It all started with a tweet. Just a year ago Alyssa Milano posted the now-viral #MeToo tweet which brought about a revolution. This one tweet had the potential to bring about a change for the victims of sexual harassment and assault. Now more than ever, women are confessing about their encounters and culprits are being called upon to justify their actions.
India has finally woken up to its own #MeToo movement. It is yet another milestone in India’s development as a libertarian culture. This week we were made to face reality. A reality of a concept that has been reserved, afraid to confront or forced to conceal.
In most cases, women in every society, culture and career path face some degree of sexual harassment and for the most part experience difficulty in getting their grievances addressed. Fear, trauma, religion, society, and culture often dominate and control the decision to come forward. The #MeToo movement helps women and men to stand up and fight. It presents as a symbol of hope and encouragement.
What is happening in India?
In India, it takes a lot of courage to talk about sexual harassment mostly because matters of sexuality generally lead to either sniggering or silence. The #MeToo movement has jumped forward over the previous week. Taking solid steps in two of the nation’s most powerful industries: entertainment and media.
This all began with Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta filing a complaint with the police, against a well-known actor, Nana Patekar, for requesting changes to a dance sequence for a movie after which he groped her.
Describing the harassment she experienced on the sets of the movie, Ms. Dutta said she is being slapped with legal notices from Nana Patekar. This incident left her damaged as she lost the trust and assurance to be able to walk into a film set. She recalls the fear that made her constantly look over her shoulder and the toxic environment that surrounded her.
One of the nation’s comedy troupes, All India Bakchod, almost edged to a collapse with allegations by an entertainer, Mahima Kukreja, that an individual from the group had sent her indecent photos and messages. The blamed comic, Utsav Chakraborty, apologized, and the organization’s co-founder was compelled to step back.
Motivated by Ms. Dutta and Ms. Kukreja, many women found the courage and came forward with their experiences of inappropriate behaviour in the industries with fellow colleagues.
What seems to be missing in India’s #MeToo movement?
Despite the fact that #MeToo was never intended to be gender-based yet at this moment, a large portion of the cases in India are shockingly that of women being overpowered in the male-dominated society.
There is a peculiar missing piece in the Indian #MeToo movement – the men. Maybe the issue is that it is assumed that sexual harassment and abuse is an issue of the women, and not men, as one assumes that admitting to something of this sort means eliminating masculinity . The truth is that sexual abuse is not just a “women’s thing”, it is the problem of an individual regardless of gender.
This defeating silence from the men will guarantee that their predominant status in working environments and the potential to create a change will be missed out. It will guarantee that the regulation of sexual brutality stays unchallenged.
There is a need for men to realize the importance and understand the depth of the situation. The need to share and challenge the structures, beliefs, and establishments that support their aggravated privileges.
The movement is not an argument it is a way for women and men to speak up and share their stories. Let’s use this platform to grow as a nation and not allow religion, culture or fear hold us back. It’s your time to SPEAK UP!