powerful images, I respond to the trolls that have tried to censor my thoughts and expression. I explore themes such as merit and reservation, the perception of tribal communities, and the constant need to prove my nationality as a woman from the periphery. Drawing strength from my ancestors’ struggles against colonialism and oppression, I use this platform to challenge the trolls and assert my identity.


My multimedia project as part of the Without Fear 2023 cohort at The Bachchao Project has been an incredible journey of documenting, raising awareness, and empowering marginalized voices. Through articles, interviews, photo essays, and a podcast, I have sought to shed light on the experiences of women facing online trolling. I have highlighted the specific challenges faced by Dalit and tribal women, emphasized the need for safer online environments, and celebrated the resilience and activism of individuals like Shalin Maria Lawrence. By continuing to engage with these narratives and supporting those who face online hate, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable digital world for all.